If you are under the impression that bourbon can be made only in Kentucky, you’re not alone. After all, about 95 percent of it does indeed hail from the Bluegrass State. But while production of the whiskey is strictly regulated (for instance, at least 51 percent of the mash bill—or grain recipe—must be corn, and the spirit must be aged in new charred-oak containers), the only rule regarding its origin is that it be produced in the United States. 

And though the best-known and biggest names in the field are Kentuckian—think Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Evan Williams, and Elijah Craig—there’s a whole world of excellent bourbon to be found in every other state as well, from California to Washington to Minnesota to Florida. Some of these distilleries put their own unique spin on the spirit, experimenting with proportions in the mash bill, using locally grown grain, finishing the whiskey in different types of casks, or perhaps paying tribute to styles that were made in their regions before Prohibition. Several that opened in the past decade have now been around long enough to release spirits aged to that sweet spot of around six years, instead of having to bottle less mature liquid. (While standard bourbon has no minimum age requirement, “straight bourbon” must be aged for at least two years.) 

The upshot: There are now more first-rate options than ever. Though the concept of terroir might be a stretch when it comes to whiskey, the stories and history (or lack thereof ) behind these brands go a long way toward creating something singular. Bourbon is the only uniquely American style of whiskey, and while there are clearly throughlines based on the specifications of how it’s made, the details in the difference are what’s fascinating. Here are 10 of the best made outside their spiritual home of Kentucky worthy of your attention.