American single malt whiskey continues to be one of the most interesting spirits categories on earth right now. New brands and new expressions from classic brands are hitting shelves almost constantly these days. The most exciting part is that those new bottles of whiskey are coming with new ideas — things like unique malt mixes, higher proof points, and hyper-local terroir are all adding to the beauty of this whiskey genre.
With so much new stuff hitting shelves, I figured it was high time to pour some drams and blindly taste them to find a few that you should try too. Since it’s spring, I didn’t have to look too far back to find new and exciting American single malt whiskeys to taste. Most of the bottles I blindly tasted were just released in the past weeks (with a few coming in late last year).
Our lineup today features the following bottles of whiskey:
- Westward American Single Malt Whiskey Single Barrel Selection Grand Cru Sauternes Cask
- Yellowstone American Single Malt Whiskey 108 Proof
- Jack Daniel’s Twice Barreled Special Release American Single Malt
- Lost Lantern 2023 Single Cask #2 — Westland Distillery American Single Malt Finished in Red Wine Cask 8 Years Old
- Tattersall Interstate Whiskey American Single-Malt Aged 4 Years
- Broken Barrel Luciferous American Singel Malt Whiskey
- Lost Lantern Single Cask #1 — Westland Distillery American Single Malt 7 Years Old
- Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey American Single Malt Cabernet Wine Cask Finished
After I tasted these whiskeys blindly, I ranked them according to how tasty they were. It’s as easy as that, folks. No weight was given to price or availability. Sound intriguing? Let’s jump right in!
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Part 1: The Tasting
Nose: This has a deep nose that takes you on a journey through green chili, soft caramel, burnt orange peels, grilled peach, summer flowers, and danish filled with vanilla cream and red fruit compote.
Palate: There’s a sharp cherry soda on the palate with a hint of grapefruit, pineapple, and ripe peach next to bright ginger, soft coconut, and a hint of honeyed malt with a whisper of nuttiness.
Finish: That orange comes back on the finish with a soft fresh floral edge next to light cedar bark braided with chewy fresh tobacco dipped in honey and dusted with citrus zest.
This is pretty goddamn delicious. It’s deep yet bright and fun.
Nose: A light sense of sweet Cream of Wheat opens the nose with a dollop of honey and peach next to stewed kiwi with nutmeg and a very fleeting sense of walking through a garden shop.
Palate: Spiced malts and stewed pears lead to more honey, dry dates, and a hint of fresh pear with a soft woody vanilla underbelly.
Finish: That woody vanilla drives the smooth finish with a hint of cinnamon bark, nut cake, and some pear cider.
This was pretty good overall. It didn’t blow me away but it was … nice.
Nose: Light chocolate powder malts greet you on the nose with soft leather, a hint of cedar, fresh gingerbread, oatmeal cookie dough, and some sweet ice tea powder.
Palate: The palate opens up with a sense of sour red fruit with a rich vanilla foundation that leads to woody spices and saddle soap with a vanilla white cake sweetness.
Finish: The mid-palate expands toward higher ABV buzziness with a note of almond and coconut and fresh leather on the finish with a fleeting sense of cream soda just kissed with orange-chocolate syrup.
This is really good whiskey. There’s a lot going on and it all pays off/comes together by the end.
Nose: Dried cherries and sultanas mingle with spiced red wine-soaked oak and a hint of old leatheriness on the nose.
Palate: Dark berries and leather lead to clove and allspice woody spice with a hint of pine dank and vanilla cookies.
Finish: Those woody spices and dark berries drive the finish toward soft vanilla and moist nuttiness with a hint of sweet vermouth.
This is a really tasty whiskey that really leans into the red wine vibes. It’s almost like a sweet dessert red wine.
Nose: Hefty crafty graininess presents on the nose with a sweet porridge vibe cut with honey, dried red fruit, and nuts.
Palate: Dried red chilis give way to dark chocolate-covered espresso beans on the palate with a light sense of dry grain husks and chocolate malts.
Finish: Those chocolate malts drive the finish with a hint of orchard fruit on a thinnish end.
This wasn’t terrible. But it wasn’t great either. It did have a nice balance between the very young grainy nose and the more mature palate.
Nose: The nose opens with a sense of fresh squash with a good dose of winter spices, light caramel, and wet malts rounding things out.
Palate: The taste has a moment more of that fresh squash before hitting a note of harsh chili pepper spiciness that buzzes hard on the palate with a sense of coconut and banana next to woody spice.
Finish: There’s a fair amount of spice at the end but the ABVs push past a pleasant buzz toward a full burn which mutes the lingering fruit, vanilla, and spice.
This is just a bit too much on the ol’ ABVs and losses the plot a little. There’s good stuff in there, I would need an ice cube to find it though.
Nose: This opens with a bright sense of dark citrus oils and tropical fruits next to wet brown sugar, subtly spiced malts, and a hint of woody oak spices cut with dark chocolate powder.
Palate: That dark chocolate powder welcomes you on the palate with white pepper, eggnog spices, and dark espresso beans counterpointed with bright tropical citrus and starfruit next to caramel and vanilla buttercream.
Finish: That caramel and buttercream drive the finish toward a hint of sweet oatmeal cookie dough cut with clove and sharp cinnamon and just kissed with nuttiness and chocolate chips.
This is good whiskey, folks! It’s complex yet welcoming. It’s not overly sweet or dry. It’s just right.
Nose: Diacetyl runs heavy on the nose kind of like plunging your nose into an unpopped microwave popcorn bag. It’s fundamentally faulty.
Palate: There is a nice spiced malt under the diacetyl on the palate with a light sense of grape soda and maybe some ginger rock candy.
Finish: The finish is sweet and artificially buttery with a thin end.
Part 2: The Ranking
8. Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey American Single Malt Cabernet Wine Cask Finished — Taste 8
Average Price: $56
This Oregon malt is aged next to the ocean before going into Columbia valley Cabernet barrels for a nine-month finish. Those barrels are then batched and proofed with local water before bottling.
No amount of aging could hide the fault in this whiskey. Hard pass.
7. Tattersall Interstate Whiskey American Single-Malt Aged 4 Years — Taste 5
Average Price: $45
This Minnesota whiskey uses Wisconsin malted barley — one that’s smoked with cherrywood and another that’s dark roasted. The hot juice is filled into new oak barrels for a four-year rest before batching, proofing, and bottling.
This was fine. It had a super grainy/crafty/young nose but actually did balance out by the end. I wouldn’t reach for it ever again though.
6. Broken Barrel Luciferous American Singel Malt Whiskey — Taste 6
Average Price: $56
This whiskey is made from 100% Indiana single malt whiskey. Those barrels are then re-barreled into Amaro and French oak casks for final maturation. The final blend is a mix of 80% Amaro barrels and 20% French oak before and bottling at cask strength.
This has a lot going for it. There’s a complex flavor profile in this pour, it’s just hiding behind too many ABVs. You’ll need a rock to really enjoy this. So if you want an overly proofed single malt, I guess give this a try.
5. Yellowstone American Single Malt Whiskey 108 Proof — Taste 2
Average Price: $54
This whiskey from Limestone Branch Distillery is a sourced single malt from Indiana. Four-year-old barrels of the malt whiskey was sent down to Kentucky where Stephen Beam masterfully blended and bottled this whiskey.
This was pretty good overall. I can see pouring this on a lazy weekday when I don’t want to be challenged. It’s a very easygoing whiskey with a nice overall flavor profile.
4. Lost Lantern 2023 Single Cask #2 Westland Distillery American Single Malt Finished in Red Wine Cask 8 Years Old — Taste 4
Average Price: $139
This year’s Lost Lantern releases are here! Cask #2 is a Washington state single malt made from 70% Great Western “Pure WA” Pale malt, 13% Briess Extra Special malt, 9% GW Munich malt, 4% Thomas Fawcett & Sons Brown malt, and 4% TF&S Pale Chocolate malt. That mix of malts is fermented, distilled, and aged in lightly toasted/heavily charred ISC Cooper’s Select barrel. After five years, the whiskey was re-barreled in a first-fill Washington Cabernet Sauvignon cask for an additional three years of mellowing before bottling 100% as-is in only 185 bottles.
This is pretty freaking good whiskey. It does lean really hard into that red wine finish, which is why it’s slightly lower on this ranking. But if you’re looking for a bold red wine finish on a soft and well-made single malt, then this is definitely the bottle for you.
3. Jack Daniel’s Twice Barreled Special Release American Single Malt — Taste 3
Average Price: $69
This new whiskey from Jack Daniel’s is made with a 100% malted barley mash bill. Those grains are milled and mashed with Jack’s famed cave spring water. That mash is then fermented with Jack’s own yeast and then distilled. The hot juice is slowly dripped through ten feet of sugar maple charcoal and is then filled into new American white oak barrels for a several-year rest. Finally, those barrels were batched and re-barreled in Olorosso sherry casks for a final maturation before bottling as-is at cask strength.
This has a wonderful nuance that beckons you back for more. It does lean more toward a bourbon than a single malt, but that’s not a knock. That’s why this is so enticing. If you’re looking for something completely new from Jack Daniel’s, then this is a must-buy.
2. Lost Lantern Single Cask #1 Westland Distillery American Single Malt 7 Years Old — Taste 7
Average Price: $129
This whiskey is all about Washington state terroir. The mash is a local five-malt recipe that Westland is known for. This whiskey then spent seven years resting in one barrel from ISC Cooper’s Select line before Lost Lantern bottled the whole barrel 100% as-is.
This is just good. It’s soft and approachable while delivering a deep flavor profile that hits just right. If you’re looking for a great standard definition of American single malt and how good it is getting, this is it.
1. Westward American Single Malt Whiskey Single Barrel Selection Grand Cru Sauternes Cask — Taste 1
Average Price: $99
This is Portland’s classic American single malt taken up a level. After years of resting, a single barrel was re-barreled in a sauternes cask from France’s Grand Cru Classé estate. 14 months later, Westward bottled that whiskey with a kiss of local water.
This was far and away the best taste on the panel. This is great American single malt and the bottle you should buy to convert any whiskey drinker into the wonderful world of ASM.
Part 3: Final Thoughts
You can skip the bottom three bottles outright. I’d recommend getting the Lost Lantern bottles the most. You’re never going to see those single-barrel expressions again. This is your only chance to taste those and it’s 100% worth the price of entry.
Beyond Lost Lantern, that Westward Single Barrel is a must-have. It’s a great whiskey from top to bottom with a wonderful flavor profile that takes you on a journey. You cannot beat it as a whiskey, American single malt or not.