Kirkland Signature – the pride of Costco. They make everything from wine to toilet paper but, today, I want to explore if their bourbon measures up. So, here’s my Kirkland Signature Bourbon Review.
Kirkland Signature (Costco) Premium Small Batch Bourbon Review
A surprisingly good bourbon whiskey. Malty, with hints of vanilla and smokiness. At 103 proof, very alcoholic.
Price of Kirkland Signature Bourbon
About $25.41 for 750 mL*. Relatively cheap for quality bourbon.
4 out of 5
I’ve never really understood the deal with Kirkland Signature products. I find that they are mostly good quality, but always wonder where they come from. After all, I don’t think Costco has factories hidden about where they make original stuff.
This is one of those products, a bourbon whiskey with the Kirkland label, which I bought because I get an occasional masculine hankering for bourbon, and like to have a bottle in the house.
Curious about its origin, I did some online research, and found out that, at least in 2011, it was apparently made by the Jim Beam company. My bottle says that it’s bottled by Tennessee Distilling LTD of Columbia, Tennessee, whoever that may be.
Origin of Kirkland Signature Bourbon
A nice wide bottle with a white-and-dark-brown label on it, with some cursive writing. It’s got a cork-and-plastic top; I don’t understand the purpose of the cork, and don’t like it because I might get tipsy and try to pick up the bottle by grabbing the top, and wind up dropping it on the floor like some drunken fool.
Smell of Kirkland Signature Bourbon
A nice, sweet, strong malt smell.
Taste of Kirkland Signature Bourbon
The Kirkland has a sweet, malty taste with hints of vanilla and smokiness, and a somewhat strong ethyl alcohol aftertaste. It’s relatively thick, but quite easy to drink (for whiskey).
Being high-proof whiskey, it does burn your throat after it goes down, especially if you drink it neat or on the rocks (as I’ve done). (In fact, I even felt a burn in my ears). Surprisingly, however, it burns less than other liquors, despite being 103 proof (51.5% alcohol).
I think the Kirkland Signature Bourbon is better enjoyed with a neutral mixer like club soda, or in a good whiskey cocktail. I had a big whiskey-and-soda glass yesterday and enjoyed it very much, with no ill effects.
Proceed with caution. Having learned from my experience with The Glenmorangie (where I felt like The Sixteen Men of Tain** beat me up), I drank this with club soda to make it easier on my stomach. It seemingly worked, since I woke up fine the next day. I’m a male in reasonably good health born in 1983.
Have you tried the Kirkland Signature Bourbon? What did you think it?
Note: This is a series I call Caveman Liquor Reviews, because I like to drink liquor but am a caveman when it comes to liquor knowledge. I know only the basics, and do not have a refined palate. I’ll review the liquors on price and what they look, smell, and taste like to me.
Photo by TigerLilyEdition
*I had trouble finding the price online since this is a Costco brand. I extrapolated the price from the price list found here.
**Probably a registered trademark of whoever makes The Glenmorangie
Rick Realsen says
I read online a while back that this whiskey is from a Beam family distillery somewhere in TN. Can’t seem to find where I read that. I’m a Scotch and Bourbon lover. We recently toured Scotland for two weeks and the Kentucky Bourbon trail as well and Love Bourbon. My favorite is the Double Double by Woodford Reserve.
My first impression of the Costco 7 yr Bourbon was that I was not drinking Bourbon at all. To me this Bourbon is much smoother than Knob Creek. The earthy, musty aftertaste reminded me of some Macallan Scotches, like the 18 year. Perhaps that has more to do with the oak barrels than anything else. I originally did not favor Macallan but acquired a taste for it. To me, Macallan does not have the strong peaty character of many Scotch whiskys. I have grown to really enjoy and appreciate Macallan. Since this Bourbon reminded me of Macallan, I like it.
Although it’s not a Scotch, it tastes nothing like most Bourbons I’m familiar with. I love both and I really like this one.
I’m considering it one of my go to whiskeys. I’m having it right now in a Manhattan with some excellent Italian cherries.
Every Bourbon I drink is a little different from the others. This one deserves its own spot on my shelf. And lately, I’m reaching for it over the others.
Although not an expert, it reminds me a little of how I remember Four Roses. But I have not tried the two side by side. For that matter, I’m all out of Macallan too and so the resemblance may be more accidental on my part.
Taste is a very subjective experience. I can see why some Bourbon traditionalists may not favor this brand. But I can also see why some Scotch lovers enjoy it. Since I love both, I have created my own category for this whiskey and I hope Costco continues to stock it.
The Rich Miser says
Wow, thank you so much for contributing your knowledge! I’ve never had the Double Double but will put it on my list to try and review 🙂
Like you, I was favorably impressed with the Kirkland Signature. Some Kirkland distilled spirits have a too-strong ethyl alcohol taste, but I did not find that to be the case with the bourbon.
And like you say, taste is very subjective. For me personally, and in doing this reviews, that’s the ultimate question: does it taste good, is it pleasant to drink? And I found this one to be a “yes” on both.
Thanks for reading and commenting!
This is an excellent whiskey, the taste is awesome.
JoAnn G. says
Gave up trying to find Pappy Van Winkle at a reasonable price any place on the planet. Cheapest bottle I could find as a Christmas gift for my son-in-law was $599. for a 10 year, 750ml. My pocket isn’t that deep, so I ended up picking up Kirkland’s bourbon after Googling a search about it. Much to my surprise and pleasure, I found that Pappy Van Winkle and Kirkland bourbon are both distilled by the Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Rich Douglas says
I found this by chance while wandering the aisles of Costco (doesn’t everyone?). I tried it for the first time last night. Knob Creek is my go-to bourbon. I like it over ice, no mixer or soda. This bourbon was smoother than KC, but its flavor wasn’t as strong. It was like drinking a high-alcohol Jim Beam. I paid $30 for a 1-litre bottle, which is just a bit less than I pay for Knob Creek. I’m looking forward to trying this some more, and don’t yet feel compelled to relegate it to the cocktail shelf (with the Wild Turkey).
I don’t claim to be a bourbon expert, but I am a bourbon fan. My husband and I picked up a bottle of Kirkland bourbon. We’ve tried many, Woodford Reserve, Jefferson, Michter’s, and Jim Beam Black Label, to name a few, and the Kirkland holds its own. Not the best, but quite enjoyable.
Jack San Terra says
I’m a fairly more-than-novice bourbon and whiskey person. I don’t mind spending a lot for a ‘great’ bourbon ($1k and up), but have found that there are bourbons out there priced below $50 that rival the $1000 a bottle stuff I sometimes drink. Evan Williams Single Barrel is underrated at around $30/bottle BTW. This is my first shot at trying a Costco branded bourbon, though I have tried their insanely priced whiskeys and found them to be OK. This bourbon does have a strong after-taste that doesn’t go away, reminiscent of Jim Beam. As their master distiller would say, there is no bad bourbon (except for the occasional moonshine), but there’s good, better, best. This stuff would be mostly good. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Good stuff doesn’t leave a morning after mark, so I’m good with spending more for stuff that’s made well and doesn’t leave you wishing you stopped sooner the night before. BTW, Evan Williams single barrels is surprisingly amazing and I’m betting it will go up soon, so buy your case today. This is good on a rock as it mellows out fairly nicely. There is a distinct alcohol lingering after-taste, so I’m a bit worried about tomorrow.
John van dam says
I am pleased i bought 2 cases when it was 9.99 a bottle so good for that price. Straight or one cube and squirter of pure water : very nice.
John Van Dam says
Bookers is my fav ! But I still like kirk single barch