The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 17 bourbon whiskies with a panel of 20 judges. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. The bourbons were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at room temperature. Each of the bourbons were judged and scored separately. Only ice water, unflavored unsalted crackers and chips were available to cleanse the palate.
The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals were awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no Bronze medals awarded in this tasting. The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The states of origin are identified for each brand.