Brand New American Whiskeys For Fall Sipping, Blind Tasted And Power Ranked

American whiskey is a fun category. The main reason being that American whiskey can… kind of be anything it wants to be. It doesn’t suffer from the restrictions that bourbon and rye have to adhere to. In the past, that meant that blenders would throw any old crap into a batch and bottle it to cut corners. But those days are long behind us, thanks to consumers demanding good whiskey no matter what’s on the label.

What does this all mean? It means it’s time for a brand-new American whiskey blind taste test.

Below, I’ve gathered 12 bottles of American whiskey across several spheres of influence in the whiskey world. There are wheat whiskeys, blends of ryes and bourbons, region-specific straight whiskeys, and even blends of Irish and American whiskeys (which used to be a huge thing in American whiskey way back in the day). That makes our lineup today the following bottles of American whiskeys:

  • Whiskey War Double Double A Blend of Straight Whiskeys
  • Old Elk Straight Wheat Whiskey
  • Blackened Cask Strength A Blend of Straight Whiskeys Finished in Black Brandy Casks
  • Whiskey Jypsi Legacy “The Journey”
  • Keeper’s Heart Whiskey Irish + American Single Barrel Finished in Maple Syrup Barrels
  • The Beverly Reserve Barrel Strength American Whiskey
  • American Hell House Legend American Whiskey Finished with Oak Staves
  • J. Rieger & Co. 2023 Monogram Whiskey Kansas City Whiskey Solera Reserve
  • Four Walls The Better Brown Made with a Blend of Irish Whiskeys and American Rye Whiskeys
  • Little Book Chapter 07: Retrospect
  • Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey Barrel Proof Batch: B923
  • Michter’s Limited Release US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Kentucky Sour Mash Whiskey

After blindly tasting these whiskeys (thanks to my wife for setting this one up for me), I ranked them based solely on taste. But the taste is never just “the taste” — it’s texture, depth, balance, and how it makes one feel. Luckily, some really good whiskeys were on this panel, making this a fun tasting. Let’s dive in!

Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Bourbon Posts Of The Last Six Months

Part 1 — The American Whiskey Blind Tasting

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Taste 1

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Tasting Notes:

Nose: There’s a sweet sense of salted caramel on the nose that gives way to dried chili pepper, old wet leather sheets, pink peppercorns, and a hint of burnt orange rinds over cider-soaked cinnamon bark and raw waffle batter with a whisper of pecan.

Palate: The palate hits that burnt orange and caramel note harder as minor keys of winter spice, fruit cake, and rum raisin darken the taste.

Finish: The end has a sense of pitchy firewood and sweet oak next to smudging sage and spearmint-chocolate tobacco just dusted with lemon pepper from the 90s.

Initial Thoughts:

This is a nice and deep whiskey. It’s a tad warm on the finish, but a rock will solve that.

Taste 2

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Brown spice and dry hay drive the nose toward soft cherry and apple with a nice foundation of creamy vanilla and some mild honey sweetness.

Palate: Peach cobbler with malted vanilla ice cream pops on the front of the palate next to yeasty doughnuts dusted with cinnamon sugar, a hint of nutmeg, and some clove before dark fig jam leads to a moment of cedar kindling.

Finish: The cedar flourishes on the finish as woody spices, creamy honey, soft dry grasses, and a whisper of dry grains round out the end.

Initial Thoughts:

This is another nice pour. It’s dry but that’s not a knock. I did want to water it though as I’m guessing there’s a lot more here than what presents on a neat pour.

Taste 3

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Hints of back porch wicker on a sunny day under a cedar tree mingles with dark chocolate with a hint of salt layered with dried cherry and toasted coconut next to salted caramel lattes.

Palate: Rich bourbon vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone leads to a sugary berry syrup with a hint of cinnamon and clove on the light palate.

Finish: Cinnamon-spiced vanilla tobacco rounds out the short-ish finish.

Initial Thoughts:

This had a touch of nostalgia built into a good classic American whiskey profile. It was a little hot on the finish. It was almost begging for ice.

Taste 4

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Tasting Notes:

Nose: There’s a hint of old dried roses on the nose that leads to caramel-crusted doughnuts dusted with cinnamon next to a whisper of dried cranberry and turkey roasting herbs.

Palate: The cranberry leans toward dried cherry dipped in chocolate with a dash of woody baking spices over honey-dipped kindling with a dash of fresh pipe tobacco.

Finish: That pipe tobacco takes in the tart red cherries and woody spice as a lush vanilla base with rich caramel and soft nuttiness slowly warms your palate with sharp winter spice barks and burnt orange.

Initial Thoughts:

This is complex and lush. This is a winner neat and probably explodes with more flavors with a touch of water to let it really bloom in the glass.

Taste 5

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Rich vanilla custard with a hint of cotton candy drives the nose toward pecan waffles with salted butter and real maple syrup next to hints of apple fritters, nutty fruit cake, and a touch of leathery tobacco.

Palate: The taste opens with creme brûlée swimming in more maple syrup as deep and rich vanilla tobacco leads to softer notes of almond, malted chocolate, and a hint of winter spice mixes.

Finish: The vanilla creaminess and spices meld on the finish with a touch of spiced warm apple cider, soft almond, and mincemeat pies all grounded by rich and real maple syrup sweetness that nearly takes on a rock candy vibe.

Initial Thoughts:

This came across as very sweet overall, but there was a sense of balance over time.

Taste 6

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Pecan waffles with plenty of butter, vanilla, and caramel open the nose toward maple syrup, cinnamon sticks, red chili pepper, and toasted marshmallows.

Palate: The pecans take on a cookie vibe on the palate as brown butter and rum raisin mingle with cinnamon syrup cut with orange and a whisper of chocolate.

Finish: That cinnamon and orange get buttery and lush with a sense of nut cake covered in caramel drizzle with a flake of salt and tobacco before a warming sense of chili arrives on the very end.

Initial Thoughts:

This was nutty and full of cinnamon. It was very even-keeled and went down very easily.

Taste 7

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Rich caramel, boot leather, and allspice drive the nose toward soft raspberry ice cream and a sense of sweet honeydew and maybe even some caramelized watermelon.

Palate: More caramelized fruit leads to woody winter spices, a light sense of dried lavender, rosewater, and almost rich cotton candy just kissed with apple or pear.

Finish: The end is light but does lean into the sweetness of the cotton candy and the dryness of the florals with a slight oakiness and minerality.

Initial Thoughts:

This was solid but very standard whiskey.

Taste 8

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Tasting Notes:

Nose: French toast leads to rich maple syrup on the nose before veering into candied orange, grilled peach, old cedar bark, and rich pipe tobacco with a sense of salted buttercream.

Palate: Pecan pies and cream soda drive the palate toward Black Forest cake, spiced winter nut cakes, rum raisin, and vanilla cookies with a hint of almond oil and fig.

Finish: The end leans into the winter cake of it all with tons of spice, brandy-soaked fruits, and nuts next to old cedar and tobacco braided together in an old leather pouch.

Initial Thoughts:

This has incredible balance and depth. It just keeps going without overpowering any particular moment or flavor note. Bravo.

Taste 9

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Hints of dried chilis, old leather, vanilla-laced honey, apple tarts, and caramel candy mingle on the nose.

Palate: The Irishness arrives in spades on the palate with bright apple orchard vibes next to flora honey, a hint of yellow straw, light nutshells, and a moment of sultanas just kissed with caramel.

Finish: The apple swings back around on the finish with a sense of fresh apple cider just kissed with cinnamon and caramel before fading toward leathery malt.

Initial Thoughts:

This has a great mouthfeel with soft and creamy textures driving the nose, palate, and finish. It was on the lighter side overall, but still delivered.

Taste 10

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Clove-studded oranges open the nose with a bold sense of salted caramel, dark chocolate sauce, floral honey, and old vanilla cookies just kissed with almond oils and confectioner’s sugar before hitting light notes of old earthy cellars full of old firewood and leather boots.

Palate: That floral honey opens the palate with a soft vanilla cake covered in rich buttercream amped with marzipan and salted toffee before chili-laced chocolate tobacco drives the whole taste back toward earthiness and whiskey-worn oak.

Finish: The end has a soft warmth that slowly builds with winter spice barks, clove-spiked mulled wine, black-tea-soaked dates, rum raisin, and candied orange peels and cherries with a touch of malted chocolate cookies and vanilla tobacco rolled with smudging sage and dry cedar bark.

Initial Thoughts:

This is BOLD. It’s very warm but somehow not hot. All the flavor notes just shined from top to bottom.

Taste 11

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Fresh loaves of whole grain bread vibe with rich oaky winter pieces on the nose before soft vanilla cake, hints of dry grass, old leather tobacco pouches, and a touch of dried orange round things out.

Palate: Rich buttery toffee drives the palate toward clove-laced honey next to dry orange oils, salted caramel, rum raisin, and hints of cedar bark braided with smudging sage and dry tobacco.

Finish: Piney honey and salted caramel attach to the tobacco as dry straw and back porch wicker lead to a sense of dry winter spice and soft caramel candy corn.

Initial Thoughts:

This started off very strong but then got so hot at the finish it sort of drowned a lot of the nuance out. This was screaming for an ice cube.

Taste 12

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

Tasting Notes:

Nose: There’s a soft sense of a pile of firewood cut from an old fruit orchard next to dark chocolate oranges with a flake of salt and a drop of honey with a hint of vanilla cake frosted with apple cinnamon butter frosting.

Palate: The palate has a lightly smoked cherry vibe next to clove and allspice with a sense of lush and creamy eggnog and vanilla-cherry tobacco stuffed in a slightly pitchy pine box.

Finish: The end really leans into the cherry tobacco with a layer of mild chili spice and more of that soft and sweet orchard firewood.

Initial Thoughts:

This is a very well-balanced whiskey with great nuances throughout the nose, palate, and finish. This is a masterfully built whiskey.

Part 2 — The American Whiskey Ranking

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

12. American Hell House Legend American Whiskey Finished with Oak Staves — Taste 7

American Hell House Legend American Whiskey
American Hell House

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $49

The Whiskey:

This new whiskey from Lynyrd Skynyrd celebrates the cabin, Hell House, where the original band came together. The whiskey in the bottles is made and bottled by Bespoke Spirits out in California based on the current band’s multiple tastings and tinkering.

Bottom Line:

I’m going to say it again, this is solid-yet-standard stuff.

11. Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey Barrel Proof Batch: B923 — Taste 11

Bernheim Original Wheat Whiskey Barrel Proof
Heaven Hill

ABV: 60.2%

Average Price: $64

The Whiskey:

The second edition of Bernheim Wheat Whiskey Barrel Proof is here. This edition is made with a mash bill of 51% winter wheat, 37% corn, and 12% malted barley. That whiskey was then left to age for seven to nine years before prime barrels were chosen for batching. Once batched, the whiskey went into the bottle 100% as-is at cask strength.

Bottom Line:

This is a very hot whiskey with a good profile. You’re just going to need time, water, and/or ice to fully experience it.

10. Blackened Cask Strength A Blend of Straight Whiskeys Finished in Black Brandy Casks — Taste 3

Blackened Cask Strength Volume 01
Blackened

ABV: 61.4%

Average Price: $80

The Whiskey:

This new line from Metallica’s Blackened is all about the cask-strength versions of their now-classic “sonically-enhanced” blend of straight whiskeys. In this case, the blend is a mix of bourbon and rye that are batched and re-barrelled in black brandy casks that are blasted with, you guessed, Metallica tunes during the finishing maturation. Finally, those barrels are batched and bottled as-is at barrel strength.

Bottom Line:

This one is a no-brainer buy for cask-strength whiskey fans who also love Metallica. It’s good whiskey that will play well over the rocks or in a bold whiskey-forward cocktail.

9. Old Elk Straight Wheat Whiskey — Taste 2

Old Elk Straight Wheat Whiskey
Old Elk

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $64

The Whiskey:

This Colorado whiskey is made with 95% Red Winter wheat supported by 5% malted barley. The whiskey rests for five years high up in the Rockies before batching, proofing, and bottling.

Bottom Line:

This was a dry pour of whiskey, which leads me to believe it’ll be great in a cocktail (adding texture to the base spirit).

8. Keeper’s Heart Whiskey Irish + American Single Barrel Finished in Maple Syrup Barrels — Taste 5

Keeper's Heart Whiskey Irish + American Single Barrel Finished in Maple Syrup Barrels
Keeper

ABV: 55%

Average Price: $59

The Whiskey:

This new release from Keeper’s Heart up in Minnesota blends Irish whiskey with American Rye. Once batched, that whiskey was re-barreled into a maple syrup barrel for another rest. Once that barrel hit the right notes, it was bottled as-is with a hint of proofing water.

Bottom Line:

This was on the sweeter side of things. That said, that makes this a great candidate for making a whiskey-forward cocktail and drawing back the added sugar.

7. Whiskey War Double Double A Blend of Straight Whiskeys — Taste 1

Whiskey War Double Double Oaked
Whiskey War

ABV: 56.75%

Average Price: $99

The Whiskey:

This Ohio whiskey is hewn from a rye-heavy mash bill. That spicy juice is then rested in new American oak for a spell before being vatted and re-barreled into another brand-new American oak barrel, all adding up to five years of mellowing. Those barrels are then batched and bottled as-is.

Bottom Line:

This is good stuff that’ll work in any pour — neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail.

6. The Beverly Reserve Barrel Strength American Whiskey — Taste 6

The Beverly Reserve Barrel Strength
The Beverly Reserve

ABV: 58%

Average Price: $79

The Whiskey:

This new release from The Beverly is a limited edition small batch at barrel strength. The blend in the bottle is 60% straight bourbon from Iowa and 40% Indiana rye. Those barrels were batched and bottled at Cedar Ridge in Iown for The Beverly, yielding only 550 bottles.

Bottom Line:

If you dig high-rye bourbons at cask strength, this is going to be your jam. I’d pour it over a big ice cube for slow sipping.

5. Four Walls The Better Brown Made with a Blend of Irish Whiskeys and American Rye Whiskeys — Taste 9

Four Walls The Better Brown
Four Walls The Better Brown

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $29

The Whiskey:

The team from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, and Rob McElhenny) have released their first permanent mainstream whiskey. This new release is an Irish American whiskey made with American rye and Irish whiskey (a blend of malt and grain whiskeys). The whiskey is batched in the U.S. and proofed down to a very dive-bar-friendly 80-proof.

Bottom Line:

This has great texture and soft notes that take the thinner Irish whiskey to deeper depths. It’s just … nice. I can see this working wonders in a simple whiskey cocktail or on the rocks for easy everyday sipping.

4. Michter’s Limited Release US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Kentucky Sour Mash Whiskey — Taste 12

Michters Distillery

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $286

The Whiskey:

This release takes Michter’s signature Kentucky Sour Mash — which doesn’t have enough corn or rye to be either bourbon or rye whiskey — and finishes it in toasted barrels. In this case, those barrels are first air-dried for 18 months and then lightly toasted barrel before the whiskey is filled in. Finally, the booze is batched and bottled with a good dose of that Kentucky water.

Bottom Line:

This is where we get into the truly interesting stuff. This has so much going on with a great balance. It works really well neat, but I’d add a little water and time to really find the deeper notes hiding in this one. That’s especially true if you’re an oak head.

3. Whiskey Jypsi Legacy “The Journey” — Taste 4

Whiskey Jypsi
Whiskey Jypsi

ABV: 57.5%

Average Price: $199

The Whiskey:

This new whiskey is from country star Eric Chruch. The whiskey in the bottle is a blend of American whiskeys. 70% is a corn-fueled Indiana bourbon that’s at least eight years old. 21% is a Canadian rye that’s 20 years old. And 9% is an American single malt that’s four years old.

Bottom Line:

This is another that was just really tasty. It’s nuanced and brings deep rye-forward bourbon notes. Drink it however you like to drink your whiskey.

2. Little Book Chapter 07: Retrospect — Taste 10

Little Book Chapter 07
Beam Suntory

ABV: 59.35%

Average Price: $149

The Whiskey:

You know it’s fall whiskey season when Freddie Noe drops a new Little Book. Chapter 7 is a big blend of mostly bourbon and rye barrels with a single malt (finished in applewood smoked barrels) thrown in for good measure. The bourbons in the batch are four to 18 years old while the ryes are four to 10 years old. The final batch is bottled 100% as-is.

Bottom Line:

This was a bold and deep whiskey that’s only off the number one spot for being a heater. It needs a single rock to calm it down and then it’ll explode with beautifully nuanced flavors.

1. J. Rieger & Co. 2023 Monogram Whiskey Kansas City Whiskey Solera Reserve — Taste 8

J. Rieger & Co. 2023 Monogram Whiskey
J. Rieger and Co.

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $124

The Whiskey:

This whiskey is made with Rieger’s classic Kansas City blended whiskey, which is a mix of straight bourbon, straight rye, and light corn whiskey. Once batched, that whiskey is re-barreled into 10 huge Oloroso sherry butts that held 15-year-old Oloroso Especial and were 50 to 100 years old when shipped to Kansas.

Bottom Line:

This was the most enticing and tasty pour of the panel. It just works from top to bottom while providing a familiar yet deep American whiskey profile. I wanted to go back to this one immediately as a slow sipper on a lazy day.

Part 3 — Final Thoughts on the American Whiskeys

Best American Whiskey
Zach Johnston

When purchasing from this blind tasting, the top 5 is really the sweet spot. If you’re looking lighter, try the Four Walls or Whiskey Jypsi. If you’re looking for boldness and warmth, go for the Michter’s or Little Book. If you’re looking for balance and beauty, then Rieger’s Monogram Whiskey is the play.

That all said, there’s not a bad whiskey on the list. Re-read my tasting notes. Maybe something unique and very “you” will jump out. Go for it! Hit that price link and see if you can find it in your neck of the woods. Enjoy!

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