Ten High Bourbon – Review

Ten High BourbonTen High Kentucky Straight Sour Mash Bourbon Whiskey

80 Proof

Price Point: $10 – $15 for 750 ML

Distiller: Barton Distilling Company



All of the whiskeys I have reviewed thus far have been shown in a favorable light.  Frankly speaking, it’s not easy to find a whiskey that I will not enjoy in one capacity or another.  I guess it’s a curse; a wonderful curse.

Ten High will most likely rank at the bottom of my reviews at it is probably the lowest quality whiskey I have ever tasted.  However, it’s still whiskey, and I can still fight through it and enjoy it.



The nose of Ten High is offensive.  Yes, that’s a harsh assessment, but I have pledged to be completely open and honest in this blog, and that’s just how I feel.  You’re really not smelling a bourbon, but a cheap, flavorless, well spirit.  It might as well be a vodka with brown food coloring.  It almost has the aroma of ammonia (try saying that 10 times fast!).

The taste isn’t much better.  Drinking it neat, as I always do for my reviews, Ten High repels rather than invites.  After a couple of seconds in your mouth, the flavor shows up a little, but not all that much.  It’s similar to other basic bourbons, such as Benchmark, but definitely missing a lot of those elements.

The aftertaste is nothing to get excited about.


Rating & Recommendations

Okay, so the moment of truth awaits; the rating.  At my lowest rating ever, I give Ten High a 52 out of 100.

After this review, if you still find the need to drink Ten High, or god forbid buy a bottle for yourself, drink it with a mixer.  No need to drink this stuff in the fashion of an Eagle Rare or Booker’s; clearly you are either on a budget or out of options at a friend’s house.

Do me a favor and don’t waste your time with Ten High.  Although it’s still technically a whiskey, you can find much better offerings for only a couple bucks more.




Skip to comment form

    • Richard Le Tempt on December 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm
    • Reply

    I bought 2 cases of Ten High Kentucky Whiskey and it does not taste the same, I have been drinking it for years, wondered if you changed how you make it. Richard Le Tempt

      • Gi Joe 626 on December 3, 2020 at 5:33 pm
      • Reply

      I read with you RICH.
      I like Ten High , but I Enjoy and serve it in
      mixed drinks .
      Cheers !

    • Joe on December 24, 2014 at 11:27 pm
    • Reply

    I got an empty case for Johnnie Walker Blue from work, and I bought a bottle of Ten High to put in. For no other reason than it was the cheapest bottle that would snap in place at the liquor store I went to. I’m giving it to my uncle for Christmas tomorrow, nice to see if picked out an especially bad brand to really hit him in the gut.

    • Hendoman on December 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm
    • Reply

    I have been drinking Ten High for years. I agree with the review but it is in my budget, when i can afford it I drink 10 year old Speymore single malt. I have never likeked Jack Daniels or blended Scotch. Hendoman

    • Count Scrofula on July 13, 2015 at 4:42 pm
    • Reply

    I love Ten High. Consumer Reports turned me on to it in the late Sixties. It’s a fine Sour Mash and reminds my mouth of my youth.

    Ct. Scrofula

    • Tony Burrows on November 2, 2015 at 4:20 pm
    • Reply

    Had to tell you Ive been a fan for years but lately your bourbon has changed in taste to the point I cant enjoy it anymore, why the change it is a harsh flavor that leaves a bad taste.

    • Andy on November 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm
    • Reply

    I’ve had much worse booze than Ten High, been drinking it for years.

      • Edward on May 23, 2017 at 11:07 pm
      • Reply

      Wow! That’s why I buy 10 high that’s why the price stays cheap, hope most people still don’t like it , I love it been drinking it for 25 years, wouldn’t drink Jack instead, Jim beams OK, always mix it with Coke, keep putting it on the bottom of the list so I can still buy for $11.00 a half thanks

    • neal vaughn on November 12, 2015 at 12:24 am
    • Reply

    I bought a 5th of ten high recently & tasted like dish water was mixed in with it. Not good at all. I dumped it.

    • Dave Erickson on November 19, 2015 at 2:35 pm
    • Reply

    We love 10 High and the price. The family goes through 1 to 2 bottles a week. But the new design 1.75 L bottle without the hand grip spots is harder to pour from when you’re in the 80’s with arthritic hands. Wish they’d bring the old one back. Am glad they at least kept using plastic at least, lighter weight and should it be dropped it won’t break. I drink Manhattans and it blends beautifully with a wee bit of sweet vermouth. Gallo is best.

    • bob on December 22, 2015 at 8:29 pm
    • Reply

    There’s no high like a Ten High

    • Tony on December 27, 2015 at 7:51 pm
    • Reply

    lately the taste has changed not happy they have done something different

      • JJ on March 6, 2016 at 11:44 am
      • Reply

      The first time I tried this was in January, 2016. It was not very good but made a decent whiskey sour. The bottle was labeled Sour Mash Kentucky Bourbon with added flavors.

      When I bought another bottle yesterday, it had a very different smell and a horrible taste. I looked at the main label and while at appeared nearly the same overall as the last bottle, it did not mentioned the added flavors. The label in the neck showed it to contain 51% bourbon and 49% grain neutral spirits. In other words, the standard cheap “American” whiskey. There was no similar label on the first bottle. I am going to try to take it back.

      • Kenneth Hipp on May 12, 2016 at 8:55 pm
      • Reply

      i have been drinking Ten High for 30 years and all of a sudden the taste has changed not good at all when it shows Ten High Blend it is good but Ten High with flavoring or what ever it is is not good Just go back to the Ten High Blend
      KH Midlothian Va.

    • DrBourbonstein on December 30, 2015 at 7:27 am
    • Reply

    So, Ten High isn’t good bourbon on its own, but as a mixer bourbon, it’s fine. Just add cola, or ginger ale, or seven up and it’s fine. It’s the grain vodka of the whiskey world. No reason to make it more than what it is. It’s a mixer. Do not drink it straight. Look, I like a good Weller, Laphroaig, Willett as much as the next person, but sometimes, you just want a good buzz. This does the job, and does so without busting the bank. And, as with just about anything else, it’s far and away better than Jim Beam. F*** that brown turpentine swill.

      • Bruce on September 3, 2016 at 7:24 pm
      • Reply

      I bought this for a steak marinade recipe..
      Was awesome..I don’t drink bourbon anyways so the price was perfect..

    • J Wha on January 8, 2016 at 4:54 pm
    • Reply

    I was in the back of a deuce and a half in nam returning to base. someone pulled out a bottle of ten high and passed it around with the chant NO ONE PASSES… I had been drinking beer all day and begged off so the chant began,,,, NO ONE PASSES…. so i took a gulp of this vile liquid and felt it go all the way down and hit my gut and immediately start back up… I stood up trying to maneuver ove the side but hit hte blow out point head on with the wind and spewed bar all over everyone in the truck…. in a bout 3 seconds everyone started barfing.. i think i woudl rather drink urine squeezed out of a flop hose mattress then drink TEN HIGH… all due respects… I told my son in law this story and i bought him a bottle of Woodford reserve distillers select and my son a bottle of Angels Envy… My soninlaw got me a bottle of TEN HIGH which i took ashot of and felt like i was back in nam… Ithit me like the flop house urine followed by a strong rancid vomit taste… ENJOY hahahaha

    • Mark on January 31, 2016 at 2:58 pm
    • Reply

    I enjoy trying bottom shelf bourbons. Recently purchased a bottle of 10 High Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey. I thought it had very little flavor for a bourbon. After doing a little research, found that it is only 51% bourbon. I forgot to verify the label said STRAIGHT bourbon whiskey.

    • Carrol on March 9, 2016 at 8:02 pm
    • Reply

    I still like the Bourbon and like the price but I can’t open the bottles anymore! I have been purchasing from the same store for a long time that has the lowest price. All of a sudden the bottles won’t open. it is like they have been super glued shut. Desperately I have use all kinds of devices to open the bottle. I ruined 2 of my good quality knifes taking the lid apart piece by piece from the bottom up. I thought maybe it was just a bad batch but after several weeks it is the same old problem

    Can you tell me why this has happened? I can, of course, choose another cheap brand but I would prefer to simply be able to open the bottle.

    • Betty Smith on April 1, 2016 at 5:47 pm
    • Reply

    I live in Missouri. I always buy Ten High at one of two places. one time I bought one in another state & it tasted nasty. Just like soapy water. After checking there are two blends. One says “A Blend” the good one. Ther other says “With Natural Flavors” NASTY. I just bought (2) 1.75 bottles from Walmart. I did’nt check before I bought, but apperantly they have switched to the nasty blend with no warning to consumers. I want my money back. I have my recipe. If all stores go to the nasty blend we will be switching brands REAL QUICK

      • Sam on March 25, 2018 at 3:29 am
      • Reply

      Walmart in Missouri sells liquor? In Virginia you have to buy from the abc store; everywhere else can only sell beer and wine.

    • George Dill on April 12, 2016 at 9:57 am
    • Reply

    I have been drinking ten high fir over20 years I would like to know what happen the taste is not the same it is like Chocolate smell and taste this is not right we pay good money for this and to me this is like HORSE PEE.

    • Mark Rhodes on August 7, 2016 at 5:52 pm
    • Reply

    My wife’s family has been drinking 10 High for probably 40 years. 26 years ago, after our marriage, I got hooked.
    All of a sudden there’s a big diffence in the the taste of what’s in the liter and what’s in the 1.75. The liter was the good old recipe of old. Now the 1.75 is sweeter and definitely not the same. What are you suits doing. More bottom line bull. trying to screw with a proven formula that has a following.
    I’m getting tired of going to 3 or 4 liquor stores to find the liter in stock. What are you experts doing to screw this up.
    I agree with George Dill and Betty Smith. Get rid of this Master (so called) Distiller who’s browm nosing the suits.

    • Steve o on August 22, 2016 at 7:21 pm
    • Reply

    Ten high is poison. I would not even put it in my gas tank

  1. I would love to visit the distillery that makes ten high. It is a poor quality whiskey.just would like to view the process. Save your money and for a few dollars more get a fair to good whiskey. I prefer Evan Williams. It is the Best Buy for the money out there.

    • lauretta j on September 6, 2016 at 12:23 pm
    • Reply

    I have been buying ten high for 30 years, don’t know what you have done to it but it’s awful now. spend my money just to throw it down the drain.can’t afford to keep doing this and I hate to change,

    • Bourbon lover on September 14, 2016 at 10:20 pm
    • Reply

    Old Crow is far superior for just a couple more bucks. Straight bourbon whiskey with no “grain neutral spirits”. 10 high is a mixer only, in fact it is a bourbon cocktail of straight bourbon and vodka, but, because it is 51% corn whiskey can be called bourbon.

    • elden landolt on September 14, 2016 at 10:45 pm
    • Reply

    I have to agree with some of the people here, I have been drinking 10 high for years and years and It now tastes like ?@#@?t. I have another 1.75 bottle and when that is gone, I will be switching to something that tastes like bourbon. If you can’t keep quality control then you need to fire some ones ass before your company goes down the toilet. I have been drinking 10 high since Vietnam and this stuff is shit. You have lost me as a customer. x loyal customer

    • Jeff Cook on November 30, 2016 at 8:49 pm
    • Reply

    I drink 10 high and have for years. It is not meant for drinking straight without a mixer. If you prefer on the rocks whiskey then spend the money for it. If you intend to cut your whiskey with a mixer then 10 high is a good value. Once a person adds a mixer the quality of whiskey matters little.

    • EASYEDXX on February 22, 2017 at 10:23 pm
    • Reply

    Been drinking 10 High as the base for Manhattans for 20 years. Wish it did taste a little better but, as a mixer it does just fine for theprice. Being on a fixed income, you go with what you can afford. If Sour Mash was any more expensive I would be sober.
    Work on the last you folks at 10 High………PLEASE!

    • bob krizman on July 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm
    • Reply

    Ten high is the best bourbon mix for thd money. Drink it every day.

    • Michael on July 10, 2017 at 10:02 pm
    • Reply

    I purchased some unopened Hiram Walker Ten High 5yo straight bourbon whiskey at a yard sale. It is only two thirds full. Any idea what happened?

    • Karl P.Bechler on July 18, 2017 at 4:25 pm
    • Reply

    Like Ten High better than 4 Roses Yellow Label.I will be curious to try Ancient Age..if I ever find it.
    I like Buffalo Trace,haven’t yet tried Old Turkey.
    Do not care for Jack Daniels.
    Anyone tried George Dickel recently?

    • anthony fattoruso on August 14, 2017 at 4:14 pm
    • Reply

    There is no better bourbon for the money…under $8.00..cheaper then beer…and it takes up less room too

    • Jack Brewer on August 20, 2017 at 3:23 am
    • Reply

    I just bought a 1.75 let bottle and I don’t find the taste bad at all. My bottle doesn’t say added flavors. It does say a blend. I was a little hesitant because it was only 51% whiskey but I enjoy vodka as well so for the price I find it acceptable.

    • Btp on September 16, 2017 at 7:31 pm
    • Reply

    I buy 10 High often. It is mild, slow buildup on taste and easy on the pocket I drink it on the rocks; mix it if you wish but all you taste jerks need to get a life. I wish it was sold in glass bottles so long storage would not impart plastic taste.

    Bourbon sipper for fifty years.

      • Mac on September 20, 2017 at 11:55 pm
      • Reply

      how about decanting it, works well, cheers

    • Mac on September 20, 2017 at 11:54 pm
    • Reply

    Ten High is a good quality Whiskey, there are some supposed experts out there that say it is not up to par, well I have been drinking whiskey for years and have drank some of the critics choices, in my personal opinion, and I have considerable knowledge in the matter, Ten High is a very good choice on any occasion, unless you are attending a function where there are stuck up no nothing ,,, well you get my Idea, Oh yeah I make a pretty good mash product my self, been doing so for YEARS, ” not for sale don’t ya know” .

    • Peter Funghi on October 14, 2017 at 10:43 am
    • Reply

    Yep, High Ten has one thing in its favor – it’s cheap! But I thought, by law, to be labeled Bourbon it had to be at least 51% corn whiskey and since there is no ageing disclaimer on the bottle, such as you find on Heaven Hill e.g. aged 36 months, it must be at least 4 years old.
    But, it has a rough mouthfeel and a slightly sweet taste.
    It is currently on sale in the Pennsylvania State Stores at $13.99 for 1.75L.
    If you must go low end I suggest Heaven Hill. Usually I go one step higher and buy, what for my money is the best bourbon buy – Ezea Brooks.

    • ELDEDN LANDOLT on November 18, 2017 at 10:49 pm
    • Reply

    You people have finally got rid of me, I cant find any blended 10 high now so you can shove the rest of it for good.

    • Bourbon Lover on January 10, 2018 at 7:18 pm
    • Reply

    Want a quality, inexpensive, true Bourbon? Try Fighting Cock. Still recommend it for mixing but it really is a fantastic mixing Bourbon for very little $$$.

    • "piano joe" blanda, rochester ny on April 8, 2018 at 8:17 pm
    • Reply

    i bought a liter Saturday April 7,,: i did not see the usual 49 % grain neutral spirits, 51 % bourbon,,,Instead it just had ‘straight bourbon’ on the label..I also noticed NO Haraman Walker, instead Barton distilleries was on the label..Question is, is this a new recipe ??or a recipe from decades ago..?? In any event I got the ice, and poured, and mixed with a little ginger ale, and an equal amount of club soda, no salt added,,The result was “Happiness”<<I was again drinking the sour mash I remember from decades ago…I am very happy with the flavor..also, no rye tase, I dont care for the bitter taste of rye…As for J Beam, i remember when Beam was a low price bourbon , now its almost twice the cost,,,and not a big deal flavor wise, but i dont like the rye, so I am not totally objective; but i still find Beam to be over expensive,,,This blend of Ten High is the taste I remember as what sour mash was in 'days of old'.,,I usto drink a sour mash called Benson's Creek, but it dosent even show up on the net..It was 'good stuff'..Friends,,try the Ten High, it is 'good stuff'. Piano Joe Blanda, Rochester ny…

    • Sean Pendeco on June 4, 2018 at 9:45 pm
    • Reply

    I play $9.99 per liter in RI. Thank about a bottle every day and a half to two days… never found need for a cup, mixer, or chaser. Guess I’m just an environmentalist like that. Oh yeah… And not a little girl. That always helps when drinking cheap whiskey neat. Not the best tasting whiskey, quite possibly giving me an ulcer, but never once had a hangover from it…. never puked it up. Agree with previous post different badges taste completely different… but hey then again they say variety is the spice of life

    • Sean Pendeco on June 4, 2018 at 9:47 pm
    • Reply

    I play $9.99 per liter in RI. Drink about a bottle every day and a half to two days… never found need for a cup, mixer, or chaser. Guess I’m just an environmentalist like that. Oh yeah… And not a little girl. That always helps when drinking cheap whiskey “neat”. Not the best tasting whiskey, quite possibly giving me an ulcer, but never once had a hangover from it…. never puked it up. Agree with previous post different batches taste completely different. But hey…. they say variety is the spice of life.

    • Sean Pendeco on June 4, 2018 at 9:49 pm
    • Reply

    I apologize for previous typos. I pay $9.99 per liter in RI. Drink about a bottle every day and a half to two days… never found need for a cup, mixer, or chaser. Guess I’m just an environmentalist like that. Oh yeah… And not a little girl. That always helps when drinking cheap whiskey “neat”. Not the best tasting whiskey, quite possibly giving me an ulcer, but never once had a hangover from it…. never puked it up. Agree with previous post different batches taste completely different. But hey…. they say variety is the spice of life.

    • Penny Daniels on July 3, 2018 at 9:18 pm
    • Reply

    Bought black velvet for 50 years until they put scotch in it. Don’ t like scotch and whiskey together. Recently told about ten high tried it and love it. Please don’t change formula. Telling a lot of people about it. Price is great. Bottle size good.

    • Lee Bickford on August 9, 2018 at 10:35 pm
    • Reply

    Keep a bottle of Ten High in the cupboard, replace it every few weeks with a new one.Just bought the last one. Poured a couple drinks and we spit it out, had to be some kind of insecticide, afraid we would get sick but didn’t. It is the worst taste I ever encountered. Never again. What did they do?

    • J Grant on February 17, 2019 at 3:06 pm
    • Reply

    What did they do to the label? I like the old one better.

    • Mark on April 7, 2019 at 1:38 pm
    • Reply

    Always looking to try new bottom shelf bourbons. Guess I did not look at the label too close when purchasing this one. Looked the bottle over to verify there was no “age” labeling (indicating it is aged at least 4 years). However did not notice that the label did not indicate “straight” bourbon until I opened the bottle. Then I notice “Bourbon Whiskey With Natural Flavors” on the label. Do not know what the natural flavors are, but the whiskey smells sweet. Paid 14 dollars for a 1.75. Generally mix with cola or 7-up. This stuff reminds me of Crown Royal (only a lot cheaper). Bottom line, I would purchase Ezra Brooks or Evan Williams over 10 High. If for no other reason, they are “straight bourbons”.

    • Neville on November 2, 2019 at 10:42 pm
    • Reply

    1.75L on sale for $13.99 at Lee’s Discount Liquor here in Las Vegas, where I usually buy Evan; but they hiked the price of Evan a dollar, so I bought two 10High. Never had it before now — unusual spicy/herbal taste for Bourbon, hard to identify, maybe cardamom?

    • K Rogers on November 24, 2019 at 10:01 pm
    • Reply

    Barton (Sazarac) has been messing with the formula for some time. Years ago Ten High was a straight bourbpn. Then it changed to a blended bourbon around 2009, 51% straight bourbon, 49% grain neutral spirit. Later the blend was changed to 20% straight bourbon and 80% GNS. Then a straight bourbon with natural flavors came out and both versions were available for a while. The current version is the bourbon whiskey with natural flavors that Barton says uses straight bourbon with flavoring added, which results in not straight bourbon as the flavoring disqualifies it from being called straight bourbon. Plus it now has a new label. Not sure why all of these changes but apparently there is still enough demand to justify the current product which is a light, smooth whiskey with a bourbon-esk flavor. How about a bottle in bond version ala Early Times bonded for old times sake?

    • Dale Gimore on November 25, 2019 at 11:03 pm
    • Reply

    Your old whiskey formula is great,new one sucks and what happened to the old bottle label guess ill find another brand after 10 or 13 years must have a rookie distiller now hey folks go back to the original

    • Jim Dryburgh on December 20, 2019 at 3:21 pm
    • Reply

    I have served Ten High to some of my bourbon snob friends and told them it was Jim Beam Black and they never knew the difference
    It works great for me l make manhattans
    with it

    • James Parker on February 1, 2020 at 2:05 pm
    • Reply

    I love the taste of your whiskey and love the new bottle and label with the Eagle, I love and collect Bald Eagle stuff from clothing to pictures and other forms. Keep up the good work!!!

    • David on March 20, 2020 at 9:08 pm
    • Reply

    Did not like it mixed with coke. Made it taste like a nasty cheap cola. Mixed it with some Evan Williams BnB I had and found it tasted like a bottle of Old forester Rye at a third the cost.

    • Rich on July 22, 2020 at 11:43 am
    • Reply

    It was a drink of desperation when I was in the Air Force in the early ’60s. It was the cheapest whiskey at the liquor store, and we called it “Scrap Iron.”

    • Scott on September 19, 2020 at 11:19 am
    • Reply

    In the early 80’s I drank a LOT of Hiram Walker distilled 10-high. By the late 80’s I’d stopped drinking the stuff. I picked up a bottle of this swill made by Sazarac and it’s NOWHERE near the quality of what 10-High once was. This swill is diesel fuel. It is plain horrible!

    • James Abernathy on January 21, 2021 at 11:23 am
    • Reply

    Did not start drinking until I was 65. Started drinking to help with back pain since Doctors quit prescribing pain pills. Cheap Ten High numbs pain as well as expensive Bourbon. Drink a jigger full straight every morning.

    • Clifton Britt on May 16, 2021 at 4:43 pm
    • Reply

    Reminds me of the wood alcohol we used in bunson burners in high school chemistry class.

    • Jay Balentine on May 17, 2021 at 4:26 pm
    • Reply

    I enjoy both Kentucky straight and sour mash, neat or with an ice cube.. Never mixed. This reviewer is either far more sophisticated than I, or he’s a whiskey snob of some sort. Ten High is just fine. Forget the price, I’d pay more for it and probably do up here in New York. Besides, is there such a thing as a really bad bourbon? If there is, it’s not Ten High.

Leave a Reply to Gi Joe 626 Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.