28 American Whiskies Worth Splurging on This Year

Priced at $100 and up, these bourbons, ryes, and single malt whiskies are ideal for gifting and collecting.



American whiskey is as broad and exciting a category as exists anywhere in the world. From bourbon and rye to single malt, and covering seemingly all possible real estate in between, distillers and blenders across the country are crafting spirits of excitement, depth, and stunning complexity. These 28, listed alphabetically and all costing over $100 — less pricey ones will be explored in Part 2 — embody everything that makes American whiskey so relevant and rewarding right now. 

Angel’s Envy Rye Whiskey Finished in Ice Cider Casks

Angel's Envy Rye Whiskey

Nathan Pedigo

The mash bill for this is 95% rye, and the whiskey crafted from it was first aged for seven years before being finished for nearly a full year in oak casks that previously held ice cider from Eden Specialty Ciders. All of that effort has been worth it: Leather and tobacco provide bass-note depth for tingling rye spice and blood-orange marmalade before a finish in which those apple casks really shines through, with ground clove- and allspice-dusted apples, drizzled with honey and nougat, provide lift and layers. Concentrated and wildly enjoyable, this is a highly successful first rye-based “cellar collection” expression from the barrel-finishing wizards at Angel’s Envy.

Bardstown Discovery Series #9 


Bardstown Bourbon Co

A powerful (112.5 proof) yet somehow very sippable whiskey, this fascinating blend of Georgia bourbon, Canadian whisky, 17-year-old Tennessee whiskey, and Kentucky bourbon is terrific. Spun sugar, pralines, honey-candied pecans, chocolate with a seam of ancho chili powder, and blood oranges ring through the sweet-spicy finish.

Barrell Craft Spirits BCS Gold Label Dovetail

Barrell Craft Spirts Gray Label Dovetail Whiskey

Barrell Craft Sprits

Another fascinating release from Barrell, this one rings in at 131.54 proof and is composed of whiskeys that were finished in Port, rum, and Cabernet Sauvignon barrels that previously held wine from the iconic Dunn Vineyards. The finished product is powerful and so generous, coating the palate with warm honey and suggestions of molasses, steeped golden raisins and brown sugar. Lingering notes of dried and fresh figs as well as chocolate ganache, black-cherry compote, and pear butter linger for a full minute.

Blade and Bow 22 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 

Blade and Bow

Cameron Wilder

Sometimes, extra-long aging can render a bourbon overly tannic and lacking in verve. That’s not the case here: The interplay between whiskey and wood is terrific. Each sip delivers citrus oils, apple fritters, maple-rich pralines, honey-coated walnuts, and savory hints of leather and cigar humidor, all of it kissed with sweet spice that vibrates through the ginger-biscuit finish.

Brush Creek Railroad Rye

Brush Creek Railroad Rye

Brush Creek Railroad Rye

Produced in Wyoming from Indiana spirit, this straight rye has a classic nose of woodsy spices, orange oils, and pecan pralines that all tee up a spice-driven palate anchored by a pulse of savory minerality kissed with hard apples and pears, finishing with a grace note of honey candies.

Cascade Moon 13 Year Old Mellow as Moonlight Rye Whisky

Cascade Moon

Cascade Moon

This is an utterly fascinating, delicious rye whisky—further proof that the Cascade Moon releases need to be paid attention to. Notes of chocolate-dipped pretzels, graham crackers, and spice join golden raisins, white figs, and mashed fennel bulb, all of it ending on a sweet note of spiced salted caramel. This is a balanced, beautifully composed expression.

Colonel E.H. Taylor Straight Rye Bottled in Bond

Aromatically, this is as pure an evocation of great rye as you’ll find: Spicy and savory, with an edge of toastiness to the grilled stone fruit, all of which set the stage for a whiskey of power, balance, and length, a mineral spine providing structure for flavors of Fuyu persimmons, hard apricots, pecans, pralines, singed spearmint, and deeply toasted fennel seeds. This is fantastic: A classic, and worth the effort and money.

Chicken Cock Island Rooster Rum Barrel Rye

Island Rooster


The interplay between the Kentucky straight rye and the ex-rum barrels here is remarkable: The sweetness of the barrels has tamed the spice of the spirit, and the result is a fantastically gulpable (but don’t ever gulp your whiskey!) rye whose caramel-coated pears and honeyed cashews gently sizzle with peppercorn spice, all of it resolving with flavors of yellow apples and spearmint.

Frey Ranch Single Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey

Frey Ranch Whiskey

Frey Ranch

Frey Ranch has become a leader in the grain-to-glass movement from their home base in Fallon, Nevada, where they farm the winter rye for this outstanding expression. It showcases peppercorn-spiced lemon marmalade and a deep spine of minerality alongside notes of orange pith, apricot pit, and a fleeting impression of pear compote, with a finish of cracked peppercorns and woodsy spices. (This is from Barrel #620 and rings in at 131.80 proof.)

Garrison Brothers “Balmorhea” Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Garrison Brothers

Garrison Brothers

This standout distillery in Hye, Texas, has been winning over critics with its remarkable range of whiskeys. This one essentially doubles the new oak: The spirit is first aged for four years in new American white oak, after which it’s transferred to a second new American white oak barrel for an additional year of finishing. The result is a blockbuster of a bourbon, with distinct vanilla crème brûlée and praline aromas paving the way for a palate of deeply caramelized oak and vanillin sugars, candied ginger, toasted coconut, freshly grated cinnamon stick, and cloves, all of it anchored by honey-sweet figs and maple candies.

George Dickel x Leopold Brothers Three Chamber Column Still Collaboration Blend Rye

George Dickel

George Dickel

Bringing together Dickel’s Master Distiller Nicole Austin and James Beard Award Nominee Tom Leopold, this unusual and absolutely delicious rye whiskey is built from a blend of heartier and more delicate spirits produced in both column and three chamber stills. The result is subtly floral, yet with a serious pulse of chocolate-coated cashews, all of it lent even greater generosity from hints of spice- and sultana-flecked caramel and cherry-dotted biscotti.

George T. Stagg Jr. Barrel Proof Unfiltered Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

This cult-level bourbon rings in at 131.1 proof but is exuberantly drinkable. A nose of subtlety and depth is flecked with caramelized brown sugar, brown butter, gently grilled apricots, sultanas, and cinnamon-baked apples. On the palate, this explodes with pears, lemon zest, orange oils, red apples, and cloves, all of it floral and lifted with spearmint. With a drop of water, this becomes more savory and spicy, with whole cinnamon stick, allspice, Mandarin oranges, fresh-picked dark cherries, and orange conserve joined by aged cigars and caramelized vanilla pods, all ending with a zip of cracked pepper.

Hardin’s Creek Jacob’s Well Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Hardin's Creek

Hardin's Creek

A new brand (as of mid-2022) from James B. Beam Distilling Co., Hardin’s Creek represents an important addition to the Beam portfolio. This expression brings together 16-year-old bourbon and 15-year-old high-rye bourbon, and the result is fantastic, a powerful, tannin-structured whiskey with carob, cacao nibs, woodsy and pink peppercorn spice, and grilled nectarines. It’s bottled at 108 proof, and carries it with balance and elegance alongside its clear power.

Hillrock Estate Distillery Solera Aged Bourbon Whiskey

From the Hudson Valley of New York, this whiskey is aged in a solera system before being finished in 20-year-old Oloroso casks. It’s a sweetly praline-perked Bourbon with notes of fruit cake, mandel bread, biscotti, honey, and a floral lift peeking through it all. The finish showcases a well-calibrated spice that anchors it all in a savory core alongside all of the generous, sweet fruit.

Kentucky Owl Takumi Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Kentucky Owl

Hailey Bollinger

This limited-release collaboration between blenders Yahisa Yusuke and John Rhea is beautifully structured with assertive wood tannins framing spice-tinged flavors of chocolate ganache, dulce de leche, black cherries, and star anise. But it’s the peppercorn spice running through it all that defines it, and in that regard, this seems to be an excellent option for the rye fans among bourbon drinkers…not that there should ever be a bifurcation.

Knob Creek 18 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Knob Creek

Knob Creek

This delicious limited edition, crafted in honor of Knob Creek’s 30th anniversary, shows its dozen-and-a-half years in oak well: Wood spice like cinnamon stick and clove inform flavors of hard autumn orchard fruit, with flashes of honey candies, black walnuts, and Seckel pears riding through the sweetly spiced and brown sugar- and licorice-dusted finish, a hint of cracked peppercorns gently vibrating away in the background. 

Little Book Chapter 6: To The Finish

As usual, this is a fascinating blend from Freddie Noe: 4-year-old straight malt whiskey finished with cherry wood staves, 4-year straight malt finished in applewood-smoked barrels, 4-year straight malt finished in hickory-smoked barrels, 4-year straight malt finished with maple wood staves, and 5-year Kentucky straight bourbon. That unprecedented blend comes together in the glass with wisps of sweet smoke aromas that wrap around decidedly fresh flashes of honey candies, white raisins, ganache-drizzled dried apricots, and hints of cherries, all joined by melted chocolate, before wood-tinged flavors of wild berries, candied red apples, and cracked green peppercorns that inform a subtle meatiness, with lingering notes of warm maple through the finish. This 2022 release is a worthy addition to the Little Book family.

Michter’s Limited Release Toasted Barrel Finish Kentucky Sour Mash Whiskey



In a world of special and limited editions that regularly chime in at seriously high proof (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), this is a modest 86 proof—just 43% alcohol by volume. But what a serious whiskey it is, redolent of toasted multigrain bread and nutmeg, with cinnamon stick and bergamot alongside nectarine pits, carob, graham crackers, and cacao nibs, all finishing with distinct notes of orange oils expressed atop espresso, which lingers through the long, caramel-corn finish.

Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2022

Old Forester

Old Forester

The 22nd release of the clamored-for expression, this is comprised of 11-year-old barrels that sing with distinct notes of orange oils, espresso beans, high-toned spice, bergamot and hints of halvah, and a finish that sings an aria of candied apples and warm brown sugar flecked with candied ginger. Grab it if you can find it!

Orphan Barrel Copper Tongue Cask Strength 16 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

This is the first cask-strength bourbon released by Orphan Barrel. It’s crafted at the legendary Cascade Hollow Distillery, home of George Dickel, Cascade Moon, and, most importantly, Master Distiller Nicole Austin. This well-aged gem is full of notes of peanut butter, tahina, banana bread, woodsy spice, roasted nuts, and dried fruit, all of it impeccably balanced and generous, spiced with sweet vanilla and caramel, and remarkably complex. This is fantastic, and worth searching for. And notice the proof here: Its cask strength arrives at just 44.9% alcohol, making this a dangerously easy-to-drink bottling.

Reservoir Distillery Maison de Cuivre Bourbon Whiskey Finished in a Wine Cask

Reservoir Distillery Maison de Cuivre Bourbon Whiskey

Adam Ewing

Distilled and bottled in Richmond, Virginia, this showcases distinct currant aromas that are joined by salted caramel and set the stage for a taut, mineral-driven whiskey in which wood and grape tannins frame an unexpectedly spicy Bourbon with a well-defined core of corn bread and toffee. Fascinating, and worth looking for.

Russell’s Reserve Single Rickhouse Limited Release Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Matured on the third and fourth floors of Camp Nelson C, this barrel-proof, non-chill-filtered stunner is so velvety on the palate, each sip dripping with brown-sugar caramel, butterscotch, milk chocolate, cafe mocha, toasted coconut, and dehydrated pears. It lingers for a seeming eternity, maintaining fantastic balance all the way through. Another home run release from Russell’s Reserve.

Westland Distillery Garryanna American Single Malt Whiskey

Highly limited to a release of 5,922 bottles, this fascinating whiskey is powerful and wonderfully layered with notes of honey-drizzled graham crackers, lemon pepper, and a hint of white licorice alongside gently caramelized apricots and nectarines. It’s excellent.

Westward American Two Malts x Fort George Brewery Cavatica Stout

Westward Cask Strength

Liquor.com / Laura Sant

This partnership with the Astoria, Oregon-based brewery has led to a standout whiskey with pancakes, cinnamon pudding, vanilla crème, cafe mocha, and salted butterscotch, as well as a hint of hazelnut through the long finish.

WhistlePig The Boss Hog VIII: Lapulapu’s Pacific Straight Rye Whiskey Finished in Single-Island Philippine Rum Barrels

WhistlePig Whiskey

WhistlePig Whiskey

This is one to savor, a whiskey of brilliant complexity, with salted caramel, molasses, caramelized coconut, cracked peppercorns, tangerine marmalade, chocolate-banana bread, candied ginger, cinnamon candies, and a very long, toffee-flecked finish that lingers with exquisite balance and depth. The finishing in single-island Philippine rum barrels has been done with serious care and attention to detail…just as we’ve come to expect from The Boss Hog series of annual releases.

Widow Jane The Vaults 2022

This year, The Vaults is made of a blend of 14-year-old to 19-year-old straight bourbon that was then mingled and finished in three-year-old Missouri oak and brought back to 99 proof. The liquid is majestic: Dense and layered, with chocolate-coated candied orange peels, orange and lemon marmalade, candied ginger, sweet cedar and cigar tobacco, and espresso dusted with cinnamon. This lingers brilliantly on the palate. 

Red Hook Whiskey

Window Jane

Wild Turkey Master’s Keep “Unforgotten”

Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey

Crafted from 13-year-old bourbon and 8- and 9-year-old ryes, the blend was then finished in rye casks. The result is delicious: Woodsy and savory on the nose yet with an underpinning of dried autumn orchard fruit, this turns more incisive and almost mineral on the palate, with a sizzle of pink peppercorn lending spice to dried white figs, spun sugar, cooked honey, and star anise. 

Woodinville Moscatel Finished Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Woodinville Moscatel Finished Straight Bourbon Whiskey


This limited release from the standout Washington State producer embodies the concept (consciously or not) of the perfect dessert or nightcap whiskey with drama and elegance. It drips with lemon peel candies, ginger drops, lemon-blossom honey, caramelized nectarines, white licorice enrobed in butterscotch, and fennel seeds, unexpectedly enough, especially through the gorgeous finish. 

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