Best American Single Malt Whiskey
 

American Single Malt Whiskey

 

The Fifty Best American Malt Whiskey Tasting

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 16 American malt whiskies with twelve members of our spirits judging panel. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Strict tasting rules were applied. Each of the whiskies were poured into fresh glasses from newly-opened sealed bottles and served at room temperature. Only ice water, neutral unflavored crackers and chips were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions on score sheets. 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. Medals are provided based entirely on merit and only to products judged worthy of such award.

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. Clicking on the brands' names will link to their websites.



DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNER

Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey
Release 039

(Copperworks Distilling Co., WA)  100° proof
100% malted barley.
Aged minimum 3 years in new American oak casks.

Nose: Caramel, butterscotch, chocolate, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, butter, vanilla, marzipan, honey, dried orange peel, orange zest, tropical fruit, almond cookies, barley, malt, coffee, peat, oak, lightly woody, light burnt wood.
Palate: Toffee, dark chocolate, sweet vanilla, marzipan, honey, burnt honey, papaya, guava, cherry, lychee, baked plantain, orange, orange peel, spiced orange, citrus, ginger, elderflower, floral, herbaceous, almond, coffee, malt, roasted malt, spicy, peat, light smoke, oaky, sherry note, well-balanced, complex, bright, creamy, rich.
Finish: Honey, brown sugar, cooked peaches, raisin, mixed fruit, orange peel, malt, mint, coffee, cinnamon, clove, allspice, spicy, peppery, smoke, oaky, woody, sherry, Old Fashioned cocktail, balanced, complex, so savory, delicious.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Modisett & Sons Single Malt Whisky
(TX)   100° proof
100% malted barley.
Aged 1 year in second-run American oak whisky barrels.

Aroma: Butterscotch, brown sugar, mocha, cream, vanilla, banana, honey, dried fruit, pineapple, apple, honeysuckle, heather, agave, ginger, olive oil, cloves, malt, toasty, char, oak.
Palate: Caramel, buttery, creamy, vanilla, honey, dried apricot, dried stone fruit, figs, orange, orange peel, lemon peel, ginger, elderflower, malt, barley, cloves, sweet spice, spicy, pepper, vegetal, briny, dried leaves, light peat, char, oak, balanced, zesty.
Finish: Toffee, raisin, dried apricot, orange, fig, echoes of orchard fruit, malt, spice, pepper, hot & sour, briny, smoke, oak, balanced, light & right, smooth, flavorful.

Gold Medal
Gold medal




Modisett & Sons Single Malt Whisky



Boulder Spirits American Single Malt Whisky
Peated Malt

(Vapor Distillery, CO)  92° proof
100% malted barley.
Aged 2 years in new #3 char American white oak barrels.

Aroma: Rich caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, raisin, orange marmalade, orange peel, orange, light coffee, clove, peppery, leather, peat, musty, smoky, dark wood, woody, oak.
Palate: Toffee, melted chocolate, salted chocolate nugget, cocoa, vanilla, honey, raisin, dark cherry, red berries, plum, orange peel, citrus, anise, hint of mint, spice, pepper, white pepper, black pepper, BBQ smoke, leather, tobacco leaf, peaty, smoke, burnt wood, oak, sherry, rich, elegant.
Finish: Caramel, toffee, smoked chocolate spice, lingering cocoa, raisins, dried apricot, dried fruits, orange zest, citrus, minty kiss, cinnamon, allspice, clove, spicy, peppery, smoke, mild, briny, oak, balanced, rye-like, stays dry, clean, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Boulder Spirits American Single Malt Whisky Peated Malt



Del Bac American Single Malt Whiskey Classic
(Hamilton Distillers, AZ)  92° proof
Distilled from 100% malted barley.

Aroma: Caramel, buttery, cream, toffee, cocoa, maple syrup, honey, sweet figs, lingonberries, raisins, plum, pear, honey tea, sourdough, malt, roasted nuts, cinnamon, light leather, perfumed French oak, dried wood.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, bitter chocolate, honey, raisin, dried prune, dark cherry, dried orange, lemon, ginger, floral, malty, roasted nuts, hints of clove, baking spices, spicy, peppered, briny, hint of cedar, oak, cognac qualities, creamy, rich.
Finish: Bitter chocolate, honey, candied ginger, orange, orange peel, dried orange skin, lemon, clove, spicy, bitters, earthy, dusty, smoke, oak, cedar, complex, powerful, smoothes out, savory, perfect with a cigar.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Del Bac American Single Malt Whiskey Classic



Defiant American Single Malt Whisky
(Blue Ridge Distilling Co., NC)  82° proof
Distilled from 100% malted barley.

Aroma: Toffee, dark chocolate, caramel, burnt sugar, vanilla, honey, raisins, spiced oranges, grain, crushed walnuts, roasted cashews, nutty, fresh cut oak, peat, smoky.
Palate: Toffee, bitter chocolate, caramel, candied caramel, honey, candied apple, prunes, raisins, dried fruit, apricot, orange skin, lemon peel, lime, citrus, cereal, malty, almond, nutty, hints of coffee, cardamom, spices, peppery, hint of brine, oak, creamy mouthfeel, pleasant.
Finish: Toffee, caramel, cocoa powder, nutty, raisins, dried orange skin, cardamom, pepper, black pepper, spicy, spice forward, touch of smoke, smooth, soft creamy finish, very pretty.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Defiant American Single Malt Whisky



Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky
Bourbon Cask

(Virginia Distilling Co., VA)  92° proof
Distilled from 100% malted barley. Aged minimum 3 years.

Aroma: Caramel, toffee, treacle, cocoa, vanilla bean, honey, banana, tropical fruit, dried fruit, tangerine, orange peel, light lemon, ginger, walnut, nutmeg, cinnamon, light malt, wood, oak.
Palate: Toffee, brown sugar, sweet orange jam, orange zest, dried orange, orange skin/oil, lemon peel, apple donuts, grainy, floral, mint, dried leaves, nutty, clove, white pepper, peppery, malt, light peat, iodine, briny, smoky, woody, oak, creamy, smooth, savory.
Finish: Light honey, lingering tropical fruit, dried orange skin, lemon peel, mountain flower, dried leaves, mint, clove, spicy, pepper, black pepper, maritime, smoky, oak, wood notes, balanced, powerful.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky Bourbon Cask



Caiseal Peated American Single Malt Whiskey
(Caiseal Beer & Spirits Co., VA)  100° proof
Distilled from 100% peat-smoked malted barley.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, cream, blackberry, floral, anise, cinnamon, clove, iodine, brine, maritime, peat bogs, campfire, smoke, woody, perfumed oak.
Palate: Chocolate, dark chocolate, cocoa, honey, raisins, orange, green apple, anise, herbal, almonds, nutty, cinnamon, spice, pepper, iodine, briny, peat, oak, smoked cedar, wood smoke, rich, creamy.
Finish: Dark chocolate, burnt chocolate, toffee, honey, herbal, mint, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, peppery, crackers, peat, wood, oak, smoke, balanced heat, delicate, pleasant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Caiseal Peated American Single Malt Whiskey



Cloudsplitter Straight Single Malt Whisky
(High Peaks Distilling, NY)  92° proof
Distilled from 100% local malted barley.
Aged 4 yrs. in European sherry oak barrels.

Aroma: Caramel, toffee, dark sugar, chocolate, Milk Duds, nougat, banana cream, orange peel, orange flower, woody, oak.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, cocoa, creamy mocha, demerara sugar, honey, clover honey, stewed fruit, cherry, dried orange, orange peel, citrus, anise, tarragon, cloves, cinnamon, spice, peppery, smoky, wood, oak, rich.
Finish: Caramel, cream, dark chocolate, candied, raisins, dark cherry, plum, orange, tea tree oil, tarragon, clove, black pepper, deli bread, light peat, smoky, wood notes, oak, crisp, lively, smooth, creamy, rich, savory.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Cloudsplitter Straight Single Malt Whisky



Sound Shore American Single Malt Whiskey
(Sound Shore Distillery, NY)  80° proof
Distilled from 100% malted NYS two-row barley.
Aged in new American oak barrels.

Aroma: Dark chocolate, whiskey-soaked raisins, raisins, blueberries, orange peel, orange, citrus, green apple, star anise, oats, cooked cereal, sourdough, corn chips, malty, almond slices, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, earth, oak, buttery.
Palate: Dark chocolate, nougat, orange peel, lemon, citrus, dried citrus, ginger, green apple, green banana, lemon, floral, almond, tortilla chips, cereal, malty, green beans, grassy, jalapeño, clove, cinnamon, spice, leather, tobacco, brine, peat, earth, oak, woody, burnt wood.
Finish: Dried plantain, almond, walnut, clove, hot pepper, peaty, tannic, woodsy, oak, char, smoke, touch of heat, sherry, soft, mellow, elegant, easy to drink.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Sound Shore American Single Malt Whiskey



Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky
(Virginia Distilling Co., VA)  92° proof
Distilled from 100% malted barley. Aged minimum 3 years.

Aroma: Caramel, toffee, chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla, custard, honey, peach/apricot, apple peel, dried pear, orange, orange peel, almond, cinnamon, toasted oak.
Palate: Caramel, chocolate, dark chocolate, honey, ripe plum, dried apricot, pear, orange peel, citrus, anise, ginger, grassy, black tea leaves, dried leaves, almond, nutty, malt, coffee, spicy, pepper, leather, cigar box, oak.
Finish: Lingering chocolate, treacle, banana, malt, steeped black tea, tobacco leaf, mint, cinnamon, spicy, peppery, leather, smoke, oak, well balanced, complex, smooth, savory.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Boulder Spirits American Single Malt Whisky
Bottled-in-Bond

(Vapor Distillery, CO)   100° proof
Distilled from 100% malted barley. Aged 4 years in new #3 char American white oak barrels.

Aroma: Caramel, toffee, chocolate, dark chocolate, creamy, vanilla, raisin, cherry, plum, pineapple, banana peel, orange peel, citrus, floral, almond, malt, oak, toasted oak, wood, char.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, sweet cream, chocolate, bitter chocolate, brown sugar, raisin, plum, apple, orange peel, licorice, mint, cinnamon, spicy, malt, tannins, oak, wood, rich, smooth, savory.
Finish: Caramel, toffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, honey, licorice, anise, bitter herbs, cinnamon, baking spice, spicy, peppery, nutty, black mushroom, funky, briny, smoke, light oak.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Boulder Spirits American Single Malt Whisky



Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky
Sherry Cask

(Virginia Distilling Co., VA)   92° proof
Distilled from 100% malted barley. Aged minimum 3 years.

Aroma: Cream, butter, honey, banana, pineapple, dried fruit, orgeat, orange peel, citrus blossoms, floral, almond, light grain, malt, maritime, peat, light toast, wood, oak.
Palate: Melted chocolate, white chocolate, vanilla, honey, lemon jam, lemon pith, citrus, green banana, floral, toasted almond, nutty, baked rye, black tea, mint, spices, pepper, briny, peat, earth, char, smoked wood, toasted wood, cedar, oaky, delicate, creamy, savory.
Finish: Chocolate, cocoa, treacle, brown sugar, vanilla, honey, dried apricot, orange zest, citrus, clove, steeped black tea, tannic, peat, smoke, wood, oak, cedar, rich, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky Sherry Cask



Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey
(Santa Fe Spirits, NM)   92° proof
Distilled from 100% mesquite-kilned malted barley.
Aged in once-used American white oak bourbon barrels.
cuvée & bourbon casks.

Aroma: Caramel, buttery, vanilla, cocoa, honeycomb, burnt orange, raisins, green apple, apple pectin, citrus, floral, lightly herbal, licorice, cinnamon, clove, baking spices, salt, salty air, smoked bacon, smoke, oak, aromatic.
Palate: Caramel, salted toffee, treacle, vanilla, raisin, star anise, tangerine, citrus, green banana, licorice, roasted sweet nuts, walnut, coffee, cayenne pepper, peppery, salty, peat, smoke, smoked bacon, smoked hickory, charred wood, oak, rich.
Finish: Dark chocolate, coffee, lingering orange, apple, anise, mint, peanuts, nutty, pepper, black pepper, spicy, peat, earthy, briny, smoky, woody, cedar, oak, pleasant.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey



Caiseal Single Malt Whiskey
(Caiseal Beer & Spirits Co., VA)   90° proof
Distilled from 100% pale ale malt.
Aged 1 year in charred oak barrels.

Aroma: Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, cinnamon, dried apricot, dried fruit, tropical fruit, banana, pear, citrus, floral, herbal, almond, bread, coffee, spice, briny, oak, Old Fashioned cocktail.
Palate: Hint of chocolate, Confectioners’ sugar, honey, dried cherry, dried fig, apricot, yellow plantain, orange, citrus, orange peel, peppers, floral, herbal, wintergreen menthol, cinnamon, clove, nutty, malty, leather, briny, earthy, smoky, oak, slight cedar, creamy.
Finish: Lingering vanilla, dried pear, dried orange peel, ginger, yellow plantain chips, cooked barley, toasted nuts, anise, mint, herbal, cinnamon, light pepper, oak, woody, smoky, heavy char.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Caiseal Single Malt Whiskey



Bear Fight American Single Malt Whiskey
(Next Century Spirits, NC)   90° proof
Limited release. Aged minimum 3 years.

Aroma: Toffee, dark chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla, angel cake, honey, ripe banana, red apple, raisins, golden raisins, orange peel, orange, floral, ginger, churros, crackers, grain, almond, nutmeg, leather, oak.
Palate: Dried apricot, dried apple, dried pear, honey, ripe banana, figs, orange peel, ginger, grain, malt, mocha, coffee, mint, spice forward, some iodine, brine, peat, smoky notes, char, oak, creamy, pleasant.
Finish: Barley, grain, raisins, cinnamon stick, clove, spice forward, white pepper, black pepper, smoky, woody, oak, above average, soft, smooth, rich, flavorful.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Bear Fight American Single Malt Whiskey



Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky
Cuvée Cask

(Virginia Distilling Co., VA)   92° proof
Distilled from 100% malted barley. Aged minimum 3 years.

Aroma: Caramel, molasses, butter, cream, vanilla, honey, citrus candy, fruit jam, stone fruit, spiced figs, Graham cracker, cereal, grain, almond, peanut shells, mint, cinnamon, maritime, earthy, cedar, woody.
Palate: Caramel, toffee, salted toffee, raisin, strawberry, cherry, marmalade, orange peel, orange, lemon peel, citrus, apple, herbal, mint, bitters, black tea, dried grass, baking spices, spicy, peppery, salty, brine, peat, smoke, char, burnt wood, cedar, oaky, creamy, soft.
Finish: Caramel, dark chocolate, cocoa, apple, apple skin, lemon, citrus, ginger, mint, cinnamon, peppery, residual pepper, tannic, light brine, peaty, smoke bomb, oak, different, tight & right, soft, delicate.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky Cuvée Cask

 

 

 

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