While we enjoy whisk(e)y all year long, there’s really no better season for the spirit than fall. When the leaves begin to turn and the temperatures start to dip, the bottles of rye, Scotch, bourbon, and Japanese whisky in our liquor cabinets seem to call to us. Tempting us to sit with a dram by the fire.
With so many different varieties of whisk(e)y on the market and countless brands to choose from, it’s tough to pick just one or two bottles to invest in this fall. So we asked some of our favorite bartenders tell us their “must try” whiskey picks for autumn 2020.
Shenk’s Homestead Sour Mash
Mitchell Cochran, bar manager at Shades Bar & Grill in South Walton, Florida
Shenk’s Homestead Sour Mash. From the Michter’s Legacy Series, this whiskey has a very rye forward profile with a unique finish. The French oak barrels used to distill give it a very rich taste.
Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Bourbon
Marla White, lead bartender at Lona Cocina & Tequilera in Fotrt Lauderdale, Florida
Basil Hayden’s 10-Year Bourbon. Has a nice spicy-sweet light body profile that tastes great served neat, over ice, or in an old fashioned.
Really enjoyable and easy to drink.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Frantjesko Laonora, lead bartender at Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort in Curaçao
Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a must-try whiskey you won’t regret, as its dry smokiness artfully mixes with the sweetness of raisins on the nose. This whiskey serves a velvet combination of vanilla, honey, and rose petals with notes of hazelnut, sherry, and dark chocolate, and boasts a luxuriously long and smooth finish.
Hayden Miller, head bartender at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila in Miami
Legent Bourbon. The joining of Beam and Suntory is a true spectacle and does not leave you wishing for more. Japanese blending techniques and cask finishes create an excellent spirit.
Angel’s Envy Rye
Evgeny Anisimov, bartender at Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa in San Diego
If I had to pick one whiskey to enjoy this fall, I would pick Angel’s Envy Rye. It is finished in Caribbean Rum Barrels and has distinct aromas of butterscotch and maple.
While you sipping on it, don’t forget to snap a picture and tag #ToastTheTrees to help plant some White Oak Trees.
Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky
Molly Safuto, bartender at Mila Rooftop Bar in Glendale, California
Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky. This sweet-smelling dram, with hints of toffee, is so smooth going down — I guess that’s why Masataka Taketsuru is the father of Japanese Whisky.
Emmanuelle Massicot, assistant general manager of Kata Robata in Houston
Sunday’s Whisky. Made from the team behind Yardbird in Hong Kong, this Japanese whisky was specifically designed for highballs. It is citrus-forward, dilutes evenly over ice, and in cocktails, and is incredibly smooth and light.
Abasolo El Whisky de Mexico
Crystal Chasse, Beverage Director at Talk Story Rooftop in Brooklyn, New York
Abasolo El Whisky de Mexico needs to be in your mouth! It is new on the market and is distilled from 100% Mexican Cacahuazintle corn from local farmers. The corn shines and is supported with beautiful notes of black tea and vanilla.
Four Roses Small Batch Select
Andy Printy, beverage director at Chao Baan in St. Louis
The must-try if you haven’t already is Four Roses Small Batch Select. It’s only been on the market for a year or so, and as Four Roses’ first new expression in several years, it’s a banger. With just a touch of raspberry and dark fruit on the front, the finish is dank lumber and leather with a toffee back.
At its very reasonable price point, this bottle is perfect for any application.
Brendan Bartley, head bartender and beverage director at Bathtub Gin in New York City
Must try whisky for me this fall is Aberfeldy 16 Year. I picture this when I think of fall. It’s weighed with honey, stewed fruits, and baking spice. It’s finished in oloroso sherry casks, so it has all those rich nutty flavors as well. The Scotch whisky category is filled with great products, so picking something is always hard. I just find the Aberfeldy is an easy-drinking 16 Year with all the indicators of fall with every sip.
High West Campfire
Max Stampa-Brown, beverage director at Borrachito in New York City
If you haven’t had anything from High West I’d start with their Campfire. Tastes like it sounds. This is just a terrific blend of scotch, bourbon, and rye. There’s a real nice peatiness to it that evokes a devilish smoked cinnamon aroma.
Parker’s Heritage Bourbon
Gavin Humes, bartender, Scratch | Bar & Restaurant in Encino, California
I’ve got to go with Parker’s Heritage. Every year they release a beautifully complex and deep whiskey bourbon with a fantastic spice profile. It’s got the right balance between that spice, the burnt sugar caramel, and tons of round richness. It’s great every year, and I’m sure it’ll be great again this year.