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Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon Review: A Friendly Tasting Guide

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Bottled-in-Bond vs Single Barrel
Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon Review

Embarking on a journey through the world of bourbon, I recently came across a delightful bottle that piqued my interest – the Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon. This small-batch offering from the Willett Distillery has made quite a splash in the whiskey community, and it’s not hard to see why. With its rich flavor profile and impressive age, this bourbon is one that enthusiasts and casual drinkers alike should take note of.

As I delve further into the details of this 2006 bourbon, it’s fascinating to discover that it is aged for 10.5 years and bottled at 107 proof. This seems to result in a harmonious blend of sweet and spice notes on the palate, with reviewers mentioning flavors such as sugar, honey, woodsy cedar, and even a hint of black pepper.

With each sip of Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon, I’ve found that it continues to surprise and delight, creating a lasting impression that lingers. If you’re a bourbon enthusiast or simply looking to expand your whiskey horizons, this friendly and flavorful expression from the Willett Distillery is not one to be missed.

Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon Overview

In this brief overview, I will focus on the product’s history and the price range at which you can find it.

Product History

Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon is a small-batch straight bourbon whiskey that has its roots in the Willett family legacy. Although the specific distillery from which it is sourced remains unknown, it hails from the heart of Kentucky, one of the most renowned regions for bourbon production.

This particular bourbon is aged for around twelve years, with the “XO” in its name standing for “extra old.” The aging process takes place in American oak barrels, which imparts unique characteristics to the whiskey. With a mash bill consisting of at least 51% corn, this bourbon boasts complex flavors that pay homage to traditional Kentucky bourbons.

Price Range

Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon is attractively priced given its age and quality. While prices may vary depending on where you live or where you’re shopping, you can typically expect this whiskey to fall within a reasonable range. The bottle features a 107 proof level (53.5% ABV), which is impressive considering its smooth and drinkable nature. It is priced between $45-$55.

Tasting Notes


The first thing that hits me when I nose this Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon is a comforting blend of vanilla and maple notes. Underneath these inviting scents, there’s a subtle hint of spice and rye that adds depth to the aroma profile.


Upon taking my first sip, I experience a delightful burst of flavors. The prominent vanilla and maple notes follow through from the aroma, accompanied by a touch of cinnamon sweetness. As I continue to savor the bourbon, a pleasant rye character unfolds with a slightly bitter undertone that balances the sweetness impeccably.


The finish of the Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon is both smooth and satisfying. The clove-laced spice component lingers on the palate, accompanied by a gentle warmth from the reasonably high ABV (107 proof). The bourbon leaves a lasting impression, with the flavors perfectly rounded off to create a seamless experience.


From my perspective, evaluating the Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon on its aroma, flavor, and finish, I’d give this bourbon a rating of a solid 8 out of 10, considering its remarkable flavors at an affordable price point.

Mixing and Pairing

As a bourbon enthusiast, I always love discovering new ways to mix and pair Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon to bring out its delightful flavors. In this section, I’ll share my top picks for best mixers, cocktail suggestions, and food pairings for this fantastic whiskey.

Best Mixers

Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon has a rich flavor profile with notes of sweet caramel, toasted oak, and a touch of spice. Here are some of my favorite mixers to complement this bourbon:

  • Ginger Ale: The sweet and spicy flavor of ginger ale accentuates the bourbon’s spice and pepper notes, while adding a refreshing twist.
  • Club Soda: Mixing with club soda allows the complex flavors of the bourbon to shine, and adds a little effervescence for a pleasant mouthfeel.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Combining sweet vermouth with Pure Kentucky XO creates a beautiful balance of sweetness from the vermouth and oakiness from the bourbon.

Cocktail Suggestions

Pure Kentucky XO Bourbonphoto credit:

There are numerous cocktails that can be crafted with Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon. Here are my personal favorites:

  1. Old Fashioned: Muddle a sugar cube, water, and bitters before stirring in the bourbon and garnishing with an orange twist. This classic cocktail highlights the toffee and caramel flavors of Pure Kentucky XO perfectly.
  2. Whiskey Sour: Combine bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup for a refreshing, tangy treat. The citrusy tang of the lemon complements the sweetness of the whiskey.
  3. Manhattan: Mix the bourbon with sweet vermouth and bitters for a sophisticated, timeless cocktail. The marriage of sweet and oaky flavors makes for a delicious drink.

Food Pairings

Pure Kentucky XO Bourbonphoto credit:

When enjoying Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon, I find that certain foods can really elevate the whiskey’s flavors. Here are some delectable food pairings for this bourbon:

  • Dried Apricot and Cheese Platter: The sweetness of dried apricots pairs beautifully with bourbon’s caramel and honey notes, while a variety of cheeses add contrast and depth to the flavor experience.
  • Toasted Cornbread: The warm, toasted flavor of cornbread echoes the toasted oak found in the bourbon, making for a comforting combination.
  • Spicy BBQ Ribs: The spiciness of the barbecue sauce enhances the bourbon’s pepper and cinnamon notes, while the rich, smoky flavors of the ribs contrast nicely with the sweetness of the whiskey.


The bourbon entices your taste buds with rich toasted caramel and subtle black pepper notes, as well as hints of cocoa and charred oak. The finish is well-rounded, making it linger pleasantly on the palate.

It’s aged for 10 years and bottled at 107 proof, making it quite a unique sip. The sugar and honey flavors are most pronounced initially, but as you take your time with the drink, you’ll discover more complexity in the form of woodsy, cedar, and evergreen notes. There’s even a slight bitterness that develops towards the end, adding another layer of depth to the bourbon.

While trying out this bourbon, I found the bottle and label quite visually appealing, which adds a touch of fun to the overall experience. What’s even better is that this bourbon is affordable, making it a fantastic addition to anyone’s liquor cabinet, especially for the quality you receive.

In my opinion, Pure Kentucky XO Bourbon is a must-try for whiskey enthusiasts and newcomers alike. With a friendly price point and a wonderfully captivating taste profile, it’s a bourbon that can truly hold its own in the world of spirits.

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