Bourbon Flavor Wheel

In Banter by Patrick "Pops" Garrett4 Comments

Updated version now available
We’ve created a new hi-res version along with tasting mats you can purchase and download instantly. Purchase today and share with your bourbon drinking friends.

When I first started drinking bourbon I would hear people refer to things like vanilla, toasted oak, and tobacco leaf when they would describe a bourbon they were drinking. I knew that they were trying to explain the taste of the bourbon but try as hard I might I just couldn’t drink a glass of bourbon and come up with words to describe what I was drinking.

Little by little though, I was able to start discerning different flavors and aromas from a bourbon. Trouble was I wasn’t able to necessarily tell you what I was tasting. Sure, I could name things like vanilla or caramel but more complicated things like toasted oak versus smoked oak never crossed my mind. Instead, I would simply refer to the bourbon as having a lot of wood in it. At about that time I remembered that wine drinkers have used a Wine Flavor Wheel for years to help identify the flavors and aromas in wine. So I set out to try and find one for bourbon.

I looked for a long time and was able to find several that focused on whiskey overall but I felt they were a little to cumbersome for everyday use and had a lot of information that I didn’t feel was necessary when tasting bourbon (versus Scotch whisky, etc.).  Then one night I attended a bourbon tasting where we were presented with some really bad photocopies of a bourbon specific flavor wheel. It was everything I had been searching for – simple, easy to use and focused on tasting bourbon.

The only problem was that it was in really bad shape (being a photocopy) and I couldn’t track down where it came from originally. So like any industrious bourbon lover I decided to recreate it, age it a bit and put my own unique twist on it for others to enjoy.  As such, I’m pleased to be able to share it with all of you today. I hope you find it useful as you continue on your bourbon journey.


Bourbon Flavor Wheel

PS – Feel free to share this with your friends and via social media. While being able to identify the aromas and flavors of bourbon isn’t necessary to enjoy good bourbon I know that many folks would love a little bit of help when it comes to increasing their overall bourbon IQ. Thanks in advance for helping us spread the bourbon gospel.


About the Author

Patrick "Pops" Garrett

Facebook Twitter Google+

Patrick Garrett, "Pops" as he's known to his friends, is the founder of Bourbon & Banter, LLC and claims the title of Chief Drinking Officer (CDO). A long-time marketing professional and photographer, Pops hopes to use his professional experience and love of Bourbon to spread the Bourbon Gospel and help everyone realize the therapeutic power of having a good drink with friends. Read Patrick's full profile.


  1. Pingback: Bourbon Tasting Workout - Blog

  2. Pingback: Let’s Drink Whiskey!! – Falling Through Stones

  3. Avatar

    This was incredibly helpful when I decided to get some friends together to taste some whiskey. Thanks for putting the time and effort into this!!!

  4. Pingback: 149 - The Art and Gamble of Bourbon Blending with Ed Bley of Old Baldy - The Bourbon Rundown

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.