Tired of Bourbon? 5 American Whiskeys You Can’t Miss
While bourbon typically receives the spotlight when talking about whiskey in the United States, it’s a great joy to share that the category of American Whiskey goes so much further and deeper, containing rye, single malts and more. This spirit touches every corner of the country and exhibits diverse production styles. At Whiskey Raiders, no shortage of whiskey crosses our desk throughout the year, and we’re looking forward to introducing you to the American whiskeys you shouldn’t miss this holiday season.
Wild Turkey 101 Rye
Few operations have been producing whiskey longer than the Russells in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. Three generations strong — Jimmy, Eddie and Bruce Russell are all masters of their craft and known for making crowd-favorite whiskeys such as Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel and more. That said, few folks have nearly as much experience with their rye whiskeys — particularly the notable Wild Turkey 101 Rye.
Very much a rye guy, Bruce Russell is poised to take the helm at the distillery any day now as the third-generation Russell operating Wild Turkey. As a result, it’s only natural to recommend our favorite of the Wild Turkey rye lineup: its 101 Rye whiskey. Bottled at 50.5% ABV, this whiskey has plenty of sweetness and fruit on the nose with a satisfying and complex rye kick on the palate and finish. It’s priced just a short pace away from pure larceny — one of the best under-the-radar steals of the year.
Whether you’re whipping up a house full of Manhattans or looking for something complex and easy to love on the rocks, Wild Turkey 101 Rye Whiskey is a can’t-miss whiskey this holiday season.
Rabbit Hole Boxergrail Rye
A short drive south from Lawrenceburg is Louisville, Kentucky, where one of the newest, highest-tech distilleries of the decade is humming along. Planted in the center of downtown Louisville, Rabbit Hole Distillery has been operating since 2012, but whiskey production in its current space has only ramped up in recent years. The sustainable facility is a spectacle of art, science, chemistry, design, architecture and — most importantly — whiskey.
Rabbit Hole already presents a meticulously built collection of whiskeys, with Heigold, Cavehill and Dareringer representing all facets of bourbon releases. There’s a rye in the wings, too, though: Boxergrail. A spicy, flavorful and fruit-forward rye, Boxergrail exists at the intersection of quality, affordability and, most importantly these days in the whiskey scene, availability. Standing tall on the shelf, there are no competitors when it comes to the design and presentation of Rabbit Hole’s whiskeys.
A newer face to the world of whiskey, Rabbit Hole is sure to be a common name in short order for hardcore whiskey fans and enthusiasts alike. For now, while the brand remains a bit under the radar, it makes the perfect gift for whiskey drinkers, no matter their background.
Pursuit United Rye
An absolute hit from the newly founded Pursuit Spirits gang, Pursuit United is a whiskey drinker’s rye. Whether you love rye, bourbon, malt or anything else whiskey — you’ll be a fan of Pursuit United’s rye release this year.
Pursuit United rye is unusual and novel in that while the Pursuit United brand is a non-distilling producer, it is blending distillate from multiple producers in multiple states. As a result, the whiskey has impressive complexity and structure.
Westward Single Malt Whiskey
Rather than choose one whiskey from Westward, we’re going to endorse the brand as a whole. If you happen across any single malt from this terrific distillery, give it a whirl. Whether you’re new to American Single Malt or you’ve been a fan for ages, 2022 was an exciting year as producers left and right diversified into malt, started distilleries to produce it exclusively or simply grew their Single Malt portfolios as established brands.
Without a doubt, Westward is the premiere, developing, American Single Malt brand that’s been crushing whiskey releases left and right. It even has a subscription program if you want to dive in headfirst and taste single malts from the Oregon distillery all year long.
Last but not least is a surprise that not even we saw coming. It’s rare that we see a whiskey brand partner with a celebrity and release a better whiskey. Combined with the polarizing opinions regarding Texas whiskey, this new release from Balcones seemed like a real risk.
All that said, ZZ Top’s ‘Tres Hombres” knocks it out of the park. The musical icon and one of Texas’ best producers have a gem on their hands, and as a result, they seem to be having trouble keeping it on shelves. A combination of corn, single malt and rye whiskey, this release is bottled at 50% ABV and may have been one of 2022’s biggest risks, but it also turned out to be one of the year’s greatest rewards.
It appears our previous coverage of Tres Hombres has pushed it over the edge, leading to it being sold out in most markets. Check back when they restock.
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