Tuesday, June 24, 2014
The Best American Whiskeys You Can Actually Buy Part II: The Little Guys
There were a lot of good responses to my query about the best American whiskeys that you can actually buy, both in the comments and on Twitter. One reader pointed out that while the list covered the best available whiskey from each major company, there are also some good, readily available whiskeys from smaller producers, be they craft distillers or independent bottlers (aka NDPs). I thought that was a valid point, so today, we will expand the list to good quality, readily available whiskeys from smaller operations.
At local stores in Southern California, it's pretty easy to find the Charbay R5 and S whiskeys, though I don't know how available they are out of state; likewise the new Seven Stills Whipnose Whiskey, another California beer distillate that I really liked, is still around, and while it's distribution is probably still pretty localized, you can order it on-line from K&L. Balcones Brimstone is another tasty craft whiskey that I could easily grab at a number of locations.
High West is one of those producers like Four Roses that people tend to take for granted since their whiskey is excellent quality, a good value and easy to find. I regularly see no less than five of their labels on the shelf, but for my money, their original whiskey, Rendezvous Rye, is still the best of their basic offerings.
Kentucky Bourbon Distillers has many easy to find products. My pick of their current offerings would be the Willett Rye, distilled at MGP. While it may not be at every store, I see it often enough to count it here.
The basic Michter's, Jefferson's and Angel's Envy lines are all pretty available, and I'm sure some folks would put them on the list, but I've never been a fan of any of their standard offerings that you can actually find on a shelf (as opposed to hard to find special releases like Jefferson's Presidential 17 and 18). If I had to pick one from that group, it would probably be Angel's Envy Rye (and yes, that would be my third MGP rye on these lists - third and a half if you count Rendezvous Rye).
Did I miss any?