31 of the Best Bourbon Brands at Ten Oak Austin

For this journey, stopped by Ten Oak Austin at 409 Colorado Street, in the center of Austin’s downtown area.

Being in the middle of West and East 6th Street, this Bourbon house seems to attract a mixed crowd of spirit veterans and rum-and-coke newbies.

Once one realizes that Ten Oak Austin is not an East 6th Street establishment (with $1 drink specials, fast-and-watered down drinks, and the same drink options available at every bar), but more a connoisseur location where the bartenders like to talk you about Bourbon (hence why it’s a Bourbon house), it’s easier to relax and enjoy the barreled “water of life” selections they carry on their shelves.

Because we’re fans of the Pulled Pork Nachos and the Fig-in-the-Pig, we suggest grabbing a bite or two that pairs well with the Bourbon sipping goodness of your choice. (Hint: If you’re unsure, ask the Bartender)

So, just to get you started…

Here’s a quick rundown of 31 of the best Bourbon brands Ten Oak Austin has waiting for you to try (either with friends, colleagues and even a few for the office Pain In The *ss).


(Listed in the order they were tasted)

Want to take this list with you?  Click here to download the PDF.




Proof:  80 proof

Smell:  Notes of Vanilla, light in smell and texture

Notes:  Light, smooth taste with a bit of heat at the end of the sip.  Though sporadic, the bite that presents itself here and there makes for an interesting surprise.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  We’d recommend having this with a colleague whose company you enjoy (as this is one of the best Bourbons to have with good conversation).



Proof:  130 proof

Smell:  Potent, yet subtle, smell of maple and wood

Notes:  Flavorful, potent and with a heavier texture, the texture and taste of G.S. Jr. immediately envelopes all that it touches, coating the inside of your mouth with delicious goodness.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  Invite friends and enjoyable colleagues only for this Bourbon, no office P.I.T.A.’s or mediocre desk-jockeys should enjoy this on your dime.




Proof:  90 proof

Smell:  A great blended hint of sweetness due to the salt in the air during aging

Notes:  “Briny salty sea air mixed with the sugars”, as Shawn describes it.  This Bourbon has a slight resemblance of rum with a medium texture (starts light then comes around a bit more full bodied at the end of the sip).

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  This one of the best Bourbons to experience with select colleagues to partake and participate.




Proof:  91.4 proof

Smell:  Honey/Sweet smell

Notes:  A light “bite” to it (like a nip), flavorful and well balanced (doesn’t feel like water but not thick as syrup–good consistency).

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  This is one of the best Bourbons for a good “wind-down” from a long day/week at the office with casual conversation and future plans of relaxation.



Proof:  92 proof

Smell:  Smells like hints of Vanilla

Notes:  Goes down as smooth as you could image. It’s potent, yet flavorful.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  Your enemy at work doesn’t deserve this goodness (treat a friend).



Proof:  129 proof

Smell:  Medium smell of Vanilla

Notes:  This Bourbon has a woody taste, pungent kick to the tongue, a “smooth slide” when consumed, and adds a type of fireplace warmth a few seconds later.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  This could be for an annoying colleague or a friend dependent on their taste (and tolerance).  Sample this yourself at first to determine the latter decision.



7. RANGER CREEK RIMFIRE  Ranger_Creek_Rimfire

Proof:  86 proof

Notes:  Very apparent mesquite taste, but smooth all the way down

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  Have this with someone you like versus the office P.I.T.A..







8. RANGER CREEK .36  Ranger_Creek_36

Proof:  96 proof

Smell:  Great aroma

Notes:  Very smooth, balanced and flavorful taste (no sharp/sporadic “bites”).  Traces of wood are present in between each sip and linger for your enjoyment.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  Definitely good to have every once and awhile with colleagues.





Proof:  94 proof

Smell:  Astute first smell (definitely awakens your senses).

Notes:  Strong but easy taste.  A fist at first taste, but a massage as you finish.  Hints of chocolate reveal themselves accompanied by a sporadic presence of nutty tastes.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  Bring a work friend who made you mad that day and have them drink it quickly (for the P.I.T.A. at work, make them shoot it).  But not you.  You sip it and enjoy it.



Proof:  90 proof

Smell:  Good smell of caramel

Notes:  This Bourbon has a strong flavor with a balanced taste of sweetness.  A stint of wood flavor is present in between sips.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  Definitely one of the best Bourbons to “share with a colleague” (the P.I.T.A. doesn’t deserve this).



Proof:  90.1 Proof

Smell:  Similar smell to the Orphan Barrel Rhetoric but sharper

Notes:  Denser notes of wood in between sips. We would call this a “I get to the point” Bourbon.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  Bring a colleague you just met but aren’t really attached to and see their reaction to this selection.  Based on their reaction, gauge if they’ll be a friend or P.I.T.A. in the future.



Proof:  90 proof

Smell:  Subtle smell

Notes:  Minimal bite with smooth composition

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:   Definitely bring the colleague you enjoy working with to experience this with you over a great conversation.



Proof:  94 proof

Smell:  Flowing smell of caramel and a hint of cinnamon

Notes:  Immediate wood taste, this is a tastebud-tingler but smooth from start to finish

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  Definitely one of the best Bourbons worthy of a colleague’s company.



Proof:  92 proof

Smell:  Stronger alcohol smell (the rye)

Notes:  This Bourbon has an apparent smokey flavor in between sips.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  This selection is definitely for the more “open” Bourboner (open = a person who lives outside of one set of expectations).


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Proof:  92 proof

Smell:  A smell that seems to blend a stronger rye alcohol smell and something sweet (between caramel and chocolate)

Notes:  The HMR has an earthy smoothness about it but it’s still delicious with a balanced sweet flavor to great your tastebuds.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  Definitely have this with a colleague you’re willing to build a friendship over time and don’t mind working with on a daily basis.


16. MICHTER’S BOURBON SINGLE BARREL 10 YEAR  Michters_Single_Barrel_10_Blantons_Elmer_T_Lee

Proof:   94.4 proof

Smell:  Honey/sweet aroma

Notes:  This Michter’s bites the tip of the tongue, warming everything it touches as it moves around the inside of your mouth—then goes down with a purpose!  You’ll also experience a slight wood taste in between sips.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:   Bring a colleague you enjoy working with, but this occasion should definitely be reserved for a tough day or juicy gossip-sharing (if you do that kind of thing).


17. BLANTON’S SINGLE BARREL  Blantons_Single_Barrel

Proof:  93 proof

Smell:  Light smell (hard to make a distinction)

Notes:  Smooth taste, well balanced flavor, no bite but establishes a presence amongst your gums (if you coat the inside of your mouth with it).

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  Definitely a Bourbon worthy of a colleague you get along with. This is even delicious enough to taste with your significant other.  But if you’re attempting to multitask and are dating your colleague then you’ve covered 2 birds with 1 stone (just be careful not to create a HR case if you’re going back to work and got carried away enjoying the smoothness too much)!



Proof:  90 proof

Smell:   Has a smell of caramel with the impression that it will be smooth and light (but that’s the wrong assumption)

Notes:  Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel has an introductory bite that lets you know it has arrived, but it’s not harsh.  Even with a spike of flavor as you consume the sip, overall, it’s a good sipping bourbon.  But be forewarned, it’s not sitting on the sideline—Elmer T. Lee is here to play the game!

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  If you enjoy subtle vengeance, bring the person from work who talks entirely too much, have them take a large sip and watch their words fall quickly into the Spartan-pit known as their throat. For those who you enjoy their company, let them know this Bourbon is a pleasant surprise (where “surprise” is the operative word).



Proof:  94 proof

Smell:  Spicy and sweet smell

Notes:  You’ll experience a wood and light smokey taste in between sips. With the combination of the wood and smoke, an earthy tone lingers but in a pleasant way.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:   I would say to enjoy this one by yourself until you can determine if you would invite the colleague-friend or the office P.I.T.A..


20. HUDSON BABY BOURBON  Hudson_Baby_Bourbon_Old_Blowhard_Barterhouse

Proof:  92 proof

Smell:  The smell is light and subtle

Notes:  The taste seems to have a bit of spice that’s rich, flavorful and delicious with a bite towards the end of each sip.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:   Definitely one of the best Bourbons to have with friends.  We wouldn’t share it with the office P.I.T.A.



Proof:  90.7 proof

Smell:  A crisp and defined smell

Notes:  A bit thicker composition with a slight bite that lingers but full of flavor.  After being aged 26 years, the wood is apparent with each sip

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  The Old Blowhard Bourbon is too aged with quality to waste on the office P.I.T.A.  Reserve this Bourbon for enjoyable colleagues or moments of reflection (on Life, your career path, the promotion you’re about to receive, or how you’re going to make it up to your significant other for whatever you did the other night).



Proof:  90.2 proof

Smell:  Spicy/sweet honey smell

Notes:  Light flavor on the tastebuds but it is thoroughly appreciated.  A balanced smooth texture and taste with the presence of the oak on the back of your tongue is present in between sips.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:   We’d dismiss the office P.I.T.A. for this one as well. Surround yourself with goodness for this Goodness.



Proof:  119.3 proof

Smell:  Strong smell (to be expected)

Notes:  Thick texture that automatically coats every aspect of your mouth.  A robust flavor is present from beginning to the end of consumption (as it should be)—definitely should be treated as a treat.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  In our honest opinion, no office P.I.T.A. deserves one of the best cask-strength bourbons (they don’t deserve this experience at your expense).


24. OLD RIP VAN WINKLE 10 YEAR (2014)  Old_Rip_Van_Winkle_Van_Winkle_12_Pappy_Van_Winkle_15

Proof:  107 proof

Smell:  Great smell.

Notes:  Great taste, bountiful with flavor and some spice.  A smooth tasting experience, but your taste buds and saliva glands will definitely react on the first sip (and each one after),

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  This should only be reserved for the colleague you appreciate—no room for the P.I.T.A.



Proof:  90.4 proof

Smell:  A lighter smell than expected

Notes:  Even with a thicker texture, and a lower proof than others in this list, it feels (on the tongue) like a heavier punch.  Traces of wood linger in between sips but adds to its character.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  Have this one after a long day.  Sip and be merry, but no P.I.T.A. should be present.



Proof:  107 proof

Smell:  Light but aromatic smell

Notes:  This Bourbon will warm the mouth, deliver a tingle to the tongue and open your nasal captivity (great for sinuses).  Pappy Van Winkle’s 15 establishes a presence on your gums as to say, “I am here.” The proof is a bit more apparent compared to the 10 year Old Rip, but with 5 more years of barrel-evolution, what would you expect.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  We would say to punish the office P.I.T.A. by making them shoot this, but you may be asked to leave the bar (or get shot) for disrespecting this Bourbon—enjoy it yourself.


27. BALCONES SINGLE MALT  Balcones_Eagle_Rare_10_Old_Weller_12

Proof:  106 proof

Smell:  A subtle but potent smell that you can taste in the back of your throat,

Notes:  sweet to the taste with a bite at the end of consumption, your gums will definitely feel the once present Balcones Single Malt,

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  have the office P.I.T.A. shoot this one (it should make their eyes water) and supply you with a small sense of satisfaction for whatever they did to you in the office that day (or week). The texture is so smooth, they won’t even realize you were punishing them. (If they enjoyed the burn, don’t buy them another round–they shouldn’t be rewarded.)



Proof:  90 proof

Smell:  Light smell of sweetness

Notes:  Light taste but well balanced and flavorful.  Smooth texture that seems to have a gentle touch as its consumed accompanied by a light sense of wood in between sips.  This Bourbon could be described as having an “airy and floaty” experience.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:   Definitely reserve this for your pleasant colleagues from work. Sipping this with great company will seem like you’re in one of your favorite movie scenes (where they’re enjoying themselves while sipping a glass of goodness, obviously).



Proof:  107 proof

Smell:  Subtle smell with a sharp reminder of its potency

Notes:  Smooth flavor and texture with a bit of a “spicy bite” after consumption. The presence of a sweet, wood taste lingers on the tongue symbolizing why this goodness is called “Antique”.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  Enjoy this with a colleague. This Bourbon lends to the statement of “good times with good people”.



Proof:  80 proof

Smell:  Apparent wood/smokey smell though pleasant to the senses

Notes:  Deliciously sweet taste and smoothly balanced, a bit sweeter than average Bourbons but still a pleasure to experience. Not harsh at all and devoid of any kind of bite, definitely a great choice for Bourboners who prefer sipping one of the best Bourbons without a bite.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  This is a great Bourbon for a date—leave the colleagues and office P.I.T.A.’s out on this one.



Proof:  86 proof

Smell:  Strong wood smell

Notes:  Smooth, smoky taste and less sweet than its Blended counterpart.  This is a tasty alternative to the “spicy bite” one may be used to with Bourbons.  In the meantime, enjoy a pleasant wood taste in between sips.

Colleague or Office P.I.T.A.:  This Bourbon is far from brash so please enjoy this with people you like and prefer to be around.  This should not be shared with people who annoy you (it’ll ruin the experience with the Bourbon).


Want to take this list home with you? Click here to download the PDF.



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One thought on “31 of the Best Bourbon Brands at Ten Oak Austin

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing your insight to wide range of bourbons for us newbies. Hope you are still standing and coherent after all these “samples” 😉

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