To be considered American Whiskey, the brown liquor must have been aged in a charred American Oak barrel at no more than 125 proof, and it must be at least 51% corn. But you already knew that the question you need answering is what distinguishes The best American Whiskey.
Many whiskey brands are made in exceptional American distilleries and packaged beautifully to attract you even before you open the bottle. This makes the task of choosing fine bourbon a little tricky.
No worries! I happen to have an excellent constitution for whiskeys and an even bigger interest in showing off how much I know about them.
This guide provides you with everything you need to know about American Whiskey and, ultimately, the three best Whiskeys currently enjoyed. The liquors on this list were selected based on popular opinion, distillery prowess, and satisfaction ratings that are sure to help you find your new favorite bottle.
There is no time like the present. Let’s get to it.
Despite the variations that would make your taste buds roar with delight, American whiskey is generally bourbons, rye whiskeys, and blends. These whiskeys are not regarded as American unless they follow the American process. Everything from the corn to the charred oak barrel and the distillery location has to be American.
Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
Named after the “Father” of Charred Oak Barrels and Bourbons, the award-winning liquor is a national favorite. Many Americans, both connoisseurs, and novices, all recognize Elijah Craig as the whisky of choice.
The golden brown bourbon is made from a mix of corn, wheat, rye, and malted barley, all fermented and afterward distilled in a 70-foot column still.
Like all bourbons, the Elijah Craig is left to age in a charred barrel, but the flavor comes from the specific #3 charred oak barrel, where it is matured for a range of 8 to 12 years before it is blended and bottled at 94 proof or 47% ABV.
The delicate distillation process is adequately recognized in the result; The Elijah Craig has a strong vanilla presence both on the palate and the nose. This is accompanied by a taste of honey and a delicious hint of lilies. The overall bitter undertone of this drink just gives you a sense of wholeness after every sip.
Old Forester 86 Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
This is perhaps the oldest drink on this list, yet it never gets old like the Old Forester motto. I can almost bet that my grandfather loved this drink because even I could not resist.
The Old Forester “86” has the usual floral oak flavor you can expect from every American Whiskey, and of course, there is the minty aroma, but the big flourish is the rich tobacco smell!
The rich presence of tobacco on the nose only strengthens the spicy taste of oak, rye, and grain. Every sip must be taken responsibly to avoid addiction to the sweet presence of vanilla and light orange on the palate.
I refuse to force your hand any more than I have already done but accept my recommendation that the Old Forester 86 is appropriate for every occasion. It is best enjoyed with company because you will need caution to avoid opening another bottle.
Evan Williams Single Barrel -2011 Vintage
When I think about American Whiskey, Evan Williams is one of the first brands that come to mind. It might be because I am partial to the Heaven Hill distillery, but apparently, I am not the only one!
Evan Williams is gaining popularity among millennials, the 2011 vintage was released in the twilights of 2018, and it seemed to match the recently unbridled taste buds of the succeeding generation.
If you are not convinced with the novice approval of these kids, you would be pleased to know that even more experienced whiskey drinkers find Evan Williams severely appealing.
Apart from the expected gold color and the oak flavor from the typical Kentucky distilling and fermenting mash bill of Corn, Rye, and Malted Barley. The Evan Williams has an added flavor of sweet caramel and roasted marshmallows which is probably why it appeals to the younger generation.
The caramel flavor is also reflected on the palate with a rich cinnamon taste and a hint of pepper that leaves a spicy feel in the mouth. Don’t stare at the bottle. You know you want a sip.
There is no exhaustive way to discuss Whiskey except to point out that every time you pick a bottle of any of the recommended drinks, you have found a partner to celebrate good days or weather out the hard times. So grab a bottle, and let’s raise a toast to a full and beautiful life. Cheers!
Looking for the perfect gift for a whisky lover? Check out The Whisky Club gift subscriptions.