The whiskey tradition in America is strong. This guide from vnexplorer.net will introduce you to the best American whiskey brands available today.
- Pappy Van Winkle
- Woodford Reserve
- Wild Turkey
- Jim Beam
- Old Forester
- High West
- Maker’s Mark
Pappy Van Winkle
When it comes to bourbon, none is more well-known than Pappy Van Winkle. It’s so expensive and difficult to come by that Netflix used it as the basis for a famous heist. The collection includes Van Winkle Special Reserve and Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year. Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 Year, Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year, and others. The Old Rip Van Winkle 10-Year, with notes of barrel-proof alcohol content and flavors of candied pecans, toasted vanilla beans, dried cherries, and oaky wood, is the most affordable (but uncomfortably expensive). Because of the high wheat content, it’s incredibly soft, mellow, and drinkable.
You only need to look at recent auction records to see how much Pappy van Winkle is adored. A bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon sold earlier this year at Sotheby’s for a whopping $ 52,500, setting a new record for the label. Indeed, the price was so high that auctioneers were taken aback, with Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s head of whisky and spirits, North America and EMEA, commenting that it “went far beyond anyone’s expectations.”
Woodford Reserve, located in the heart of horse racing country in Versailles, Kentucky, can trace its history back to 1812 when distilling began on the site. The whiskey drinkers’ favorite brand debuted in 1996. Compared to some sweet bourbons, Woodford Reserve is well-known for its high-rye mash bill, making it an excellent accompaniment to the classic Old Fashioned cocktail or Mint Julep.
While it comprises 72% corn and 10% malted barley, its expressions get a healthy kick of spice from the 18% inclusion. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand, we recommend starting with its classic Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon. One of the market’s most complex, flavorful, and reasonably priced whiskeys. On the other hand, Woodford Reserve is serving up some serious A-grade fare, namely the Master Collection. Fortunately, We obtained the 2021 edition, limited to only 700 bottles nationwide. The 15th edition of the Master’s Collection was released to honor the creations of the 1812 distillery site where Woodford Reserve is now located. Furthermore, if you’re willing to pay a little more, the Double Oaked release adds a touch of luxury.
But if you really want a taste of Woodford Reserve’s top drop, the Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition is unrivaled. This distinctive Kentucky bourbon is finished in XO Cognac oak, housed in a striking Baccarat crystal glass decanter, and available for $3,000.
Wild Turkey is a unique brand. This Kentucky-based bourbon brand is well-known for its budget bourbon and is a favorite of Hollywood A-lister Matthew McConaughey. However, the label also has a slew of surprisingly low-cost, highly-rated, nuanced offerings like Wild Turkey Rare Breed. This barrel-proof, small-batch bourbon blends six, eight, and twelve-year-old whiskeys. As a result, the bourbon is complex and highly drinkable, with notes of honey, dried fruits, toffee, candied almonds, oak, and light spices.
Aside from Rare Breed, the Wild Turkey portfolio is a veritable bourbon buffet. The Master Keep One is a well-received release that offers rich and nostalgic aromas of sweet honey and brown spice, complimented by a delicate toasted and charred oak. Meanwhile, adding mesquite charcoal to the filtration process gave the Longbranch collection a sweet and smoky flavor.
Wild Turkey’s 17-year-old Bottled-in-Bond, on the other hand, gave the brand new life. Only the second Wild Turkey bourbon to bear the bottled-in-bond label, this release resulted from a single distilling season from a single distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse in the United States. It is artfully bottled at 100 proof, according to the label.
Jim Beam is a renowned American whiskey brand with a long and esteemed history in the world of spirits. Founded in 1795 by Jacob Beam, it is one of the oldest bourbon whiskey distilleries in Kentucky, USA. Jim Beam has become synonymous with quality bourbon and is highly regarded for its craftsmanship, rich flavor profiles, and commitment to tradition.
The brand’s flagship product is Jim Beam Bourbon, a classic American bourbon whiskey made from a mash bill predominantly consisting of corn. It undergoes a meticulous aging process in new charred oak barrels, allowing the spirit to develop its distinctive flavors and smooth character. Jim Beam Bourbon is known for its balanced sweetness, notes of caramel and vanilla, and a touch of oak.
Over the years, Jim Beam has expanded its range to include a variety of expressions, catering to different tastes and preferences. This includes Jim Beam Black, a premium aged bourbon with bolder flavors, and Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, which utilizes a unique extraction process to enhance rich, deep flavors from the barrel. Jim Beam also offers flavored variations such as Jim Beam Honey and Jim Beam Apple, which infuse the bourbon with natural flavors for a unique twist.
The brand’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship has been passed down through generations of the Beam family. Today, Jim Beam continues to uphold its time-honored traditions while embracing innovation to meet the evolving preferences of whiskey enthusiasts worldwide. Jim Beam has earned numerous accolades and has a strong presence in the global whiskey market. Its smooth and versatile bourbons have made it a popular choice for sipping neat, on the rocks, or as the foundation for classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned and the Whiskey Sour.
Michter’s is a prestigious American whiskey brand with a reputation for producing high-quality, small-batch whiskeys. The brand traces its roots back to 1753, making it one of the oldest distilleries in the United States. Michter’s has a rich history and has experienced periods of closure and revival, but it has consistently maintained a commitment to crafting exceptional whiskeys.
Michter’s is known for its meticulous attention to detail and traditional production methods. The brand focuses on sourcing the finest ingredients and employs a slow and deliberate distillation process to create distinctive spirits. Each small-batch release is carefully crafted and aged to perfection, resulting in a range of premium whiskeys showcasing complexity, flavor depth, and smoothness.
The Michter’s lineup includes a variety of bourbon, rye, and American whiskey expressions. Michter’s Bourbon is highly regarded for its rich and full-bodied profile, with caramel, vanilla, and oak notes. Michter’s US1 Rye offers a spicy and robust flavor profile, reflecting the brand’s expertise in producing rye whiskey. Michter’s American Whiskey is a unique blend that combines bourbon and rye characteristics, resulting in a smooth and approachable whiskey with a touch of sweetness.
Michter’s has earned numerous accolades and critical acclaim for its whiskeys, garnering recognition for its craftsmanship and exceptional quality. The brand’s commitment to excellence extends to every aspect of production, from grain selection to barrel aging, resulting in a portfolio of spirits that appeal to whiskey enthusiasts and connoisseurs. Due to their small-batch nature and limited production, Michter’s whiskeys are highly sought-after and often considered collector’s items. The brand’s dedication to quality and consistency has helped it carve a special place in American whiskey and earned it a loyal following of discerning whiskey lovers.
Old Forester is a well-respected American bourbon whiskey brand with a legacy from 1870. It is one of the oldest continuously operated distilleries in the United States and has significantly shaped the bourbon industry. Old Forester takes pride in its craftsmanship, using traditional methods and high-quality ingredients to create its range of bourbons. The brand is known for its commitment to consistency, as each bottle of Old Forester is crafted from a single, consistent flavor profile. This approach ensures that consumers can rely on the taste and character of Old Forester bourbons from bottle to bottle.
The flagship expression of Old Forester is Old Forester 86 Proof, a classic bourbon with a smooth and approachable flavor profile. It features caramel, vanilla, and oak notes, embodying the traditional characteristics of bourbon whiskey. Old Forester also offers a variety of other expressions to cater to different preferences and occasions. This includes the Old Forester 100 Proof, a higher-proof bourbon with a bolder flavor profile and added intensity. The Old Forester Signature 100 Proof is another notable expression known for its rich and complex flavors. Additionally, the brand occasionally releases limited-edition and special-release bottlings that showcase unique maturation techniques or experimental flavor profiles.
Old Forester has received recognition for its quality and craftsmanship, earning numerous accolades and awards within the bourbon industry. The brand’s commitment to traditional bourbon-making techniques and its rich history and reputation have solidified its position as a respected and sought-after name among bourbon enthusiasts.
If you ask a bourbon drinker in the United States to name one bourbon they’ve always wanted to try but can’t find for a remotely reasonable price, they’ll almost certainly mention Blanton’s. Blanton’s, dubbed the “original single barrel bourbon,” was founded in 1984 by famed master distiller Elmer T. Lee. He was the first to select specific barrels from which to make whiskey. Its Original Single Barrel, which is still made the same way today, is known for its candied orange peels, rich oak, vanilla beans, and sweet caramel flavors.
The company recently announced that its classic Straight From The Barrel whiskey would be available in international markets beginning in 2022. The American whiskey is bottled in the 120-proof range and is an uncut, unfiltered expression made from the same recipe as other Blanton whiskeys. According to Buffalo Trace, the whiskey has a nose of dark chocolate, caramel, and butter, with undertones of walnut and hazelnut. The Straight From The Barrel expression has notes of warm vanilla, oak, toasted nuts, and hints of butterscotch and honey in the flavor profile.
High West is a renowned American whiskey brand that has made a name for itself in the world of craft spirits. Founded in 2006 by David Perkins in Park City, Utah, High West has become synonymous with exceptional quality and innovative flavor profiles. Their commitment to traditional distillation methods, locally sourced ingredients, and meticulous aging techniques set them apart. High West’s small-batch, handcrafted whiskeys, such as the popular Double Rye! and American Prairie Bourbon, showcase their expertise in blending and aging.
Additionally, their Campfire whiskey, a unique blend of bourbon, rye, and peated Scotch, highlights their creativity in creating complex and memorable flavor experiences. With accolades and awards under their belt, High West continues to captivate whiskey enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike with their exceptional craftsmanship and dedication to producing outstanding American whiskeys.
Maker’s Mark is a well-known American bourbon whiskey brand that has gained a reputation for its distinctive flavor and iconic red wax-dipped bottles. Established in 1953 in Loretto, Kentucky, Maker’s Mark has remained true to its traditional production methods and commitment to quality. Maker’s Mark is crafted using a mash bill consisting primarily of corn, malted barley, and a small amount of red winter wheat. This unique combination of grains contributes to its smooth and mellow taste. The whiskey is distilled using traditional copper pot stills and aged in new, charred American white oak barrels to develop its rich flavors and amber color.
What sets Maker’s Mark apart is its attention to detail and handcrafted approach. Each bottle is sealed with the brand’s signature red wax, hand-dipped to create a distinct and recognizable appearance. The wax seal also symbolizes the brand’s commitment to delivering a premium and authentic product. Maker’s Mark offers a range of expressions, including their flagship Maker’s Mark Bourbon, known for its balanced sweetness and caramel, vanilla, and oak notes. They also produce limited-edition releases and variations, such as Maker’s Mark 46, which undergoes additional aging with seared French oak staves to enhance its complexity.
With its rich heritage and dedication to craftsmanship, Maker’s Mark has become a beloved bourbon brand in the United States and worldwide. It continues to be cherished by whiskey enthusiasts for its smooth flavor, iconic packaging, and the timeless traditions it represents.
Booker’s is a highly regarded American bourbon whiskey brand known for its robust flavor and high-proof offerings. Named after Booker Noe, the grandson of Jim Beam and a legendary figure in the whiskey industry, Booker’s embodies his commitment to producing bold and unfiltered expressions. Booker’s bourbon is crafted in small batches and is uncut and unfiltered, allowing the full intensity of the whiskey’s flavors to shine through. It is aged for at least six years in charred American white oak barrels, contributing to its rich and complex character.
One of the distinguishing features of Booker’s is its high proof. The whiskeys are typically bottled at barrel strength, meaning they retain the alcohol content at which they were originally aged. This results in a robust and powerful flavor profile, often with vanilla, caramel, oak, and spice notes. Booker’s releases are known for their limited availability and unique names that reflect the individual batches. The master distiller carefully selects each batch to showcase the best qualities of the whiskey. The brand has gained a dedicated following among bourbon enthusiasts who appreciate its boldness, craftsmanship, and the opportunity to experience the whiskey in its purest form.
In addition to their standard Booker’s bourbon releases, the brand occasionally offers special editions and limited releases that showcase different flavor profiles and aging techniques. These expressions allow whiskey aficionados to explore the brand’s versatility and further appreciate the depth and complexity of Booker’s bourbon.