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This new blended bourbon is not to be missed

Get your hands on this limited-release bourbon

First West Bourbon

If you’ve never heard of 15 STARS, now is the time to get on the bandwagon. Fairly new to the whiskey world (it was founded in 2019), the brand began in the kitchen of father and son duo Rick and Ricky Johnson. This is where the pair spent countless hours blending whiskey. The award-winning brand releases its whiskeys in limited quantities and has gained a bit of a following in the past few years.

Its newest release is First West Bourbon. It’s a blend of sourced bourbons from Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee. These straight bourbon whiskeys have been aged for 15, 9, and 7 years before being married together to create a mellow, slow-sipping 106-proof blended bourbon.

Not only is this expression eagerly awaited because of the brand’s history of crafting high-quality blended whiskeys, but it’s also already an award-winning expression. This bourbon won Double Gold and was one of two finalists for Best Straight Bourbon at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition in 2022.

First West origins

Whiskey in a glass
Giorgio Trovato / Unsplash

The name is First West is a reference to America’s “First West.” While we may think of the West as California, the “First West” was a reference to the exploration of the Appalachian West. We’re talking about the Ohio River Valley, Kentucky, and beyond. This series pays tribute to the “First West” by blending whiskeys from Kentucky as well as the surrounding Northwest and Southwest Territories that existed in the late 1700s.

“We are proud to pay homage to our country’s heritage with our First West series as we continue this tradition of award-winning whiskey with our latest release of First West Bourbon,” Ricky Johnson, 15 STARS co-founder, said in a press release. “We strive to match the dedication of the great artisans of the past to ensure that fans will savor every sip of our fine aged bourbons.”

What does it taste like?

Whiskey tasting
Lance Reis/Unsplash

The Johnson family believes that they have perfected the art of blending sourced whiskeys. One sip of the brand’s new First West Bourbon is likely to make you agree. Before drinking it, the nose is a mix of toasted vanilla beans, candied pecans, cinnamon sugar, maple candy, orange zest, and charred oak. Sipping it neat reveals notes of sticky toffee, brown sugar, pipe tobacco, oaky wood, and peppery rye. At 106-proof, this whiskey is only made better by adding a few drops of water to open up the aromas and flavors.‍

How much is it?

Anthony Torres/Unsplash

This whiskey launched on March 25th for a suggested retail price of $139 for a 750ml bottle. Sadly, it’s not available everywhere. You’ll either have to find it on a shelf at select retailers in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. You can also find it online at or

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Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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