Bartenders Weigh In On The Most Underrated Whiskeys
Published at: 02-08-2024
This post may contain affiliate links. If you wish to support us and use these links to buy something, we may earn a commission.
Bartenders Weigh In On The Most Underrated Whiskeys
Vinepair sought the insights of bartenders across the nation to unveil the unsung heroes within the whiskey category. Ranging from a bartender's preferred rye for crafting Manhattans to a smoky dram originating from the American Southwest, and a bourbon reminiscent of the comforting notes of apple pie, the recommendations reveal under-the-radar treasures that deserve consideration for your next whiskey purchase. Shop now!
Wild Turkey Rare Breed Bourbon
Wild Turkey Rare Breed stands out as a distinctive "barrel proof bourbon," distinguishing itself by forgoing any added water to reduce proof or temper flavor post-distillation. This bourbon is a harmonious blend of Wild Turkey's 6, 8, and 12-year-old stocks, resulting in a remarkably smooth and rich flavor profile that reflects the unique character of its diverse maturation periods. Buy it now!
Del Bac Dorado
In 2006, Stephen Paul and his daughter Amanda embarked on a seemingly unconventional journey—crafting Single Malt Whisky in the arid landscape of the Southwest United States. Their venture, Hamilton Distillers, began with experiments on a small alembic pot-still from Portugal. By 2011, armed with a forty-gallon still, they officially formed Hamilton Distillers and expanded their production capabilities. Located in Tucson, Arizona, they now house a 500-gallon still, managing every aspect of production on-site, from malting to bottling. Drawing inspiration from the region's penchant for using mesquite wood in smoking, Whiskey Del Bac Mesquite Smoked Dorado Single Malt brings a unique Arizona twist to the traditional Scottish technique, offering a distinctive flavor profile at 45% ABV without chill filtration. Buy it now!
Larceny Small Batch Bourbon
The Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon, steeped in historical legacy, traces its roots back to John E. Fitzgerald, a post-Civil War distiller who founded a distillery along the Kentucky River. Fitzgerald's Old Fitzgerald Bourbon, renowned for its quality, eventually landed in the hands of Julian P. "Pappy" Van Winkle, sealing its fate as one of the world's most celebrated bourbons. Larceny pays homage to Fitzgerald's discerning taste and the Old Fitzgerald brand, incorporating a unique mash of corn, wheat, malted barley, and rye. Distilled in Kentucky limestone water and fermented with a proprietary yeast strain, Larceny honors tradition by choosing wheat as its secondary grain, creating a distinctive and flavorful bourbon. Buy it now for $30.99.
Old Grand Dad 114 Bourbon
Introduced in 1882, Old Grand-Dad Kentucky Straight Bourbon 114 PF has stood the test of time, gaining renewed popularity among a younger generation of bourbon enthusiasts who are rediscovering vintage bourbons. Known for its distinctive flavor profile, this expression is crafted with a higher proportion of rye, contributing to a lighter and spicier taste. With a robust proof of 114, this Kentucky straight bourbon offers a unique and enduring character that has captivated whiskey drinkers throughout its long history. Buy it now!
Old Forester 100 Rye
Old Forester Rye, presented in a generous 1-liter size, offers a versatile and robust addition to your whiskey collection. Bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV), this rye whiskey hails from Kentucky and is crafted by the Old Forester Distilling Co. With its higher proof, Old Forester Rye not only complements various cocktails but also boasts a bold and distinctive character when enjoyed neat. Elevate your tasting experience with this expression that seamlessly blends craftsmanship and tradition. Buy it now!
Redbreast 12 Year Old
Redbreast 12 Year Old stands as a harmoniously balanced pure pot still Irish Whiskey, characterized by a warm and generous texture, accompanied by rich, sweet flavors and a subtle spicy kick. Widely regarded by many connoisseurs as the finest Irish whiskey, it earned the top prize in its category at the World Whisky Awards 2010. Further adding to its accolades, Jim Murray named it Irish Whiskey of the Year in the Whisky Bible 2010, awarding it an impressive score of 96 points. This expression exemplifies the excellence and craftsmanship that has solidified Redbreast's reputation in the world of whiskey. Buy it now!
Glenfarclas 12 Year Old
Glenfarclas, a revered name in Highland Single Malt Whisky, translates to "valley of the green grass" in Gaelic, echoing its picturesque Banffshire setting. Established in 1836 and acquired by the Grant family in 1865, it stands as one of Scotland's few independent, family-owned distilleries. Renowned for Speyside-style Whiskies with a Sherry influence, Glenfarclas sets itself apart by aging exclusively in Oloroso and Fino Sherry casks from day one. The Glenfarclas 12 Year Old, or "blasta" in Gaelic, offers a premium Scotch experience, maturing entirely in these exquisite Sherry casks. A distinctive choice for those seeking a rich and flavorful 12-year dram. Buy it now!
Wilderness Trail Straight Rye Whiskey
Wilderness Trail Rye Whiskey stands as a testament to small-batch craftsmanship, offering a distinctive Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey experience under the Bottled in Bond designation. This premium spirit is meticulously distilled, aged, and bottled in Danville, Kentucky, showcasing the artistry of Wilderness Trail. Crafted with a mash bill featuring 56% rye, 33% corn, and 11% malted barley, along with the distillery's unique yeast strains, this rye mash bill prioritizes a harmonious balance of flavors. Aged for a minimum of four years in #4 char barrels on the upper floors of the barrel house, the rye enters the barrel at a low 110 proof, maximizing flavor development and wood interaction. The result is an unfiltered rye whiskey, rich and nuanced, revealing notes of baking spices, clove, and a herbaceous bouquet reminiscent of candied flowers and Earl Grey tea. Wilderness Trail Rye Whiskey is a true delight for connoisseurs seeking a refined and flavorful expression. Buy it now!
Nashville Barrel Company
Nashville Barrel Company's Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey, specifically designated as the 'California Exclusive,' boasts a formidable proof of 118.72, translating to an impressive alcohol by volume (Alc/Vol) of 59.36%. This robust bourbon expression promises a potent and flavorful experience, showcasing the distinct characteristics shaped by its cask strength. With a proof that reflects the intensity of the spirit, this California Exclusive release from Nashville Barrel Company is likely to captivate bourbon enthusiasts seeking a bold and unbridled whiskey encounter. Buy it now!
Mellow Corn Kentucky Straight Corn Whiskey stands out as a distinctive and cult-favorite spirit cherished by bartenders and whiskey enthusiasts alike. As a certified Bottle-In-Bond product, it adheres to specific regulations, characterizing it as straight corn whiskey. Distilled from a mash containing a minimum of 81% corn and matured for four years in a once-used bourbon barrel, Mellow Corn exhibits a pale, straw-colored appearance with enticing aromas of oak and delicate spice. Boasting a full-bodied and textured profile, it offers a harmonious blend of spiced sweetness. With a robust 100 proof, this unique whiskey is ideal for sipping on the rocks or crafting into your preferred soda or whiskey-based cocktails. Notably, Mellow Corn received acclaim by winning Best American Whiskey Non-Bourbon at the 2015 World Whiskies Awards. Buy it now!
Slane Irish Whiskey
Slane Irish Whiskey Triple Casked Blend is a masterfully crafted and robust blended whiskey, offering a smooth and intricate experience with every sip. Bringing together grain and malt whiskeys, this Irish whiskey showcases the distinct flavors imparted by three casks. Delight your senses with nuanced notes of vanilla, banana, butterscotch, dried stone fruits, subtle baking spice, and a lingering finish of caramelized wood sugar. Each sip unveils the complex character and layers of this exceptional whiskey. Whether enjoyed neat in your preferred whiskey glass or used to create enticing cocktails such as the Slane Cold Brew, Espresso Martini, or River Boyne Fizz, this whiskey combines traditional craftsmanship with modern innovation, inviting you to honor the legacy and sip responsibly. Buy it now!
New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
New Riff Distilling's core Bourbon expression is a robust and high-rye whiskey that delivers a full-bodied and savory character with a touch of spice. Adhering to the high standards set by America's 1897 Bottled-in-Bond Act, this bourbon is crafted without chill filtration, ensuring a premium and unadulterated experience. The mash bill features non-GMO grains, including 65% corn, 30% rye, and 5% malted barley, offering a unique take on Kentucky's esteemed whiskey traditions. Aged for four years in 53-gallon toasted and charred new oak barrels, New Riff Bourbon reflects a commitment to quality without any shortcuts in the production process. Buy it now!
Noah's Mill Small Batch Bourbon
Noah's Mill, crafted by the Willet Distillery, stands as a remarkable Bourbon, a homage to Kentucky's post-Revolutionary War pioneers who distilled excess corn into precious spirits. This small-batch, rare gem marries different Bourbons, creating a harmonious blend with unmatched depth and complexity. Aged for two decades in solitude, it emerges bottled at 114 proof in limited batches, defying expectations with its smoothness and lack of afterbite. This exceptional spirit, boasting spicy flavors and sweet, creamy aromas, earned the Double Gold Medal at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a notable 93 points from Jim Murray. Truly, it's a testament to high-class sorcery. Buy it now!
Neversink Select Bourbon
Neversinks Select Cask Finished Bourbon, a 750ML delight with a proof of 90 (45% ABV), emanates a subtle sweetness that beautifully concludes each impeccable sip. Crafted in the United States at the Neversink Spirits Distillery. Buy it now!
Elijah Craig Bourbon Small Batch
The Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon stands out as a remarkable value, offering an exceptional experience for bourbon enthusiasts. The inviting bouquet opens with delightful aromas of honey, sweet corn, vanilla, and brown sugar, setting the stage for what unfolds on the equally luscious palate. This bourbon strikes a perfect balance, combining boldness with smoothness, as flavors of honey, vanilla, and molasses take center stage, complemented by a subtle dry oakiness. Whether savored neat or with a touch of water, Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon delivers a memorable and satisfying drinking experience. Buy it now for $22.99.
Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey
Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey, a 93-proof creation, undergoes the entire process of distillation, aging, and bottling under the meticulous care of Uncle Nearest. Curated by Victoria Eady Butler, a fifth-generation descendant of Nearest Green and a four-time Master Blender of the Year, each batch represents a testament to expertise and heritage. Buy it now!
Dovetail, a meticulously crafted blend, accentuates our preferred flavors – rich woody bourbon, terroir-driven Dunn Cabernet, toasted French oak, Late Bottled Vintage Port pipes, and black strap molasses casks – all harmonizing to yield a buttery and profound whiskey that is both distinctive and delightful. The intricate process, spanning almost a year from blending to labeling, culminates in a seemingly flawless point. Limited releases of Dovetail are produced using the same ingredients and process, with each bottling exhibiting proof variations. Buy it now!
Compass Box Glasgow Blend Scotch Whisky
Glasgow Blend, characterized by a high single malt content, delivers astonishing flavor and complexity, embodying the versatility of a Blended Scotch Whisky. Inspired by Glaswegians' historical preference for fuller-bodied and flavor-packed whiskies, it presents a full, rich, and smoky palate with notes of baking spices and sherry wine. Perfect for sipping neat, with a splash of water, or over ice, Glasgow Blend also excels in classic Highballs or various cocktails. Noteworthy accolades include Gold at the World Whiskies Awards 2020, Silver at Whiskies of the World 2020, and a commendable 93 Points from Whisky Advocate in Fall 2020. Buy it now!
Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon
Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Straight Bourbon Whiskey, housed in an elegant bottle sealed with a black wax-finished cork stopper, showcases a distinctive label reflecting the meticulous craftsmanship involved in its production. This 750ML spirit, with a proof of 86.6 (43.3% ABV), originates from the United States and is crafted at the Evan Williams Distillery. Buy it now!