Winner’s-Circle Whiskies: 2013

For about two minutes on Saturday, the whole country’s attention will be focused on Churchill Downs. But the Kentucky Derby is more than a horse race: It’s an opportunity to don your most impressive hat and fix a delicious Mint Julep. And to ensure your cocktail is a sure thing, pick up one of these new bourbons.

Four Roses 2013 Single Barrel Bourbon ($99):

Keep an eye out for this year’s Four Roses Single Barrel. There are nearly 4,000 bottles of the special 13-year-old whiskey on store shelves around the US. It has notes of baking spices and vanilla, and opens up with a bit of water.

Jefferson’s Presidential Select 21-Year-Old Bourbon ($120):

Watch the Derby in grand fashion by imbibing a super-deluxe Mint Julep made using this 21-year-old from Jefferson’s. And if you feel odd mixing such a mature spirit, sip it straight or with a splash of H20. Either way, you’ll like this rich dram.

Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon ($50):

The latest addition to the Wild Turkey lineup is Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon (pictured above). The 110-proof, non-chill-filtered whiskey was selected by father and son distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell. It has hints of sweet marzipan and orange on the palate.

Michter’s Original Sour Mash Whiskey ($44):

While Michter’s Original Sour Mash isn’t technically a bourbon (there’s too much rye and not enough corn in the mash bill), we still recommend enjoying it during the Derby. The liquor was just re-released but was for decades the distillery’s best seller before it was discontinued in 1989.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Small Batch Bourbon ($40):

You should be able to now find the limited-edition Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Small Batch Bourbon in major markets across America. It was aged for 12 years in American oak casks and is a potent 134.2-proof, which makes it ideal for cocktails.

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