Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Whiskey Lists: High Proof American Whiskey

This week, I've got a host of whiskey lists to share, starting with a list of high proof American whiskeys.

If nothing else, the Maker's Mark fiasco has shown us that people take their whiskey proof seriously. I've seen a number of people asking recently about high proof American whiskey, so I thought I'd try to make a list of all the recent, regular release American whiskeys over 55% abv (110 proof). Let me know if I'm missing anything.

Beam Inc.

Beam has three high strength offerings: (1) Booker's; (2) Knob Creek Single Barrel; and (3) Old Grand-Dad 114.

Brown Forman

Zip. Zilch. Zero. Three distilleries and no high strength whiskeys. Shame.

Buffalo Trace/Sazerac

Buffalo Trace may be the king of barrel strength, both in terms of numbers and strength. The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection includes George T. Stagg, the wheated William Larue Weller and Thomas Handy Rye. In addition, last year they released the EH Taylor Barrel Strength bourbon, and they make a barrel strength Blanton's, Blanton's Straight from the Barrel, but only for export. They have also released some barrel strength whiskeys from the A. Smith Bowman distillery in Virginia, though they may only have been for retailers. Even their White Dog is bottled at full strength.



Four Roses

Four Roses annually releases a high proof limited edition version of their Small Batch and Single Barrel. In addition, the single barrel releases they do for retailers are high strength. All of these tend to be in the 55% range.

Heaven Hill

Heaven Hill doesn't have any high proof whiskeys in regular release, but they do have the following: (1) Parker's Heritage Collection, the annual release has sometimes been at higher proof, including the most recent Blend of Mashbills edition; (2) Elijah Craig 12 cask strength is a gift shop exclusive but it's rumored to be slated for wider release; (3) the Trybox series of new make.

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey Rare Breed usually hovers right around 55%. The new Russell's Reserve single barrel will also be 55% abv.

Independent Bottlers

Angels' Envy Cask Strength
Chattanooga Whiskey Co. 1816 Cask, 113.6 proof (56.8% abv) (LDI)
Noah's Mill (KBD)
Old Rip Van Winkle 23 (Stitzel-Weller - 2010)
Temperance Trader Cask Strength (LDI, bottled by Bull Run Distilling)
WH Harrison Governor's Reserve (LDI)
Willett Single Barrels (Bourbon & Rye from KBD)

Craft Distilleries

Surprisingly few craft distilleries seem to release their whiskeys at high proof, but there are a few. Given the number of craft distilleries out there, this is a non-exhaustive list (let me know if there are more):

Balcones True Blue Corn Whiskey
Charbay's Hopped Whiskeys
Glacier Distilling did a cask strength expression of their Bad Rock Rye
House Spirits has a barrel strength white whiskey
Old Potrero Single Malt Rye (except for the Hotaling's, they are mostly barrel proof)
Oola Distillery has a cask strength version of their Waitsburg Bourbon
Roughstock Montana Whiskey
St. George did a cask strength single malt for K&L

If I missed anything, please leave a comment or drop me an email.


Anonymous said...

Not sure if this is technically a whisky, but Balcones also has a cask strength Rumble Cask Reserve. Had a wee dram a little while back. Really interesting and tasty stuff.

Florin said...

Willett Single Barrel Rye is a quasi-regular release, it's been a constant presence for the last four years.

sku said...

boozedancing, I didn't include Rumble because it's a flavored sort of whiskey. I was told that Balcones would have some additional cask strength offerings coming out soon.

Florin, I would include those under my general Willett. I'll reformat to make it more clear.


AaronWF said...

How about the new Whistle Pig Rye 11/111? I haven't actually seen it... not even sure if it's been released yet.

sku said...

AaronWF, it's definitely high proof and it has been released, but I was limiting to US whiskeys and Whistlepig is Canadian.

TN Whiskey Trail said...

Another LDI sourced brand, Chattanooga Whiskey Co. releases an 1816 Cask strength (113.6 proof)

sku said...

TN Whiskey Trail.

Added. Thanks!

Lazer said...

This is good work sku! Maybe BF and Diageo will think about adding something new to the market in this category. I'm hoping for something in the form of a George Dickel barrel proofer.

another comment:
I think Maker's thought they could get away with dropping proof because they know they aren't big with whiskey snobs, I mean, enthusiasts, same deal with JD. That's why they aren't rushing to put high proof stuff out there. I think its a mistake. Come on guys, throw us a bone.

T Comp said...

Great list Sku! I enjoyed your distillery lists a while back too. Nice even for an enthusiast to have a concise summary of those things you know but can't immediately put all together.

Anonymous said...

Oola Distillery in Seattle recently released a 118-proof bourbon, marketed as their "cask strength" offering.

Anonymous said...

Richnimrod asked;
Doesn't Beam sell 'Baker's'? Isn't that a higher proof offering?

Anonymous said...

Bad Rock Rye by Glacier Distilling in Montana is cask strength. The one I tried was 116 proof.

Michael said...

Temperance Trader out of Portland put out an LDI sourced (but locally aged) bourbon at cask strength (112 proof). It's young, but pretty tasty.

sku said...

Thanks Anon and Michael, Glacier and Temperance Trader added.

As to Baker's, it doesn't quite cut it, usually coming in around 53 or 54%.

Anonymous said...

BTAC has released some high proof bourbons and at least one rye. (The rye in barrel from the party source.)

Anonymous said...

"Even their White Dog is bottled at barrel proof."


sku said...

Fair enough Anon, it's not barrel proof if it doesn't see a barrel. What I meant was undiluted.

broman said...

did you leave off OWA 107? or am I blind?

sku said...

broman, if you read the summary on top, you'll see that the list covers whiskeys over 110 proof.

broman said...

so blind would be the correct answer! I had 100 stuck in my head as the threshold. Thanks for pulling this list together.

Anonymous said...

the Oola bourbon is virtually all from LDI. there is only a tiny fraction of their own (very young) bourbon mixed in. might want to move them to independent bottling

Anonymous said...

I have a bottle of Old Forrester 125 proof but don't know much about it.

sku said...

Anon, that's an oldie. It came out around 1995 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Brown-Forman. I'd be interested to know how it is.

Anonymous said...

Buffalo Trace's Stagg Jr. is high proof.

sku said...

You are correct, but this post pre-dates Stagg Jr.