After our post on UK whiskies we had a lot of comments asking us specifically about American varieties. In the interest of good relations here and across the pond, we have selected what we think are some of America’s finest whiskies and bourbons.
Some are made using wheat, others rye, but all have distinct flavours and leave a smooth finish on the palate. All are aged in oak barrels, but a few have been left to mature in charred oak, which gives a slightly nuttier flavour, others have been matured in white-oak casks which are softer in character.
So if you are thinking about what to buy the whiskey-lover in your house this Christmas, wonder no more.
Here are our suggestions:
This is a great blend of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and their very own honey liqueur, combined to give a unique but unmistakably Jack flavour. A creamy smooth finish on the palate with strong honey undertones, something to try if you don’t like very strong whiskey flavours.
Arguably the best-known name in bourbon whiskies, this creation from Jim Beam is something to behold. Unlike its predecessor, this bourbon stays in white oak barrels for six years giving the bourbon an exceptionally creamy texture with hints of caramel, honey, brown sugar and butterscotch.
Treat this bourbon like you would a fine red wine. Pour a generous glass, let it aerate and then savour a mouthful at a time. This single barrel bourbon originates from Kentucky, the bourbon capital of the world, and this whiskey delivers a heady rush of dry corn and rye, middle notes of creamy vanilla and finishes you off with caramel and nuts.
This bourbon has history, and we are not just talking about the nine years is has been aged for in oak barrels. Founder Booker Noe created Knob Creek to re-establish the levels of pre-prohibition bourbon, the long ageing process that delivered big bold flavours. This is one of those bourbons, ideal on the rocks for contemplating your navel kind of moments.
Made using the techniques inspired by Augustus Bulleit over 150 years and in smaller than usual batches, this 10 year bourbon has been aged in charred American casks made of white oak. This gives the bourbon a sweetness and gentle spice with tones of toffee, nutmeg and a maple finish.
If you like your whiskey to give you a swift kick up the pants and not apologise afterwards then you’ll love Russell’s Reserve. Spicier than a hot date with Scary Spice, this is a single cask rye that offers undertones of tobacco and finishes with sweet vanilla.
Aged in charred oak barrels and made from water sourced from the Rocky Mountains, this bourbon is more than a little special. With heady notes of apple, vanilla and dried fruits, you get a real punch at the end with a spicy kick that lasts.
If you are hankering for a true Scottish whiskey then you might be interested to learn that this is one of the first American single malts that actually tastes like a Scottish single malt. This is thanks to a blend of five different roasted and kilned barley malts, which gives the whiskey a malty finish. Adding to that a few specialty malts, plus Belgian brewer’s yeast to enhance the flavour profile even further.