If you love whiskey, you know that experimentation is the name of the game. The combination of mash, yeasts, aging, and blending create literally infinite variations. This also means you’ve got new bottles dropping daily — some good, some bad, some downright ugly.
That’s where I come in. I’m your inside man who gets to try the new stuff early and report back on what’s actually good. And today I’m calling out 15 of the best new whiskeys across all categories. What’s wild is that even with 15 bottles on this list, it’s still only scratching the surface.
This list isn’t about price — this is about taste. These whiskeys are very good. So good, in fact, that I’m not ranking them. They’re all winners in my tasting notebook.
Also Read: The Top 5 UPROXX Bourbon Posts Of The Last Six Months
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Cascade Moon Aged 15 Years Barrel Proof Spirits Distilled From Grain
Average Price: $125 (Limited)
This “spirit distilled from grain” was made with George Dickel’s high-corn mash bill with about eight percent each of rye and malted barley as support. It was barreled in new oak and left to rest in Cascade Hollow’s single-story rickhouse. After 15 years, Head Distiller Nicole Austin decided to bottle these spirits at barrel proof (with no fussing) — even though they’d dipped below the legal ABV standard to be called “whiskey.”
Soft orchard fruits and dry grains draw you in on the nose initially before turning toward a fresh cherry Necco Wafer with a cut of old leather, sour currant, and damp white moss. There’s a faint hint of pine resin buried deep in that nose too. The palate is supple with a silky vanilla base supporting hints of cinnamon apple sauce, a flourish of buttery honey, and whole wheat biscuits with a twinge of buckwheat and maybe some sweetgrass. The mid-palate hits a light marzipan note before fading toward more vanilla, a touch of nutmeg, and almond shells on the very soft finish.
This is a great whiskey that also blows up the idea that “barrel proof” = “high proof” in every whiskey. Those semantics aside, this is delicious, deeply hewn, and worth the hunt, if simply for its uniqueness. The best part is that you won’t need a rock to calm this barrel proof whiskey down — it’s already perfectly dialed.
Hardin’s Creek Jacob’s Well
Average Price: $189
This brand-new expression from Jim Beam is about highlighting the beautiful high-end barrels from Beam’s vast rickhouses. The juice in the bottle is classic low-rye Beam that rested for 16 years and a 15-year-old high-rye bourbon. Once batched, that whiskey goes into the bottle as-is.
The nose draws you in with a rich spice mix of woody cinnamon, soft nutmeg, almost bitter cloves, and dusty allspice with a hint of black licorice leading to a buttery caramel sauce with a flake of salt, twinge of vanilla oil, and whisper of cherry tobacco in an old cedar humidor. The palate builds on that classic foundation with layers of old boot leather, hard sultanas, meaty dates, stewed plums, and rum-soaked Christmas cake with candied orange rinds and cherries. The end soaks the raisins and candied fruit in maple syrup with a hint of sour cherry laced with ancho chili peppers and woody spices.
This is f*cking delicious and classic — everything you could want from a classic bourbon that’s also fresh and modern. While this is a killer neat, add a little water or a rock to really let it bloom.
Brother’s Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey Original Cask Strength
Average Price: $80
The newest release from Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley is an evolution of their brand. The whiskey in the bottle is a blend of three bourbons which create a four-grain bourbon. That blend was then bottled as-is.
This opens with a balance of old leather boots and freshly cracked black pepper next to a hint of walnut shell, vanilla pod, and orange zest. The palate leans into what feels like star fruit as orange marmalade, salted butter, and fresh honey drip over rye bread crusts. The end comes with a good dose of peppery spice and old leather as those walnuts and the orange zest combine with a handful of dried fruit and a dusting of winter spices on the finish.
This is a wonderful evolution from Brother’s Bond’s initial release — which was a perfectly fine small batch bourbon for cocktails primarily. This is a great neat sipper that’s light, fresh, and yet somehow nostalgic. It also makes a great Manhattan.
Nelson Bros. Whiskey Reserve Bourbon
Average Price: $60
This new release from Nelson’s Green Brier is a significant evolution for the brand. This high-rye bourbon is aged for four years before it’s masterfully blended into this expression. It’s then bottled without any fussing or meddling.
The nose on this is pretty classic with clear notes of vanilla and orange zest, winter spices, candied cherry, and apple pie filling with a light grainy edge. The palate holds onto that graininess as dark chocolate and dark cherry lead to a hint of zucchini bread with pecans and a whisper of lemon. The end has a warmth that leans into white pepper and green tea as soft, almost chocolate-roasted grains round out the finish.
This is one of those bottles that disappeared fast from my bar cart. It’s a crowd-pleaser that also offers some serious depth. It’s also a good workhorse — making a hell of an old fashioned while still being a very good neat or on the rocks pour.
F.E.W. Motor Oil Whiskey Finished in Rum and Vermouth Casks
Average Price: $60
This whiskey is a collab between Illinois’ F.E.W. Spirits and rock band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The juice in the bottle is a blend of F.E.W. Bourbon finished in rum barrels, F.E.W. Bourbon finished in vermouth barrels, and a mesquite-smoked wheat whiskey. Those barrels are vatted and proofed down to 101 proof before bottling.
This opens with a clear sense of chocolate malts next to dry reeds and rich spice with a slightly floral edge. Think sassafras by way of whole cinnamon and very subtle hibiscus. The palate starts off with a dry chocolate cookie before layering in vanilla husks, brown sugar, and a faint whisper of fat from a brisket smoker. The end lets the brown sugar and dry spices mingle with a thin line of that fatty smoke rounding things out.
This was a hit from the first sip. It’s well-rounded and nuanced but still hits hard with serious depth. That blend of chocolate malts and smoky fat hit just right in the middle of summer too.
Stellum Bourbon Equinox Blend #1
Average Price: $99
This expression is made from last year’s instant-classic Stellum Bourbon barrels. The ripple here is that the blend of this bourbon was created from specific rare barrels used for Stelllum that were blended until the exact moment of the vernal equinox. That whiskey was then bottled as-is.
Fresh chili peppers greet you with a sense of soft malted grains, old leather gloves, dried sweetgrass, and a flourish of creamy toffee underneath it all. The palate leans into leathery stone fruit with fresh and floral honey, sharp woody cinnamon, burnt orange rinds, and bright clove berries. The end created an orange creamed pudding with a hint of green tea, black dirt, chocolate-covered espresso beans, and old oak staves from a cellar.
This is quickly becoming one of my favorite whiskeys of the year overall. It’s just so freakin’ good from top to bottom. Just make sure to add a drop of water or a rock to really let this one shine in the glass.
Booker’s 2022-02 “The Lumberyard Batch”
Average Price: $200
The second Booker’s release of 2022 is a masterful blend of barrels from seven locations around Jim Beam’s rickhouses. Those barrels are mostly from the seventh floor of those rickhouses, with one coming from the ninth floor. All of them averaged out to this whiskey being seven years, one month, and seven days old before it was batched and bottled as-is.
This opens with a rush of dry nutshells next to old cellar beams, soft old boot leather, salted caramel sauce, sweet black cherries, and dry tobacco leaves and cedar bark braided together. The palate has a creamy and lush vanilla underbelly that supports a hint of chocolate chip cookie next to fresh broom bristles, caramel apple from the state fair, and a whisper of freshly cracked black peppercorn with a dash of dried ancho underneath it all. The end is all about salted peanuts covered in dark yet creamy chocolate with beautiful lush vanilla tobacco chewiness wrapped in that old leather and cedar.
This is another whiskey that’s going to be hard to beat this year — and it’s been an amazing year for bourbon, ryes, and whiskeys in general. Overall, I like the heat of this one neat, but you might need a rock to calm it down a tad and help the deeper flavors express themselves.
Bardstown Discovery Series #9 Blended Whiskey
Average Price: $140
The Bardstown Discovery Series has become one of the most beloved and sought-after blended whiskeys in the game. Their latest edition is a mix of 35 percent eight-year-old Georgia bourbon, 31 percent 12-year-old Kentucky bourbon, 19 percent 17-year-old Tennessee whiskey, and 15 percent 12-year-old corn whiskey from Ontario. Those barrels are shipped to Bardstown where they’re masterfully vatted and bottled as-is.
The nose on this is dense yet inviting with hints of sour apple next to waxy cacao nibs, old boot leather, bruised plums, wet cedar bark braids, soft winter spice, and a hint of wet forest mushroom underneath it all. The palate is ultra lush with creamy vanilla leading things off as layers of cinnamon cake, dry reeds, and a twinge of spicy orange tobacco leaf mingle. The end is pure silk thanks to that vanilla with an accent of chanterelles and stewed plums in a ginger/cinnamon/clove brown sugar syrup base.
This is my favorite Discovery to date. It’s so funky and fresh while still feeling like it’s comforting. It also takes your senses on a journey. When you add a little water, it gets super creamy as the fats move forward and you get this malted spicy orange chocolate vibe that’s just wonderful.
Frank August Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey
Average Price: $70
The first whiskey from Frank August is a sourced bourbon. The juice is made in Kentucky, where it’s also aged. The team at Frank August then takes roughly ten to 15 barrels per batch and builds this bourbon painstakingly to fit their desired flavor profile. The whiskey is then lightly proofed down to 100 proof before bottling.
The nose is pure classic bourbon with hints of salted caramel with a twinge of soft grains next to spicy cherry syrup, a whisper of sour apple, and a touch of aged oak staves soaked in mulled wine. The palate moves on from the soft grains towards rum-soaked raisins with a warm winter spice matrix — cinnamon, ginger, clove, allspice — before a brown sugar/rock candy sweetness takes over on the mid-palate. The finish is long and sweet with a nice dose of sharp cinnamon and soft nutmeg that leads to a supple vanilla cream with a thin line of dry cedar and tobacco spice just touched with dark cherry on the very end.
This is another winner all around. In fact, it just won a gold medal at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans — in case you needed more reason to track it down.
Average Price: $135
2022’s Ardbeg Day release is an outlier for the distillery. The juice is made with a mash of peated Islay barely mixed with a heavily roasted barley in the mix. That dark barley imbues a layer of dark chocolate to the juice that lasts through the aging process.
There’s a hint of wet charcoal next to sour and almost waxy cacao nibs on the nose plus white pepper, grapefruit, and a hint of dried florals. The palate meanders through notes of cigarette ash, anise, savory scones with dark chocolate drops, and cardamon with a small line of Band-Aid and pear sneaking in late. The finish has a note of menthol/chocolate tobacco with a bit of dry asphalt.
A smoky chocolate bomb? Yes, please!
Overall, this is a classic Ardbeg with a fresh POV. If you’re down with (real) smokiness, then this is going to be your jam for the rest of the summer.
Hidden Barn Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Small Batch
Average Price: $75
Former Master Taster for Old Forester Jackie Zykan just left her post at Brown-Forman and her new whiskey is already out. Zykan’s first release at her own shingle is a sourced whiskey from Neeley Family Distillery in rural Kentucky. The bourbon is made from a sweet mash (a brand new mash with every cook instead of reusing mash for a sour mash) with a high-ish rye content over pot stills (a true rarity in bourbon these days). Those barrels aged for four to five years before Zykan picked a handful for this inaugural release at batch proof.
The nose is full of digestive biscuits and whole wheat pancakes cut with vanilla and pecan next to hints of anise, caramel candy, and cinnamon-toast tobacco. The palate holds onto the massive graininess with a clear sense of rye bread crumb next to thick oatmeal cookies with more of those pecans and plenty of raisins and spice. Later, a hint of white pepper arrives and leads the finish to soft espresso cream with a dash of nutmeg and creamy toffee.
This is a great introduction to a brand-new whiskey. The juice feels unique to bourbon and like something truly new.
The Balvenie 16-Year French Oak
Average Price: $199
The Balvenie just added a new release to its core lineup last week. The juice here is a masterful blend from whisky legend David Stewart. After around 15 years of aging, the whisky is transferred to Pineau des Charentes casks (a French fortified wine) for a final maturation, which is The Balvenie’s first foray into French oak finishing. The whisky is then bottled with a touch of water but as-is otherwise.
Red geraniums and fresh honeycomb greet you on the nose with supporting characters of green grass, pear skins, apple cores, a hint of a cinnamon roll with vanilla frosting, and a dash of nutmeg. The palate leans into a lemon curd with a hint of grapefruit pith before layering in floral honey, ginger beer, vanilla-heavy shortbread, oatmeal raisin cookies, and a good dose of orange zest with a pinch of dark chocolate powder mixed in. The end is light and airy with a hint of savory fig next to ginger-infused rock candy dipped in creamy dark chocolate that’s just kissed with cinnamon spice.
This is one of my favorite new Scotch single malts of the year (so far). It’s light and fun while still feeling like a deeply hewn unpeated single malt of the highest degree.
Redbreast Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey Kentucky Oak Edition
Average Price: $289
This new edition to the Redbreast family marries Kentucky and Ireland in the barrel. The juice starts off as classic Redbreast aged in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. Those barrels are vatted and then re-barreled into air-dried new American oak barrels made from trees from the Taylor family’s Elk Cave Farm in Kentucky (which is renowned for its oak orchards). After around seven months of finishing in that barrel, the whiskey is vatted, slightly proofed, and bottled without fussing.
The nose is full of fresh, almost wet cedar bark next to moist marzipan cut with orange oils and covered in dark chocolate with sour and candied cherries in the background. The palate starts off buttery and sweet with a rich toffee leading to brandy-soaked sour cherries dipped in creamy dark chocolate next to rushes of woody cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and clove berries with a hint of anise and maybe some cherry root beer. The vanilla is rich and smooths the finish into a lush sip, leaning into Calvados-laced marzipan next to spiced dark chocolate tobacco leaves stuffed into a cedar box with a hint of old leather jackets and dried wicker lurking in the background.
This is just spectacularly good. It’s so soft and nuanced while still hitting on great Irish and Kentucky whiskey notes. It’s also one of the easiest drinking whiskeys on this list that offers the most rewards in the flavor department.
Barrell Craft Spirits Gray Label Dovetail
Average Price: $249
The evolution of the already beloved Dovetail from Barrell Craft Spirits is an instant classic. The juice is a blend of rare barrels from Indiana, Tennessee, and Canada with ages reaching above 20 years old. Those whiskeys are then finished in a combination of rum, port, and Dunn Vineyards cabernet barrels before batching and bottling in Louisville, Kentucky at cask strength and with zero tweaks.
The nose on this is wild — in the best possible way — with hints of fresh leather next to bright habanero peppers, grape must, green apple skins, pear candy, tart red berries, woody Christmas spices, orange oils, vanilla oils, and salted peanut and caramel ice cream. The palate is bold with strawberry rhubarb pie in a lard crust leading to poppy seed cake with plenty of vanilla and lemon next to a hint of savory herbs (fennel and caraway come to mind) and savory melon. The end mixes almost burnt black tea with jasmine and very bright honey with a twinge of sweet black licorice and a whisper of miso and pipe tobacco smoke laced with dark orange chocolate.
This is a wild ride! It’s so deep and engaging. You just want to keep nosing and tasting and adding water and air to see what comes out of that flavor profile next. This is a phenom to its core.
Michter’s Single Barrel 10-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Average Price: $400
This year’s only Michter’s 10-Year release is an instant classic. The whiskey is made from a corn-rich rye whiskey mash bill with a good dose of barley in there. The absolute best barrels are chosen — with some up to 15 years old — for this release. Then each of those barrels is individually bottled as-is with a hint of proofing water.
Rich and lush toffee combine with soft marzipan on the nose as a dash of freshly cracked black pepper leads to cinnamon-laced apple cider and cherry-soaked cedar bark. The palate is part Red Hot and part zesty orange marmalade with creamy vanilla pudding, sweet and spicy dried chili peppers with a hint of smoke and woodiness, and this fleeting whisper of celery salt. The end dries out the almond with a vanilla cream tobacco, soft and sweet cedar, and dark chocolate orange vibe all balanced to damn near perfection.
This is one of the best whiskeys of the year (all of these whiskeys on this list are, so far). Poured over a single rock, this is divine. That said, I’m looking forward to mixing this into a Manhattan very soon. This whiskey makes the best (I’ll die on this hill) Manhattan there is.