The Single Best Bottle Of Whiskey From Each Of The 50 States

Whiskey’s massive growth seems to be continuing unabated. American single malt is finally an official category, new bourbon and rye whiskeys are hitting shelves at breakneck speeds, and small-time/crafty distilleries are popping up in every corner of the country. That means it’s high time to call out our absolute favorite whiskeys from each of the 50 states in this union of ours.

There are a few parameters I need to get out of the way before we dive in.

  • This is a list of regional whiskeys. So don’t expect to find these nationally. Availability will likely be limited to one or a few states with a couple of exceptions here and there.
  • Price wasn’t really an issue for these, but I did keep this fairly “average” priced between $20 and $150. I did however add one or two wildly expensive bottles (because I think they’re worth at least trying as a pour in a bar).
  • These bottles aren’t ranked. Some of them are better than others though. Let’s face it, Hawai’i, New Hampshire, Nebraska, and a handful of other states simply don’t have the massive whiskey industry as, say, Tennessee, Indiana, or freakin’ Kentucky, folks. So look at my tasting notes to see what speaks to you in your neck of the woods.
  • The whiskey landscape of the U.S. is ever-changing, evolving, and expanding. Shout out your favorite local bottles in the comments!

Overall, this is an exciting list of great whiskeys from across all categories here in the U.S. There are some serious ryes, bourbons, and American single malts below. The best way to use this list is to travel with it. Seek out those Starlight pours in Indiana, track down Cowboy Bourbon in Texas, and pour some Grand Teton in Idaho.

In the end, this is America — a big, complicated, mixed-up nation — in 50 bottles of whiskey. Ready to dive in?

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

Alabama — Dettling Single Barrel Cask Strength

Dettling Single Barrel
Dettling

ABV: 55.4% (Varies)

Average Price: $79

The Whiskey:

This Alabama whiskey is all about that grain-to-glass experience. What really stands out, though, is that this whiskey aged for four years. The whiskey takes on a dark hew thanks to it being stored at the top of the rickhouse and in hot and balmy Alabama. The results are bottled from a single one of those barrels without any cutting or fussing.

Tasting Notes:

The nose on this one starts with cornbread that’s been baked in lard in a cast-iron skillet with an almost burnt crust, plenty of salted butter, and a dollop of honey that’s been cut with orange oils. The palate takes that cornbread, crumbles it up, and mixes in fresh cracked Tellicherry black peppercorns, dried roses, a touch of cedar, and a mild echo of orange-laced tobacco leaves. Finally, the sip layers in a wintry spice combo that leans toward cinnamon sticks soaked in mulled wine and apple cider that leads towards a soft finish with a dried mint that’s… almost menthol tobacco.

Bottom Line:

This was one of my favorite pours of 2021. There’s some serious depth here that really plays well with a little water or a rock or two.

Alaska — Port Chilkoot Wrack Line Rye

Port Chilkoot Distillery

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $40

The Whiskey:

This 70-percent Alaskan rye focuses on organic grains, double distilling, and aging for three years in newly charred American oak. Those barrels expand and contract during warm summers and severe Alaskan winters before batching, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a brightness to the spice on the nose, kind of like peaches stewed in cinnamon and nutmeg with plenty of syrup. The palate is light yet full of floral notes, oaky vanilla, and peppery rye spices. That line of stonefruit sweetness comes in late which leads to a spicy warm finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a good standard rye. I’d use it more for mixing Manhattans or old fashioneds than as a sipper though.

Arizona — Del Bac Dorado American Single Malt

Del Bac
Del Bac

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $60

The Whiskey:

Del Bac Dorado is Arizona peated, so to speak. The local barley is malted with mesquite wood as a heat source (instead of peat). Those malts are then mashed, fermented, and distilled. After a few years of resting in oak, the barrels are batched, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is full of chocolate tobacco with a hint of dried ancho chili, old cedar bark, and whispers of a crackling campfire in the high desert. The palate has a mild tannic vibe with a dash of espresso bean and vanilla next to soft toffee with a hint of an almond shell. The end leans into that campfire smoke with a dash more of that chili pepper before the cedar and choco-tobacco merge on the finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a unique “smoky” whisky that really feels like where it’s from. This is also really good in an old fashioned (and really wakes up with a little water or ice).

Arkansas — Rock Town Single Barrel Cask Strength Arkansas Bourbon Whiskey

Rock Town
Rock Town

ABV: Varies

Average Price: $72

The Whiskey:

Rock Town is all about using Arkansas ingredients to make Arkansas whiskey. The mash is made with local corn and wheat that’s grown right outside of Little Rock. Every step of the process happens on site from the milling of the grains to the aging of the juice. After four years, barrels are hand-selected for single barrel processing and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a hint of minerality on the nose next to fresh honey, dark cherries, peaches, pie crust, and a touch of maple syrup. The palate has a sense of tangerine next to bran muffins with a whisper of green grass and vanilla wafers. The end is a little tinny with soft toffee and mild spiciness.

Bottom Line:

This has some serious potential. The minerality can be covered up in a good cocktail or by adding a little ice to let the deeper flavors bloom.

California — Redwood Empire Whiskey Grizzly Beast Bottled in Bond Batch #002

Grizzly Beast Bourbon
Grizzly Beast

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $79

The Whiskey:

The latest batch of Redwood Empire’s Grizzly Beast is a four-grain bourbon. The California whiskey was made with 69 percent corn 22 percent rye, five percent malted barley, and a mere four percent wheat. After five years of maturation, 26 barrels were picked for this batch. Those barrels were vatted and the juice was just kissed with pure water from a local Russian River Valley aquifer.

Tasting Notes:

Cherry pie with plenty of winter spice leads off on the nose with buttery brown sugar, tart red berries, and walnut shells. The palate opens with burnt orange, salted caramel, and more of those tart berries swimming in rich vanilla cream before a hint of spicy warmth arrives. The end leans into brown sugar and winter spice-laced butter with walnut tobacco leaves wrapped in vanilla husks and cedar bark.

Bottom Line:

This is a very good whiskey and worth seeking out, even if you’re not in California.

Colorado — Leopold Bros. Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon

Leopold Bros. Bourbon
Leopold Bros.

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $60

The Whiskey:

This Colorado crafty whiskey gets a lot of attention from bourbon drinkers in the know. The mash is made from 64 percent corn, 21 percent malted barley, and 15 percent Abruzzi Heritage Rye that Master Distiller Todd Leopold malted at his malting house at the distillery in Denver. That mash ran through a classic pot still before it was barreled and left to rest for five years.

Tasting Notes:

The floral and spicy nature of that Abruzzi rye really comes out on the nose with a touch of candied apples, Quick chocolate milk powder, and the faintest hint of sourdough rye with a light smear of salted butter. The taste leans into stewed pears with nutmeg and clove spices leading the way as Almond Roca and green peppercorns jostle for space on your palate. The end mellows out as that spice fades towards an eggnog vibe with a creamy vanilla underbelly and a final touch of that floral rye and hint of pear.

Bottom Line:

This is a very solid crafty. It’s deeply flavored but not uninviting by any stretch. Mostly, this just works both neat or in a cocktail.

Connecticut — Litchfield Distillery 5-Year Double-Barreled Bourbon Whiskey

Litchfield Double Barrel Bourbon
Litchfield

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $60

The Whiskey:

Litchfield is one of those local craft distilleries that do a little bit of everything. Their Double-Barreled 5-year-old is a highwater mark of the operation. The juice is made from locally grown Connecticut grains. That whiskey is then aged for a few years. Finally, it’s proofed with local water and re-barreled to add an extra layer of woody depth to the bourbon.

Tasting Notes:

The sip starts with an almost vinous note that goes into sweet caramel and spice. There’s a clear vanilla essence through the woody oak. The aged-grape flavors come in again with a slight sweetness before a warm, woody, and spicy finale.

Bottom Line:

This is a classic and easy-drinking whiskey. It’s definitely worth ordering a pour if you’re in, say, New Haven and looking for something local.

Delaware — Dogfish Head Let’s Get Lost American Single Malt Whiskey

Dogfish Head

ABV: 51%

Average Price: $63

The Whiskey:

All whiskey starts off as beer so it makes a lot of sense when brewers start distilling. Industry darling, Dogfish Head, did just that with this expression. The base is 100 percent barley with a mix of Pale Malt, Crystal Malt, Coffee Kiln Malt, and applewood smoke Malt. That mash is fermented with Dogfish Head’s own ale yeast before distillation, aging, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Orange and honey mingle with a salted nuttiness next to vanilla pudding and a touch of dry cherry tobacco. The palate has a touch of that fruity yeast next to a slight chili-choco vibe that leads back to the tobacco with a cinnamon Red Hot edge. The finish really leans into the dryness of the chili-chocolate’s bitter end — to the point of conjuring an espresso bean next to a touch of smoked cedar.

Bottom Line:

This is a very solid American Single Malt. There’s a nice depth. I’d usually pour this over some rocks and enjoy it slowly after an IPA.

Florida — St. Augustine Port Finished Bourbon

St. Augustine Distillery

ABV: 51%

Average Price: $80

The Whiskey:

This Floridian bourbon rests for three years in American oak first, giving it a classic base, before it goes into port casks from San Sebastian for six solid months. Those barrels are then batched and proofed before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

The woodiness that leads this one feels more like a cedar than an oak. Corn comes into play, along with a sweet dried fruit meatiness a la port wine. Vanilla and hints of mint show up and are later washed out by oak, bitterness, and a whisper of ripe red berries.

Bottom Line:

This is a nice and very straightforward whiskey. It makes a mean cocktail and works on the rocks as a sipper in a pinch.

Georgia — Moonrise Distillers Select Rye Whiskey

Moonrise Rye
Moonrise Distillery

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $48

The Whiskey:

This Georgia whiskey is relatively new on the scene. The mash is a four-grain whiskey built around local rye. After a couple of years of mellowing under the hot and humid Georgia summer (and spring and falls), this whiskey is small batched, proofed, and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Sweet and salted caramel lead on the nose with a hint of sourdough rye bread crust, sour butter, mild winter spices, and a hint of green herbs. The palate leans into the sharpness of the brown spices while toffee and walnut lead to a hint of red peppercorns and maybe a little dark chocolate. The end is slightly woody with a sense of cinnamon bark and pine tar next to apple cores.

Bottom Line:

This is a pretty solid sip overall. I wouldn’t go out of my way to track it down but would be more than happy to enjoy a pour or cocktail made with it the next time I’m in Georgia.

Hawai’i — Ko’olau Old Pali Road Whisky

Ko

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $75

The Whisky:

Ko’olau’s Old Pali Road is a special whiskey. The spirit is made from local Hawaiian-grown corn and mineral water straight from a volcanic spring. Then the booze is aged for a short spell before being blended with five-year-old mainland whiskey to create a balanced elixir.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sense of banana fruit and dried plums upfront. That’s then cut by oaky vanilla and mild warming spice on the back end. That being said, this whiskey feels young and fruity with a wet green depth.

Bottom Line:

This is among the weaker whiskeys on the list. It’s not undrinkable. It’s just very young and crafty and works only as a mixer at the end of the day.

Idaho — Grand Teton Private Stock Straight Corn Whiskey

Grand Teton Private Stock
Grand Teton

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $80

The Whisky:

This high-altitude whiskey is made with 100 percent Idaho-grown corn. That corn is mashed with pure Rocky mountain water, which is also used to proof the juice before bottling. But first, the whiskey spends 6.5 years resting in oak before single barrels are picked for a bottling run.

Tasting Notes:

Maple syrup and clove-studded oranges lead on the nose with rum-raisin, mild sour butter, and a hint of old cellar beams. The palate is lush with a warm sense of mulled wine spices and sour cherry next to cinnamon buttered toast and soft yet sweet corn muffins. The end has a smooth vanilla base with a hint of date and black tea next to buttery cornmeal with a hint of brown sugar.

Bottom Line:

This is a pretty damn good corn whiskey. It’s great with a single rock or a few drops of water to really let it bloom in the glass.

Illinois — FEW Bottled in Bond Bourbon

FEW Bottled-in-Bond
FEW Spirits

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $55

The Whiskey:

This expression from Illinois’ FEW Spirits marks the 125th anniversary of the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. The juice is made from 70 percent corn, 20 percent rye, and ten percent malted barley. That whiskey spends four years resting before it’s proofed down to 100 proof and bottled as-is.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with a sense of vanilla cream pie with an extra thick vanilla pudding next to dry cedar bark with a touch of white moss, a touch of black licorice, and a hint of barrel smoke. The palate leans into cherry bark with a light cherry tobacco spiciness that melds with the vanilla pudding, a pan of fresh sticky buns with plenty of cinnamon and walnuts, and a hint of black pepper and more of that dry cedar bark. The finish has a bit of an oatmeal cookie vibe that leads back to the spicy cherry tobacco and white moss.

Bottom Line:

This is a very solid pour that’s getting easier to find outside of the Midwest. It also makes a hell of a cocktail base.

Indiana — Starlight Distillery Single Barrel Huber’s Old Rickhouse Rye Whiskey Finished in Tokaji Barrels

Starlight Rye Tokaji Cask
Zach Johnston

ABV: 51.5%

Average Price: $55

The Whiskey:

This Indiana rye from Huber Winery’s Starlight Distillery is an instant classic. The juice is made from Starlight’s 85 percent and 15 percent malted barley rye mash. It’s then aged for at least four years before moving into a Hungarian Tokaji barrel for a final rest. The whiskey is then picked one barrel at a time and just proofed before single-barrel bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Old wicker canes and cardamon pods lead to nutmeg, golden sultanas, date skins and pits, and a whisper of fresh red chili on the nose. The palate lays down a lush vanilla foundation and builds layers of soft winter spices, quince jelly, allspice berries, and apricot skins with a whisper of dry cedar bark and waxy cacao nibs. The end lets the vanilla soften everything toward soft and lush raisins with a hint of nutshell and stonefruit in the background of the silken finish.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the best whiskeys of 2022. If you’re anywhere near Indiana (or the Ohio River Valley), track some of this down.

Iowa — Cedar Ridge The Quintessential American Single Malt

Cedar Ridge The Quintessential
Cedar Ridge

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $55

The Whiskey:

This whiskey is all about a grain-to-glass experience. The juice is made with 100 percent 2-Row Pale Malted Barley (the same stuff used in some of the biggest craft beers) from up in Saskatchewan. The whiskey is matured in ex-bourbon barrels for an undisclosed term. That whiskey is then finished in a combination of brandy, rum, wine, port, and sherry barrels before it’s vatted. The whiskey’s blend is then made using the solera method — where the vat is never fully emptied before the next barrel is added.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is immediately full of bright fruit with a peach and pear vibe that leans into a malty banana bread with plenty of butter, cinnamon, and walnut next to a touch of Almond Joy (but the good ones from a high-end shop). The palate is soft and subtle with hints of spiced malted gingersnaps, light cream soda vibes (maybe a light sasparilla), and a mellow and creamy base of chocolate that’s not dark but not milky either. The mid-palate has a nice sweetness that’s slightly apple adjacent with an apricot hint that mellows into a final note of chewy toffees with rum-raisin lurking on the very backend.

Bottom Line:

This is a killer American single malt pour. These are the releases that should get you excited about the category as it expands.

Kansas — Union Horse Distilling Rolling Standard Midwestern Four Grain Whiskey

Union Horse

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $40

The Whiskey:

This Kansas whiskey is a uniquely American whiskey expression all around. The bottle marries two American whiskey styles with four separate grains involved. It’s part American wheated bourbon and part American single malt. Locally sourced corn, wheat, rye, and barley are utilized in the mash. Then the booze is mellowed in used oak barrels from Missouri until it’s just right.

Tasting Notes:

The grain-to-glass whiskey opens with classic notes of oaky vanilla, banana, cloves, and mild pepperiness. On the palate, a maple syrup earthy sweetness cuts through along with a roasted almond fatty nature. Dark pitted cherries come into play right before the rye kicks in with a hint of cinnamon on the mildly spicy finish.

Bottom Line:

This is good, standard American whiskey. It’s not life-changing but it makes a great cocktail. Sometimes that’s enough.

Kentucky — Michter’s 20-Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Michters Distillery

ABV: 57.1%

Average Price: $8,970

The Whiskey:

Master Distiller Dan McKee personally selects these 20-year-old (at least) barrels from their rickhouses based on, well, excellence. The juice is bottled at just under cask strength after Michter’s bespoke cold filtration process.

Tasting Notes:

Imagine dark and sweet cherries smothered in rummy molasses with a touch of dried roses, nuts, and cedar all leading towards the soft — almost wet — tobacco leaf. That’s just the nose. The palate doesn’t veer too far from those notes but adds in a touch of burnt ends from vanilla pods with a light spice that leans more towards that tobacco than woody brown spices. The finish really embraces the cherry but more towards the stem and seed as the nuttiness leans marzipan and the tobacco takes on an ever-so-slight chewiness.

Bottom Line:

If this list was ranked, this would be number one.

Louisiana — LA1 Louisiana Bourbon

DPD Spirits

ABV: 47%

Average Price: $62

The Whiskey:

Donner-Peltier Distillers out in Thibodaux has been distilling and aging an award-winning whiskey for years now. The spirit is a unique one that incorporates locally grown rice into the mash bill alongside the classic ingredients of corn, rye, and barley.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sweetness from the rice that accents the corn. A funky rye note comes in with an almost pumpernickel essence, followed up by a sugary sweet note. Notes of oaky vanilla sit next to buttery toasted rye bread and hints of deeply roasted cacao nibs. The finish is bold and brings the peppery rye spice to tie it all together.

Bottom Line:

This is an easy-going pour that works as well on the rocks as it does in a Sazerac (well, maybe a little better in that Sazerac).

Maine — Fifty Stone Single Malt Whiskey

Fifty Stone

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $50

The Whiskey:

This is a Scottish-style single malt made in Portland, Maine. The distillers take 100-percent locally grown barley and malt it with locally sourced peat and seaweed. This imbues a clear and unique smokiness you won’t find in any other single malt.

Tasting Notes:

This one opens up with a clear sense of the barley via a warm scone covered in salty butter and honey. Then the smoke comes into play next. It’s subtle. There’s a briny nature like you’re about to enjoy a crab boil off a campfire right on the beach. You sense the sea spray through the smokiness. The honey and salty butter come back into play as the smoke leads to a soft finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a great pull if you’re looking for something very unique. That maritime vibe runs deep and gives this unique feel.

Maryland — Sagamore Spirit Rye Bottled In Bond

Sagamore Spirit Bottled in Bond rye
Sagamore Spirit

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $70

The Whiskey:

This whiskey is Sagamore Spirit’s first release made fully with their own juice, distilled in Baltimore, Maryland. The whiskey is a blend of their two mash bills, one of which is very high rye and the other is a lower rye mash. The whiskey aged for about four years in their nearby rickhouse until just right. Finally, the juice was batched and just proofed down before bottling.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with a sense of sourdough apple fritters dipped in cinnamon with a hint of rye bread crust, stewed plums, and sharp rye spices (think red peppers and a touch of cumin), The palate opens with a soft vanilla base supported by salted caramel next to with a sense of cinnamon-spiced apple cider layered with rum-raisin, tobacco leaf, and old wicker. The end leans into the chili pepper rye with a note of cinnamon bark and apple core with a light whisper of old leather and cedar bark.

Bottom Line:

This is a great entry into the wider world of Sagamore Spirit’s great rye catalog. It’s also a great look into what’s coming in the near future form the distillery.

Massachusetts — The Notch Nantucket Single Malt Whisky Aged 15 Years

Triple Eight Distillery

ABV: 48%

Average Price: $569

The Whiskey:

The Notch is continually named the “best” American single malt in the world, including at 2020’s World Whisky Awards. Like many of the single malts on this list, this hinges on the quality of the beer brewed as the base. They use the much-coveted Maris Otter barley that’s processed on-site at the brewery before being sent to the distillery to start this whisky. The hot juice is then barreled and stored next to the sea. This expression is a blend of whiskies aged in former sherry barrels, Cognac barrels, wine casks, and sauternes barrels (a sweet French wine).

Tasting Notes:

The oak comes through up top and is supported by dried red berries, dried tobacco, worn leather, creamed vanilla, and a hint of dark spice. The sip leans into aged notes and oak as the spice wanes and a musty nature takes over with an old hay edge. The warmth of the dram is drawn back and edges more into the peppery spice as the fruit and tobacco help the sip fade slowly away.

Bottom Line:

This is going to be hard to come by. That said, this is worth the effort. It actually does live up to the hype.

Michigan — Traverse City Bourbon Barrel Proof Single Barrel

Traverse City Whiskey

ABV: 59%

Average Price: $87

The Whiskey:

This Michigan whiskey is made to highlight a true grain-to-glass experience. The juice is made from a mash of 71 percent corn, 25 percent rye, and four percent barley. It’s aged for four years in the extreme weather of the Great Lakes. Barrels are then hand-picked and bottled with no fussing.

Tasting Notes:

The milled corn comes through with a touch of orange zest, vanilla, toffee, and lemon jam. The taste amps up the toffee with a caramel kettle corn vibe next to hints of cedar and orchard fruit. The end is long and very clearly all about the velvety vanilla and toffee sweetness with a slight alcohol warmth, thanks to a touch of spice and citrus.

Bottom Line:

These single-barrel picks are always fun and fresh.

Minnesota — Tattersall Minnesota Wheat Whiskey

Tattersall Distilling

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $46

The Whiskey:

This whiskey is made from 100 percent locally grown Minnesota wheat, which adds a nice depth of local flavor. That wheat is then fermented with a fruity yeast strain before distilling. The juice is then cold aged in those Minnesota winters before batching, proofing, and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Hints of berries and bananas lead towards a caramel spice undercut with vanilla. There’s an echo of rye spice in the background here that helps lead to a big finish with more fruit and a warm alcohol buzz.

Bottom Line:

This is a decent whiskey that’s really best used for cocktails.

Mississippi — Cathead Old Soul Bourbon Whiskey

Cathead Distillery

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $45

The Whiskey:

This is a blend of two bourbons. The base is a five-year-old, high-rye mash bill bourbon from MGP. That juice is cut with a four-year-old bourbon distilled in Mississippi that also has a high-rye mash bill. Once batched, the juice is proofed with local water and bottled.

Tasting Notes:

Caramel and vanilla greet you in classic bourbon form. Then the sip veers into an old library with a pall of tobacco smoke and the lingering presence of old leather. Ripe cherries take you in another direction before the caramel sweetness returns and the rye spice to finish things off.

Bottom Line:

This is a nice, classic pour of whiskey. It’s simple and easy, which is nice sometimes.

Missouri — Still 360 Missouri Straight Bourbon Whiskey Single Barrel

Still 360
Still 360

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $45

The Whiskey:

“Missouri” Straight Bourbon has to be made with corn grown in Missouri only while also being fermented, distilled, aged, and bottled in the state. The juice from Still 360 has a pretty standard mash of corn, rye, and barley. In this case, the barrels are five years old before they go into the bottle only slightly cut with local water.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is like opening a can of creamed corn that leads towards a vanilla husk, cherry tobacco, and a note of egg nog spice. Those cherries carry through to the palate with a sense of brandy-soaked cherries dipped in dark chocolate next to a spicy tobacco leaf and a touch of butterscotch hard candy. The tobacco leaf drives the dry-yet-warming finish.

Bottom Line:

This is one I’d certainly seek out if I was in Missouri. Overall, I think I’d use this more for highballs or cocktails than a sipper though.

Montana — Glacier Distilling North Fork Rye Whiskey

Glacier Distilling

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $38

The Whiskey:

North Fork Rye won gold at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, which helped put it on the map. The whiskey uses a mellow mash of rye and corn, charred American white oak aging, and local water for proofing to create a wonderfully balanced and easily drinkable sip.

Tasting Notes:

The sweetness from the corn meets you upfront. There’s a clear sense of oaky vanilla and mild caramel that’s cut by a mellow rye peppery nature. Hints of orchard fruits and whispers of the corn marry that rye spice to propel the dram towards a well-balanced finish.

Bottom Line:

This is basic stuff that gets the job done. There are no bells or whistles but it doesn’t need them. Just enjoy this for the simple and tasty whiskey that it is.

Nebraska — Cooper’s Chase Bourbon

Cooper

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $25

The Whiskey:

This is one of the few craft bourbons coming out of Nebraska these days. The juice is a bit of a sphinx though, the distiller doesn’t publish the mash bill or aging process besides that it’s all done in-house in Nebraska.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a classic mix of vanilla, caramel, and spicy on the nose with a slight oaky edge. The palate delivers on that while adding in apple cores, cinnamon tobacco, and a touch of buttery toffee. The end is short and sweet with a slight mineral water vibe cutting through the warmer end of the sip.

Bottom Line:

This is pretty standard stuff.

Nevada — Frey Ranch Small Batch Bourbon Batch #5

Frey Ranch Bourbon
Frey Ranch

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $55

The Whiskey:

Frey Ranch is all about the farm behind the whiskey. In this case, that’s a 165+-year-old farm in the Sierra Nevada basin near Lake Tahoe. The grains (corn, wheat, rye, and barley), fermentation, distilling, aging, and bottling all happen on-site at Frey Ranch.

Tasting Notes:

Fruity cherry gummies mingle with raw sourdough bread dough, vanilla beans, dry firewood, and burnt brown sugars on the nose. The taste has a very crafty corn chip vibe that leads to tart cranberry, more of that vanilla, and a cinnamon-spiced oatmeal raisin cookie. This all coalesces on the finish with the spice, oats, tart red fruit, and vanilla playing second fiddle to the dry firewood and slightly spiced tobacco end.

Bottom Line:

These releases just keep getting better and better with more refinement coming into play.

New Hampshire — Tamworth The Old Man of the Mountain Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon

Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $70

The Whiskey:

This New England bourbon is all about grain-to-glass — with a mash bill of 82.4 percent organic yellow corn, eleven percent organic rye, and 6.6 percent malted barley. The juice is then aged for five years in medium-charred Kentucky barrels before it’s bottled according to bottled-in-bond regulations.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is all about that rich Christmas cake brimming with candied and dried fruits, dark spices, and nuts soaked in brandy topped with a dollop of vanilla-infused brandy butter. The palate delivers on those promises of the nose while adding hints of dark chocolate-covered cherries, cedar, spicy tobacco, and a hint of Tellicherry black peppercorns. That dry spiciness drives the finish to an end that’s warm yet sweet with that cherry.

Bottom Line:

This is very nice, almost surprisingly so. It’s an unexpectedly deeply hewn whiskey with an approachable flavor profile that really benefits from a bit of water to open it up.

New Jersey — All Points West Malt and Grain Pot Still Whiskey

All Points West Distillery

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $64

The Whiskey:

This New Jersy whiskey leans into Irish whiskey traditions with a lower corn mash bill. The whiskey is fermented in a pot still with German and Irish malts alongside corn and water from New Jersey’s mountains. The juice is then aged for 24 months before proofing and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

Cedar and cherries mingle with vanilla and toffee on the nose with a very distant whisper of campfire smoke. Cherry blossoms, honey, cedar, and spicy tobacco lead the palate with a hint of dried roses and a touch of cream soda. The finish is longish with a sense of spice, fruit, and flowers lingering the longest.

Bottom Line:

This is a good, standard whiskey. It’s easy-going and easy drinking.

New Mexico — Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey

Santa Fe Spirits

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $53

The Whiskey:

Colkegan is a combination of the Scottish Highlands and New Mexico’s ingredients. Instead of smoking their barley malts with peat, Santa Fe Spirits uses local mesquite logs in the kilning process, giving the base of this whiskey a clear New Mexico vibe. The juice is then aged at 7,000 feet above sea level in a climate-controlled warehouse that drops the temperatures to near freezing before amping them up extremely high while also lowering and heightening the humidity in the room.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a subtle balance of brisk desert smoke next to olive brine umami. Then hints of rich and sweet marzipan arrive with white chocolate fattiness and whispers of vanilla blossoms. The smoke carries through with a sense of dark, tart berries and rhubarb, and dry mesquite wood. That berry fruit feel carries on into the mellow finish as the smoke dissipates.

Bottom Line:

This is another great example of that high desert smokiness in whiskey. Just make sure to add a little water or a rock to let it bloom in the glass.

New York — Eaves Blind Kings County Bourbon Barrel Strength

Bourbon & Beyond Bottles
Eaves Blind

ABV: 63.5%

Average Price: $150

The Whiskey:

Marianne Eaves — who came up as the Master Blender at Brown-Forman and Master Distiller at Castle & Key — released a full line of bourbons from outside of Kentucky this year. This one is from Kings County in Brooklyn, New York, and highlights Eaves’ master blender status. The juice is Kings’ four-year-old bourbon that Eaves blended to create a barrel-proof expression.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a nice balance of red fruit on the nose with woody pomegranate, burnt orange, sour cherry, and maybe some blackberry jam next to mild winter spices, light cedar, and a hint of dark and old leather. The palate leans into brown sugar and maple syrup with a hint of cinnamon butter, walnut, and raisin before a warming and sharp cinnamon and dried red chili pepper peek in. The end leans back toward the dark red fruit with a hint of cedar and cinnamon bark layered over dry tobacco.

Bottom Line:

This is a stellar one-off. Seriously, there’s some real depth that sings when you take your time nosing and sipping with a little water.

North Carolina — Southern Star Paragon Cask Strength Single Barrel Wheated Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Southern Star Paragon
Southern Star

ABV: 58%

Average Price: $104

The Whiskey:

This North Carolina bourbon is starting to make some serious waves. This very limited batch of single barrel bourbon is made from wheated bourbon mash bill with 70 percent corn, 16 percent wheat, and 14 percent malted barley. The juice was left for around four years before the barrel was hand-pocked and bottled as-is at cask strength.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with a sense of orange blossoms and apple orchard with a hint of pear and plum next to walnut shells, old honey bottles, and rich vanilla sauce with a hint of poppy seed. The palate has a touch of dark chocolate powder sweetness that melds with walnuts and honey to make a cluster before the brown spice kicks in with sharp cinnamon and a touch of root beer. The end leaves the spice and warmth behind for smooth vanilla walnut cake with a hint of apple-honey tobacco wrapped up with old cedar bark.

Bottom Line:

This was freakin’ delicious. If you can get your hand on a bottle, buy two.

North Dakota — Proof Glen Fargo American Malt Whiskey

Proof Distillers

ABV: 47%

Average Price: $180

The Whiskey:

This American Single Malt from North Dakota is all about double barreling. The local juice is first aged in new American white oak. Then, that juice is moved into an ex-bourbon barrel for a finishing maturation.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a clear sense of that bourbon barrel with notes of rich vanilla pudding next to mild spice and a green sense of malts. The palate follows that lead while adding in apples, pears, and a touch of honey sweetness. The end is long with a touch of oak and vanilla with a grassy finish.

Bottom Line:

This is a nice example of American single malt whiskey.

Ohio — Middle West Straight Wheated Whiskey Michelone Reserve

Middle West
Middle West

ABV: 62.1%

Average Price: $47

The Whiskey:

This Ohio whiskey is all about grain-to-glass. The juice is made from a mash of sweet yellow corn, soft red winter wheat, dark pumpernickel rye, and Two-Row malted barley. The whiskey spends about four years in oak before it’s bottled as-is at cask strength.

Tasting Notes:

A hint of sourdough doughnuts dusted with cinnamon and sugar leads to maple syrup, coconut cream pie, marzipan, and a hint of toffee. The palate dries out toward an almond nutshell before hitting a rum-raisin/Cherry Coke vibe next to woody winter spices on the mid-palate. That spicy warmth fades toward cedar bark, Almond Joy, and spiced cherry tobacco on the finish with a hint more of that warm doughnut from the nose.

Bottom Line:

This has serious depth, but you’ll want a rock or a little water to calm down those ABVs and let it bloom.

Oklahoma — Red Fork Reverence Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Red Fork Distillery

ABV: 45%

Average Price: $40

The Whiskey:

Oklahoma isn’t exactly a bastion of whiskey. Red Fork Reverence is a hand-crafted bourbon from a tiny local distiller in Tulsa. Beyond that, not much is known about this whiskey.

Tasting Notes:

This is very broadly bourbon from the nose to the end with caramel apples, Red Hots, and vanilla extract driving the nose and the palate. The finish is short, a little yeasty and raw, and slightly warm.

Bottom Line:

This is solid but very standard craft whiskey.

Oregon — McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey Aged 6 Years

McCarthy's 6 Year
McCarthys Single Malt

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $99

The Whiskey:

This whiskey is a marriage of Scotland and Oregon in the bottle. The mash is made from 100 percent peat-malted barley from Scotland that’s fermented by Widmer Brothers Brewing and then distilled at Clear Creek Distilling on their Holstein pot still. That spirit then spends six years resting in air-dried Oregon oak before proofing and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

The whiskey opens with a wet brown sugar that leads to a sticky toffee pudding with black-tea-soaked dates, plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg, toffee sauce just touched with dark rum, and candied cherries on top. That candied vibe carries through on the palate with red cotton candy, rock candy sticks, and Red Hots on the mid-palate. The finish veers away from all of that with a mix of woody winter spices, old leather, and cinnamon/cherry tobacco with a very dry edge over a hint of cedar.

Bottom Line:

This is another one that just rules. The whiskey is so damn good and well-made. This is definitely a bottle (or pour) worth tracking down.

Pennsylvania — Wigle Pennsylvania Straight Bourbon

Wigle Whiskey Distillery

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $55

The Whiskey:

Wigle makes an organic Straight Bourbon in Pittsburgh that really nails the region’s whiskey history. The local distillery uses a mash bill of winter wheat, malted barley, and Wapsie Valley corn. The Iowa corn is distinctive and said to be some of the best corn out there for making bourbon. The grains are brought to Pittsubrugh where they’re milled and then fermented and distilled all in-house.

Tasting Notes:

Corn is what hits you first. It’s fresh, bold, and accompanied by classic notes of oaky vanilla and rich caramel on the nose. Whispers of smoke creep into the sip with hints of dark cocoa, burnt brown sugars, and meaty strips of salty and peppery jerky. Finally, the oaky spiciness returns with another whisper of that age-old smokiness.

Bottom Line:

This is a good, standard local bourbon. It’s great for mixing cocktails.

Rhode Island — Sons of Liberty Uprising

Sons of Liberty Spirits

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $40

The Whiskey:

Uprising has its foundation in local craft beer. The malts used in the 100-percent malted barley mash bill are the same roasted malts (Chocolate Malt, Crystal 45, and Biscuit) used to make a stout. It’s fermented with ale yeast, distilled, and then goes into charred American oak and toasted French oak to rest for a few years. Finally, the whiskey is blended to create a unique American single malt.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a toasted, buttery nature to this sip. Notes of vanilla creaminess, rich caramel, dark chocolate, and well-roasted coffee beans are all in play, giving this one a stout feel. Finally, spicy notes kick in and cut through the fatty and bitter coffee and chocolate to bring along a warm finish.

Bottom Line:

This is another great standard that’s more suited to cocktails than sipping.

South Carolina — William Alan Small Batch

William Alan
William Alan

ABV: 45%

Average Price: Distillery Only

The Whiskey:

This South Carolina bourbon is all about small batching and farm-to-glass experiences. The corn-fueled spirit with a very high malted barley component is aged for four years before it’s re-barreled in new toasted oak barrels for a final three-month rest. Those barrels and then vatted and the whiskey is proofed with local water for bottling.

Tasting Notes:

The nose on this is very crafty in the best way with a bowl full of white grits cut with butter and brown sugar with a hint of burnt orange, dried rose, and fresh mint rounding things out. The palate leans into woody wintery spices before circling back around to those sweet grits, Cherry Coke, ginger juice, and a hint of savory fruit — think pumpkin flesh just touched with cinnamon. The end leans into that fresh savory fruit before hitting on a moment of black peppercorns and cinnamon bark with a lush burnt orange finish.

Bottom Line:

This is delicious, especially on a single rock.

South Dakota — BlackFork Farms Bourbon American Toasted Oak Finish

BlackFork Farms
BlackFork Farms

ABV: 46.5%

Average Price: $95

The Whiskey:

BlackFork Farms is a very new and small crafty whiskey distillery. Heritage corn (grown and smoked on the farm with apple and cherry wood) is mashed with Black Forest German rye, which they smoke on the farm as well. The juice is then aged for a couple of years before the whiskey is re-barreled into new toasted American oak for a final rest.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with a sense of apple orchards next to piles of firewood, dry hay stacks, and soft toffee laced with winter spice. The palate has a note of corn husk next to peppery rye and dried dill with a touch of sweetgrass braided with cedar bark and tobacco leaf. The end layers in dark chocolate and chili spice with singed orchard wood and burnt chocolate tobacco.

Bottom Line:

This is pretty damn nice for such a small crafty whiskey.

Tennessee — Chattanooga Whiskey Bottled In Bond Spring 2018

Chattanooga Bottled in Bond
Chattanooga Whiskey

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $55

The Whiskey:

This particular whiskey was made back in spring 2018 and released in June 2022. The whiskey is a blend of four mash bills that all feature specialty malts ranging from honey malts to oak-smoked barley to naked oats to chocolate roasted barley to caramel malts and many more. The throughline is yellow corn, bonded warehouse aging, and proofing down to 50 percent ABV.

Tasting Notes:

The nose opens with rich toffee leading to dark chocolate, tart red berries, malted vanilla milkshake, orange oils, old leather, and a hint of cornbread dripping with maple butter cut with cinnamon. The palate sweetens the tart berries slightly toward cherry root beer with buttery Southern biscuits dipped in honey leading to a vanilla wafer vibe. The end leans into spicy barks and cherry tobacco with a hint of hickory and huckleberry on the dry and robust finish.

Bottom Line:

This was the hardest state to call. There’s just so much great stuff going on in Tennessee right now and this bottle is the epitome of it all. It’s just freakin’ delicious from top to bottom.

Texas — Garrison Brothers Cowboy Bourbon

Garrison Brothers

ABV: 65.65%

Average Price: $300

The Whiskey:

Cowboy Bourbon has become Garrison Brother’s signature bottle of whiskey. The juice from Texas is from barrels that are hand-selected for their depth and deliciousness and then aged for a few more years before being small-batched. The whiskey is then bottled as-is — with no filtering or cutting — leaving you with the purest essence of what great Texas bourbon can be in every single sip.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a rush of very sharp cinnamon sticks next to a pile of wet cedar shingles and an almost Chinese hot mustard spice and miso edge that’s as baffling as it is enticing. That spicy/umami nose makes you want to dive into this sip. Once you do, you’re greeted with an apple pie overflowing with walnuts, spices, and syrupy brown sugar encased in a flaky lard pie crust as spicy plum puddings sit next to more cedar and a throughline of caramel. The end turns to velvet as a vanilla tobacco vibe arrives to calm everything down and numb your tongue with a buzz.

Bottom Line:

This is the best whiskey from Texas, full stop. I’d also argue it’s one of the best barrel-proof bourbons on the market right now too.

Utah — High West A Midwinter Night’s Dram

High West Distillery

ABV: 49.3%

Average Price: $125

The Whiskey:

Each year, this limited drop varies slightly. Last year’s release was a mix of MGP rye (95 percent rye) and High West rye (100 percent rye) finished in French oak barrels that held port. The barrels picked for this batch were between four and seven years old.

Tasting Notes:

This bursts forth with bright red berries covered in rich and bitter dark chocolate with sultanas, burnt orange peels, and nutmeg-heavy French toast custard. The palate really holds onto the berries while savory rhubarb cobbler mingles with dates, old leather tobacco pouches, and vanilla pudding with a salted caramel drizzle. The end leans into eggnog spices with a touch of bitter black tea, more leathery tobacco, and a whisper of fresh mint.

Bottom Line:

This is a nice and lush sip of whiskey that feels like a warm embrace from a loved one.

Vermont — WhistlePig Beyond Bonded FarmStock Rye

WhistlePig

ABV: 50.5%

Average Price: $110

The Whiskey:

The vast majority of WhistlePig is still made from Alberta and Indiana rye juice. That said, the brand is making its own juice and it’s starting to make an appearance in the Farmstock line. This expression is made with 100 percent Remington Rye grown on-site at WhistlePig. The juice is then aged for around four-plus years before blending and bottling.

Tasting Notes:

This rye leans into dry wood, lemon zest, and plenty of cinnamon that’s a little sweet and buttery, like a cinnamon toast. The woodiness leans towards dry cedar bark with black tea next to peach, more lemon zest, and a holiday cake spice matrix. The finish starts to dry out with those spices as hints of burnt orange peel and marshmallow lead towards a note of fresh dollar bill from a new stack.

Bottom Line:

This is pretty good overall. If you already love WhistlePig, then this is going to be your jam.

Virginia — Virginia Distillery Co. Courage & Conviction Cuvee

Courage and Conviction Cuvee
Virginia Distillery Co.

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $68

The Whiskey:

Virginia Distillery Co. is doing some of the most interesting things with American single malt — so let’s start here. This expression is made from 100 percent malted barley distillate that’s aged for three years in Cuvée wine casks. Those barrels are vatted and proofed down with local water and bottled without filtration or coloration, letting the barrels shine in the glass.

Tasting Notes:

Berries burst forth on the nose with a raspberry and blackberry bramble leading toward a cherry orchard with plenty of wood and fruit, a hint of malty spice, and a tiny whisper of brown butter. That butter layers into the palate with a berry cobbler vibe full of malty biscuit topping and spiced red berry filling that’s all dusted with plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little allspice. The finish layers in a creamy note of honey, some more woody spice, and a tart, almost sour cherry end.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the better examples of how great American single malt can (and will) be.

Washington — Woodinville Moscatel Finished

Woodinville Bourbon Moscatel Finish
Woodinville

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $70

The Whiskey:

This whiskey starts as Woodinville’s award-winning five-year-old bourbon. That juice is then re-barreled into Moscatel wine casks for a finish maturation period. After nearly a year, the whiskey goes into the bottle having just been touched by water but otherwise as-is.

Tasting Notes:

The nose presents as sweet with hints of sweet prunes and dates but runs deep and dark with smoked apricot, five spice, dark chocolate creaminess, and black tea cut with burnt orange. The palate mixes Almond Roca (toffee covered in roasted almonds) with peach pits, vanilla pound cake, poppy seeds, black molasses, rum-raisin, black-tea-soaked dates, and rich Christmas cake spices with candied zests. The end leans into those dark spices and adds a woody edge that leads to dry porch wicker, choco-date tobacco, and cedar bark dipped in toffee.

Bottom Line:

This is one of the best pours of 2022, and it’s finally available nationwide.

West Virginia — Smooth Ambler Contradiction

Smooth Ambler

ABV: 50%

Average Price: $50

The Whiskey:

Smooth Ambler is a great example of how smaller craft operations get up and running. This expression is a blend of sourced high-rye bourbon that’s aged for nine years with their own-make, a wheated bourbon that’s aged for two years. The sourced bourbon is MGP of Indiana, giving the blenders a quality foundation to build their bourbon.

Tasting Notes:

Classic notes of bourbon vanilla and oak mingle with spicy stewed cherries buried in a sourdough pancake on the nose. The palate holds onto that sweet fruit and spice, as notes of worn leather and soft cedar arrive with a hint of grain. The end is short-ish with the spice, oak, and cherry lasting the longest until a nice and velvety vanilla mouthfeel arrives.

Bottom Line:

This is just a good, old-school whiskey. Make an old fashioned with it, pour it neat, add some rocks … it always works.

Wisconsin — J. Henry Small Batch Bourbon Aged 5 Years

J. Henry & Sons

ABV: 46%

Average Price: $54

The Whiskey:

This whiskey benefits greatly from Wisconsin’s mild yet varied weather — think warm summers and bitterly cold winters with proper fall and spring rains. The juice is a blend of only 16 barrels of five-year-old bourbons.

Tasting Notes:

Butterscotch and vanilla-lemon pudding lead the nose with a touch of orange peel and honey. The palate leans into the spicy warmth with Red Hots and cloves next to cherry tobacco and more of that butterscotch. That vanilla-lemon pudding comes back into play late, as the finish sweetens into a creamy yet spicy end.

Bottom Line:

This is a nice, standard whiskey with a lovely flavor profile.

Wyoming — Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Straight Bourbon Whiskey Aged 5 Years Limited Edition National Parks No. 2

Wyoming Whiskey National Parks
Wyoming Whiskey

ABV: 52.5%

Average Price: $83

The Whiskey:

This bottle celebrates our National Parks with each limited edition release. In this case, the release celebrates Yellowston’s 150th anniversary with part of the proceeds from each bottle sold going to Yellowstone Forever, which helps protect the park. The whiskey in the bottle is a special release from Wyoming grains — 68 percent corn, 20 percent wheat, and 12 percent malted barley — and water. After five years, the barrels are small-batch blended and bottled with a drop of proofing water.

Tasting Notes:

Soft holiday spices mix with orange creamsicle, dry sweetgrass, old boot leather, a dash of dark chocolate powder, and a hint of cedar. The taste feels like you’re on a back porch on a sunny day with rich toffee, cherrywood, and vanilla next to buttery zucchini bread with walnuts and plenty of cinnamon. The end takes on this woody and sweet carrot vibe while lush marzipan brings a nutty sweetness with a hint of Earl Grey and walnut loaf with low notes of soft cedar and warm tobacco.

Bottom Line:

This is a great pour for a great cause. I like it over a rock or two as a slow sipper, but it works wonders in a Manhattan too.

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