Published Saturday, November 01, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.

Do boutique butters deserve their rave reviews?

Highly Recommended
  Lurpak Unsalted Butter

This Danish cultured butter tasted "creamy" and "nutty" on its own and baked up into cookies with a "near-perfect," "tight crumb."

$4.99 for 8 oz.
  Vermont Butter and Cheese Company Unsalted Butter

A favorite for those who liked a subtle “cheesy tang” to their butter, this small-batch New England log earned second place for being “rich” and “creamy” without tasting greasy.

$4.50 for 8 oz.
  Isigny Ste. Mère Beurre de Baratte

Multiple tasters compared this slightly sour French butter to “cream cheese,” “yogurt” and “mascarpone.” It also turned out “rich, buttery” cookies.

$8.25 for 8.8 oz.
  Beurre de Chimay

One taster noted that this “luscious,” “melt-in-your-mouth” Belgian butter tasted “just a few steps short of crème fraîche.” This plus a little sea salt, several tasters noted, would be perfection on bread.

$4.99 for 250 g.
  Land O'Lakes Unsalted Butter

Most tasters had no trouble picking this “plain,” “bland” supermarket staple from the lineup—“average table butter,” one taster noted—but it baked up surprisingly well in cookies.

$4.69 for 1 pound
Recommended with Reservations
  Kate’s Unsalted Homemade Butter

Tasters appreciated this Maine-made butter’s “clean” flavor, though most felt its “sweeter,” “blander” profile paled in comparison to cultured butters.

$4.99 for 1 pound
Recommended with Reservations
  PastureLand Unsalted Organic Butter

Most tasters noted this Minnesota butter’s striking yellow color. A few praised its “sweet cream” flavor and “rich” texture, but many found it “oily” and even “rancid” in flavor—perhaps due to its thinner wax paper wrapping.

$6.50 for 1 pound
Not Recommended
  Beurre Échiré

Too much culture in this case, tasters thought. Only tasters who craved particularly “cheesy,” “sour” flavor in their butter liked this coveted French butter.

$8.99 for 250 g.