Above the fold, American whiskey is bourbon, bourbonBourbon these days—but we think the top stories (and spirits) require a bit more reading to find them. From the top of the reach one barley For model-changing distilleries outside of Kentucky, there are plenty of great things to do whiskey On the market and soon.
Whether you’re in the mood for something different after a pitched battle for the biggest names in Kentucky Bourbon, or you’re just looking to step into the market on the next great bottles of must-drink, we’ve compiled a list of brands to watch in 2021 and beyond. .
10 American whiskey brands worth seeing
1. Chattanooga Distillery
While Chattanooga has been making hard whiskey for many years, it caught the eye in 2020 with its 99 Rye release. It’s a unique recipe using rye, which is notorious for its difficulty working with salted rye. That bottle turned heads, and if the rest of the Tennessee distillers didn’t pay attention, it would be on them if they were hit by this sexy underdog.
As much as we’d like to tell you that 99 Rye is in place, the bottle to buy now is the long-awaited one. Bottled Bond. This 4-year-old whiskey is surprisingly fruity with a smooth, silky texture that suggests honey and baked goods. When these guys bring in 7-year-old whiskey, the world will hear about it.
what are you drinking now: Chattanooga Bottled in Bond Bourbon, $50; chattanoogawhiskey.com
2. Westland Distillery
The single malt distillery in Seattle, Washington has always been one of our favorites. But in the past 18 months, Westland has doubled down on the essential ingredients that make whiskey so delicious. Huge investments in experimental malt research are just the tip of a mountain of initiatives aimed at further diversifying the flavors emerging from the blending lab.
While many of the things we’re excited about are out of reach, Westland has taken the unprecedented step of looking at the core product lineup that has made it what it is today, and simply saying, “We can do better.” The result is a newly reworked one.”MainSingle Malt: An all-new blend of pierced malt, sherry, and other malts. This whiskey is greater than the sum of its parts—and at a total MSRP, it’s also a steal.
what are you drinking now: Westland Flagship Single Malt Whiskey, $60; westlanddistillery.reservebar.com
3. Kozuba Distillery
A Polish family making Florida whiskey is the kind of messy energy the whiskey world desperately needs in 2021, and these guys are getting it from the barrel. The origins of the vodka industry in Kuzuba led to the whiskey industry in 2014, and although production is low, the quality is high.
Case in point: the bottle we recommend, High wheat rye whiskeyRye whiskey, now 6 years old, is made with 65 percent rye and 35 percent wheat. It’s a very unusual pie—usually the only times you’ll see wheat and rye together are part of a four-grain bourbon recipe. This two-grain recipe confuses the mind. It’s delicious, and makes excellent use of the properties of both grains, as if you were desperately asking every multigenerational American whiskey maker why they need corn at all. We can only hope that there will be more to come.
what are you drinking now: High wheat rye whiskey$30 (receipt only); kozubadistillery.com
Wyoming’s whiskey got off to a rough start when it released the tiny whiskey to an under-crowded market in the state. But a violent repurchase of less-than-impressive bourbons removed the list, and every drop that has come out of this whiskey house since seems to be delicious.
Single barrels are great, Outryder bourbon-rye blends are delicious, but now that the distillery is able to reliably produce old stock we’ll see some really Wonderful bottles. The last notable release was a fundraising effort for the national parks. The one-of-a-kind bottles raised $120 million, but the small, limited-edition parallel version of the 5-year-old whiskey shows off the polished spirit they can use now: cedar and cream with hints of vanilla, tea, and just a dash of nutmeg.
what are you drinking now: Wyoming National Parks Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon, $50; wyomingwhiskey.com
Master Distiller Owen Martin has been dealing with every aspect of Stranahan for a few years now. He was at the helm when Stranahan’s Mountain Angel 10 Year was launched last year, and he was also the first to admit that over the next few years, the single Stranahan drink we know will go through some big changes.
One of these changes relates to the average lifespan of the soul itself. The brand has reached a point of maturity, and Martin is confident there is ample inventory to see some great projects through to finish. For now, they’re releasing as exclusives at a distillery — delicious things like this season’s Caribbean Rum Cask. We’re not allowed to share other things we’re expecting soon, but rest assured you can comfortably sip on them. Mountain Angel until that time. It’s subtle, subtle and full of vibe, with layers of tobacco and molasses.
what are you drinking now: Mountain Angel 10 Years Single Malt Whiskey, $130; stranahans.com
Laws Whiskey House is another example of a growing community of amazing Colorado whiskey makers. Her first barrel hit 10 years earlier this summer, but her dedication to small batches of grain-focused whiskeys forward isn’t going anywhere just because she hit double digits.
What is happening somewhere is the younger age data that you may have seen (and tasted) in the past. Two became four, four became six, and with that comes a comprehensive versatility of some really delicious things. The releases come so fast that we pick one clip we’re excited about right now, but if you haven’t ventured into the world of laws lately, it’s hot, nutty, and lively. St. Louis Valley Straight Rye It’s a great (re)introduction.
what are you drinking now: Laws Saint Luis Valley Straight Rye, $75; lawswhiskeyhouse.com
7. The Lost Lantern
Lost Lantern is the first major American whiskey producer: a private label from husband-and-wife team Adam Polonsky and Nora Ganley Roper. They’ve spent the past few years traveling across the country to visit distilleries they don’t pay enough attention to, and to pick out some delicious kegs, for exclusive bottling.
Chances are, by the time you read this, you’ve missed most of the things they’re packing. But with new batches coming every year, the Lost Lantern brand is a buy when looking at us. Most importantly (and lest you assume they are only picking one barrel), Nora and Adam produce a unique and extremely delicious blend called American Fated. It is a panel mixed with the dynamic duo and distilled of the respective whiskey ingredients. Depending on the batch, this may include the likes of Balcones, Copperworks, Santa Fe Spirits, Triple Eight, Westward and Virginia Distillery Co.
what are you drinking now: Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt Whiskey, $120; lostlanternwhiskey.com
8. Free Ranch
If you had told us that Nevada was able to make one of the best bourbons on the market in 2010, we’d have been skeptical, but when we first got a sample in 2020, there was little room for controversy.
The four-grain, farm-to-glass brand is the product of the Fry family’s grain farming and distilling efforts. As if their signature bourbon wasn’t tasty and good enough on its own, they’re now starting to churn out a limited number of individual barrels. These have the complexity and character to stand against anything we’ve seen coming out of Kentucky lately.
what are you drinking now: Frey Ranch Single Barrel Bourbon, $85; freyranch.com
9. Blue Run
This little-known bottling company wowed the competition this year when it won first prize for its 13-and-a-half year-old twisted bourbon. But with the whiskey world’s eyes on them now, they’ve already picked up some awards for the next project out of the gate: Blue Run Ray.
Blue Run Rye starts next month, but Kentucky’s rye whiskey is already close to perfection. Early samples showed the character of a honey graham fruit tart with delicate supporting supports of vanilla cream and butter under a mellow seasoning. She took home a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition earlier this year—overshadowed by the outstanding performance of one of the bourbons, but delicious nonetheless.
what are you drinking now: Blue Run Ray, $100; bluerunspirits.com
10. Milam and Greene
Former whiskey authority Heather Green crossed lines to become a whiskey maker a few years ago. As the second name on the Milam and Greene brand, it has been kind of at the forefront of some new innovations with the Texas-based mixed distillery brand/source. Greene is actually one of three fathers of the brand, including Kentucky-based entrepreneur Marsha Milam and Kentucky distiller Marilyn Holmes, who handle the non-Texas part of the Kentucky-Texas equation. Twenty years ago, the multi-state hybrid was a fad; Today he is just making clever whiskey.
Many of their bottles were solid, but the latest release – a 13-year-old bourbon set for the new one “Castle Hill” series—offers a ton of citrus notes, chocolate, and real nuances despite a bold 108 proof point. Greene, as CEO, will certainly continue to deliver interesting concoctions. Once you’ve established that playing by the rules is for the amateur, doing whatever makes good whiskey is as easy as drinking that whiskey.
what are you drinking now: Milam and Green Castle Hill Series Bourbon, $120; milamandgreenewhiskey.com
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