Best American Single Malt Whiskey
 

Best American Single Malt Whiskey

 

The Fifty Best American Single Malt Whiskey Tasting of 2019

 


The Tasting: The Fifty Best held a "blind" tasting of 10 American malt whiskies with sixteen members of our spirits judging panel. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the malt whiskies were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. Judges were provided with eye droppers for the option of adding water. Only ice water, neutral unflavored crackers and chips were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the highest. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no Bronze medals awarded for this tasting. The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The states of origin, distilleries and alcohol proofs are identified for each brand.



DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Glen Fargo American Malt Whiskey
Single Barrel Select

(Proof Artisan Distillers, ND)
Aged 3 years. 97° proof

Nose: Caramel, brown sugar, sweet cream, vanilla, honey, apricots, dried fruits, sweet potato, vegetal, honeyed grain, orange peel, citrus, rose hips, mint, clove, allspice, nutmeg, garden bush, sandy field, earthy, wood, oaky.
Palate: Caramel, maple, vanilla, honey, honeysuckle, raisins, sweet potato, lemony, citrus, spicy cream, malty, fennel seed, anise, nutty, clove, cinnamon, soft pepper, peppery, white peppercorn, mossy, wormwood, stone, smoky, woody, oaky, cedar.
Finish: Caramel, vanilla, dried apricots, herbaceous, anise, clove, lingering spice, spicy, pepper, peppery, nutty, woody, balanced, soft, smooth, elegant, delicious.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



   Glen Fargo American Malt Whiskey Single Barrel Select



Sugar House American Single Malt Whiskey
(Sugar House Distillery, UT)
100% malted barley. 92° proof

Nose: Chocolate, dark chocolate, honey, dried apple, ginger, toasted grains, wheat, malty, clove, spice, white peppercorn, anise, mint, moss, soil, earthy, briny, ash, peaty, woody, new wood, new white oak, oak, cedar, fresh cedar shavings, leather, sherry.
Palate: Caramel, chocolate, dark chocolate, molasses, vanilla, orange blossom honey, dried apricots, dark fruits, orange peel, citrus, wheat, anise, mint, dried parsley, cinnamon, clove, allspice, peppery, briny, subtle smoke, raw wood, oak, cedar, sherry, Bunnahabhain scotch, layers of flavor.
Finish: Caramel, toffee, chocolate, light chocolate, vanilla, honey, orange peel, Cracklin’ Oat Bran, coffee, cinnamon, clove, paprika, light pepper, black pepper, saline, briny, light smoke, tannic, wood, cedar, oak, well balanced, great for a Manhattan cocktail, tasty, lovely, perfect.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



   Sugar House American Single Malt Whiskey



Wheatfish Single Malt Whiskey
(Glacier Distilling, MT)
Aged 29 months. 90° proof

Nose: Caramel, toffee, burnt sugar, mocha, hints of chocolate, eggnog, cream, vanilla, dried cherries, cherry blossoms, floral, ginger, grain, coffee, green malt, leafy, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, tarragon, oak, perfumy, aromatic.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, taffy, chocolate milk, creamy, eggnog, vanilla, honey, dried cherries, dried figs, citrus, orange peel, cereal, grain, barley, malty, hay, mint, clove, nutmeg, spice, pepper, smoke, green wet oak, deep wood, woody, cedar, oak, beautiful dryness, silky mouthfeel.
Finish: Caramel, creamy, taffy, light cocoa, maple syrup, dates, orange zest, mint, clove, caraway, spicy, white pepper, peppery, bark, cedar, silky, rich, savory, great, classic finish.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Wheatfish Single Malt Whiskey



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Cloudsplitter Straight Single Malt Whiskey
(High Peaks Distilling, NY)
Aged 2 years. 92° proof

Nose: Caramel, dark caramel, treacle, browned butter, brown sugar, creamy, vanilla, raw honey, banana, raisins, dried fruit, orange peel, floral, mint, cola nut, cereal, sweet grains, spice, clove. coffee, leather, musty, slight smoke, cedar.
Palate: Caramel, chocolate, creamy, vanilla, prunes, doughy, orange, orange peel, citrus, floral, vegetal, red pepper, almonds, mint, spicy, cinnamon, malty, peaty, white peppercorn, leather, briny, earth, peaty, smoky, burnt oak, oak, woody, cedar, extra smooth.
Finish: Caramel, vanilla, lingering honey, cinnamon, clove, spicy, white pepper, peppery, fennel seeds, stone, briny, smoke, woody, oak, cedar, Dewar’s scotch, big, velvety.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Cloudsplitter Straight Single Malt Whiskey



Courage & Conviction Prelude
American Single Malt Whisky

(Virginia Distillery Co., VA)
Aged minimum of 3 years in sherry, cuvée & bourbon casks. 92° proof

Nose: Toffee, chocolate, nougat, butter, brown sugar, light cane sugar, white sugar, maple, vanilla, honey, candied fruit, sweet corn, red apple, Fuji apples, Asian pear, citrus, almond, eucalyptus, wintergreen, spearmint, menthol, clove, briny, oak, Chinese sorghum liquor, like scotch from Speyside, bright.
Palate: Chocolate, dark chocolate, vanilla, honey, banana, grape, MacIntosh apple, lemon, light orange, citrus, ginger, almond, barley, malt, coffee, anise, mint, herby, fennel seed, cardamom, clove, smooth spice, jalapeño, spicy, salty, maritime, briny, smoky, woody, oak.
Finish: Cocoa, creamy, warm stewed apples, apple cider, herbal, grain, malt, banana leaves, lemon oil, fennel seed, cardamom, clove, green spicy pepper, spicy, woody, cedar, well balanced, Scotch-like, savory, fresh, elegant.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Courage & Conviction Prelude American Single Malt Whisky



117° West American Single Malt Whiskey
(117° West Spirits, CA)
Distilled from 100% California barley. Aged 6 months. 80° proof

Nose: Toffee, caramel, chocolate, dark chocolate, warm chocolate, burnt sugar, molasses, maple syrup, buttery, vanilla, honey, sweet grain, dough, raisins, dried dark fruit, orange peel, green apple, popcorn, mint, green pepper, clove, allspice, pepper, woody, oak.
Palate: Treacle, brown sugar, stroop, chocolate, vanilla, honey, creamy fruitiness, raisins, dark raisins, orange, orange peel, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon stick, cinnamon, baking spices, spicy, pepper, light pepper, mash, malty, peaty, smoky, woody, spicy, wood, oak.
Finish: Caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, touch of stroop, maple, creamy, vanilla, raisins, perfumy, spicy, pepper, peppery, tannic, briny, peaty, smoky, woody, oak, cedar, sherry, port, savory, appealing.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



117° West American Single Malt Whiskey



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Howlin’ Hounds Wee Heavy Malt Whiskey
(Missouri Ridge Distillery, MO)
80° proof

Nose: Toffee, caramel, treacle, chocolate, cocoa, cola, molasses, light maple, honey, green apple candy, dried figs, dried fruit, mango, tropical fruit, ginger, rose, pear, citrus, banana peel, green plantain, green leaves, mint, cinnamon, clove, straw, toasted nuts, leather, linseed oil, briny, wood, new wood, seasoned oak, oak, oak barrel, funky like an aged rum.
Palate: Caramel, dark chocolate, chocolate, Toblerone, cocoa, mocha, honey, vanilla, green apple Jolly Rancher, banana, pear, quince, citrus, corn, oatmeal, floral, clover, malt, raw almonds, clove, tobacco, roast, briny, smoky, woody, oak, cedar, creamy mouthfeel, smooth.
Finish: Milk chocolate, lingering chocolate, cocoa, creamy, caramel, taffy, cherry cola, vanilla, corn, malty, grain, coffee, mint, cinnamon, sweet spice, pepper, wood barrel, bright, flavorful.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Howlin’ Hounds Wee Heavy Malt Whiskey



Missouri Ridge Distillery American Single Malt Whiskey
(Missouri Ridge Distillery, MO)
Aged Aged 881 days. 90° proof

Nose: Chocolate, dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, butter rum candy, honey, lychee, pear, citrus, orange peel, rose, red bell pepper, green plantain, nutty, grain, light sweet grains, grassy, wet grass, minty, olive oil, earthy, young barrel, sherry.
Palate: Caramel, chocolate, treacle, cream, coconut cream, vanilla, honey, citrus, orange peel, anise, malty, dried leaves, herbaceous, nutty, clove, allspice, spice, chili, hot pepper, slight peat, burnt wood, wood, oaky, rum, smooth, savory.
Finish: Caramel, vanilla, hints of honey, Marcona almonds, nutty, clove, pepper, briny, smoky, woody, oak, perfumy, port, smooth, savory.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Missouri Ridge Distillery American Single Malt Whiskey



Door County Distillery Single Malt Whisky
(Door County Distillery, WI)
100% barley mash. 80° proof

Nose: Caramel, treacle, chocolate, toasted coconut, maple, Coca Cola, vanilla, clover honey, golden raisins, sweet corn, baker’s dough, wheat, orange peel, citrus, myrtle, nutmeg, a little funk, earthy, wet wood, woody, oak, cedar, sherry barrel.
Palate: Caramel, brown sugar, creamy, vanilla, honey, pineapple, ginger, citrus, orange peel, rose hips, rosewater, floral, strong herbal notes, parsley, anise, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, spicy, briny, peppery, some maritime, spicy wood, old wood, cedar wood, oak.
Finish: Vanilla, Swedish Fish candy, raisins, dried fruit, lingering citrus, anise, minty, pepper, creamy spice, sweet wood, oak, cedar, sweet barrel, smooth.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Door County Distillery Single Malt Whisky



Driftless Glen American Single Malt Whiskey
(Driftless Glen Distillery, WI)
Aged over 1 year. 100° proof

Nose: Dark toffee, chocolate, mocha, sugarcane, honey, Fig Newtons, orange peel, asparagus, brussels sprouts, dill, dill pickle, fried pickles, briny, dry leaves, musty, dusty, smoke, earthy, woodsy, cedar, wood.
Palate: Chocolate, milk chocolate, s’mores, vanilla, prune, cooked oranges, citrus, lemon zest, roasted grains, corn, green pepper, green grass, grassy, anise, cloves, pink peppercorn, dry leaves, briny, iodine, peaty, tannic, oaky, woody, cedar, viscous, lively.
Finish: Hot chocolate, chocolate covered prunes, malty, vanilla, honey, sherry, straw, hay, cinnamon, cloves, spices, peppery, white peppercorn, white pepper, saline, tannic, wood, oaked, soft, smooth, approachable, elegant.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Driftless Glen American Single Malt Whiskey

 

 

 

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