Above the fold, American whiskey is bourbon, bourbon, bourbon nowadays—however we’re of the opinion the highest tales (and spirits) require slightly extra studying to search out. From apex-reaching single malts to paradigm-shifting distilleries approach exterior of Kentucky, there’s quite a lot of nice whiskey available on the market and coming quickly.
Whether or not you’re within the temper for one thing completely different after a tooth-and-nail battle for the most important names in Kentucky bourbon, or simply seeking to get forward of the market on the following nice must-drink bottles, we put collectively a listing of the manufacturers to control in 2021 and past.
10 American Whiskey Manufacturers to Watch
1. Chattanooga Distillery
Whereas Chattanooga has been making strong whiskey for a few years, they caught consideration in 2020 for the discharge of its 99 Rye. It’s a singular recipe utilizing the notoriously difficult-to-work-with malted rye. That bottle turned heads, and if the remainder of Tennessee’s distillers didn’t take discover, it’s on them in the event that they get lapped by this thrilling underdog.
As a lot as we’d like to let you know 99 Rye is the place it’s at, the bottle to purchase proper now’s its long-awaited Bottled in Bond. This 4-year-old whiskey is surprisingly fruity with jammy, silky textures that counsel honey and baked items. When these guys end up a 7-year-old whiskey, the world goes to listen to about it.
What to Drink Now: Chattanooga Bottled in Bond Bourbon, $50; chattanoogawhiskey.com
2. Westland Distillery
This Seattle, Washington, single malt distillery has lengthy been one in every of our favorites. However within the final 18 months, Westland has doubled down on the core components that make its whiskies so scrumptious. Huge investments in experimental barley analysis are simply the tip of a mountain of initiatives meant to additional diversify the flavors popping out of its mixing lab.
Although lots of the issues we’re most enthusiastic about are far off, Westland has taken the unprecedented step of wanting on the core line of merchandise that made it what it’s right now, and easily saying, “We will do higher.” The result’s one newly reformulated “Flagship” single malt: an entirely new mix of peated, sherried, and different malts. This whiskey is bigger than the sum of its elements—and on the sum of its MSRP, it’s additionally a steal.
What to Drink Now: Westland Flagship Single Malt Whiskey, $60; westlanddistillery.reservebar.com
3. Kozuba Distillery
A Polish household making Florida whiskey is the type of chaotic power the whiskey world desperately wants in 2021, and these of us have it by the barrel. Kozuba’s vodka-making origins led into whiskey-making in 2014, and although the manufacturing is small, the standard is excessive.
Working example: our really useful bottle, Excessive Wheat Rye Whiskey, a now 6-year rye whiskey, made with 65 % rye and 35 % wheat. It’s a extremely uncommon mashbill—usually, the one occasions you’ll see wheat and rye collectively are as a part of a four-grain bourbon recipe. This two-grain recipe confounds the thoughts. It’s flavorful, it makes wonderful use of the characters of each grains, as if to sternly ask all of those multi-generation American whiskey makers why they want corn in any respect. We will solely hope there’s extra to come back.
Wyoming whiskey had a notoriously tough begin when it launched too-young whiskey to an underwhelmed market within the state. However an aggressive buyback of the less-than-impressive bourbon cleared the slate, it appears each drop popping out of that whiskey home since then is scrumptious.
The one barrels are nice, the Outryder bourbon-rye mashup is tasty, however now that the distillery is ready to produce older inventory reliably, we’re attending to see some actually nice bottles. The notable current launch was a fundraising effort for the nationwide parks. One-of-a-kind bottles raised $120 million, however the parallel launch of a limited-edition small batch of 5-year-old whiskey exhibits the polished spirit they’re able to now: cedary and creamy with hints of vanilla, tea and only a sprint of nutmeg.
What to Drink Now: Wyoming Nationwide Parks Restricted Version Small Batch Bourbon, $50; wyomingwhiskey.com
Grasp distiller Owen Martin has been tinkering away with each side of Stranahan’s for just a few years now. He was on the helm when Stranahan’s Mountain Angel 10 Yr was launched final 12 months, and was additionally first to confess that, over the following few years, the Stranahan’s single malt we all know goes to undergo some huge modifications.
A kind of modifications has to do with the typical age of the spirit itself. The model has reached a level of maturity, and Martin is assured there’s ample inventory to see some cool initiatives via to the top. Proper now, they’re being launched as distillery exclusives—scrumptious stuff like this season’s Caribbean Rum Cask. We’re not allowed to share the opposite issues to count on quickly, however relaxation assured you possibly can comfortably sip on Mountain Angel till then. It’s nuanced, delicate, and brooding, with layers of tobacco and molasses.
What to Drink Now: Mountain Angel 10 Yr Single Malt Whiskey, $130; stranahans.com
6. Legal guidelines
Legal guidelines Whiskey Home is one other instance of a rising group of unbelievable Colorado whiskey makers. Its first barrel hit 10 years of age earlier this summer time, however its dedication to small, grain-forward batches of terroir-focused whiskey isn’t going anyplace simply because they hit double digits.
What goes someplace are the youthful age statements you could have seen (and tasted) prior to now. Two has turn into 4, 4 has turn into six, and with that comes across-the-board finesse for some already scrumptious stuff. Releases come at too quick a clip for us to select one we’re excited for now, however in case you haven’t ventured into the world of Legal guidelines not too long ago, its spicy, nutty, and vigorous Saint Luis Valley Straight Rye is a superb (re)introduction.
What to Drink Now: Legal guidelines Saint Luis Valley Straight Rye, $75; lawswhiskeyhouse.com
7. Misplaced Lantern
Misplaced Lantern is a serious first for American whiskey: a personal labelling model from husband and spouse staff Adam Polonski and Nora Ganley-Roper. They’ve spent the previous couple of years touring the nation to go to the distilleries you’re not paying sufficient consideration to, and choosing a number of the hands-down most scrumptious casks, for unique bottling.
Chances are high, by the point you learn this you’ve missed out on a lot of the stuff they bottle. However with new batches coming yearly, the Misplaced Lantern model is a buy-on-sight choose for us. Extra importantly (and lest you assume they’re simply choosing single barrels), Nora and Adam produce a profoundly scrumptious, distinctive mix referred to as American Vatted. It’s committee-blended by the dynamic duo and the distillers of the whiskey parts in query. Relying on the batch, which may embody the likes of Balcones, Copperworks, Santa Fe Spirits, Triple Eight, Westward, Virginia Distillery Co., all mingled to perfection by a dozen skilled palates.
What to Drink Now: Misplaced Lantern American Vatted Malt Whiskey, $120; lostlanternwhiskey.com
8. Frey Ranch
Should you had informed us that Nevada was able to making among the best bourbons available on the market in 2010, we’d have been skeptical, however after we first acquired our arms on a pattern in 2020, there was little room for argument.
The four-grain, farm-to-glass model is the product of the Frey household’s personal grain farming and distilling efforts. As if their signature bourbon wasn’t scrumptious and well-rounded sufficient by itself, they’ve now began cranking out a restricted variety of single barrels. These have the complexity and character to face up towards something we’ve seen popping out of Kentucky not too long ago.
What to Drink Now: Frey Ranch Single Barrel Bourbon, $85; freyranch.com
9. Blue Run
This absolute unknown bourbon bottler wowed in competitors this 12 months when it took the highest prize for its quirky 13-and-a-half-year bourbon. However with the eyes of the whiskey world upon them now, they’ve already secured some awards for the following challenge out of the gate: Blue Run Rye.
Blue Run Rye debuts subsequent month, however the sourced Kentucky rye whiskey is already approaching perfection. Early samples confirmed a honey graham fruit tart character with finessed help struts of vanilla cream and butterscotch beneath a mellow spice. It took a gold medal on the San Francisco World Spirits Competitors earlier this 12 months—overshadowed by the standout efficiency of one in every of its bourbons, however scrumptious nonetheless.
What to Drink Now: Blue Run Rye, $100; bluerunspirits.com
10. Milam and Greene
Former whiskey authority Heather Greene crossed traces to turn into a whiskey maker just a few years in the past. Because the second identify on the Milam and Greene label, she’s been a type of spearhead for some new improvements with the Texas-based hybrid distiller/sourced model. Greene is definitely one in every of three mother and father for the model, together with entrepreneur Marsha Milam and Kentucky distiller Marlene Holmes, who handles the non-Texas a part of the Kentucky-Texas equation. Twenty years in the past a hybrid multi-state mix would’ve been heresy; right now it’s simply sensible whiskey making.
Lots of their bottles have been strong, however the newest launch—a 13-year-old sourced bourbon batch for the brand new “Citadel Hill” sequence—delivers a ton of citrus and chocolate notes, and actual nuance regardless of a bold-ish 108 proof level. Greene, as CEO, will certainly proceed to ship attention-grabbing concoctions. When you’ve confirmed enjoying by the foundations is for amateurs, doing no matter makes good whiskey is as straightforward to do as this whiskey is straightforward to drink.
What to Drink Now: Milam and Greene Citadel Hill Sequence Bourbon, $120; milamandgreenewhiskey.com
For entry to unique gear movies, superstar interviews, and extra, subscribe on YouTube!