I constantly get asked which whiskies I like best. Naming the best whiskies in any category is subjective at best, and every year it becomes harder to choose as overall quality improves in the whiskey industry. Still, some whiskies just rise to the top and deserve recognition. In some categories, there are great quality whiskies at a number of price points, and when that has occurred, I've named two whiskies in that category. These are all fantastic whiskies and any of these whiskies would make a great gift for the whiskey enthusiast in your life.
Bourbon of the Year
Under $50 Bulleit bourbon. Bulleit has the highest percentage of rye (17) of any bourbon on the market, giving it a great spicy flavor. This bourbon is a great value for being under $30 a bottle.
Over $50 Parker's Heritage Collection Golden Anniversary Edition Featuring samples of bourbon from each of Parker Beam's 5 decades of distilling, this is the ultimate expression of bourbon. Not only is this the best bourbon that I've tasted this year, it's the best bourbon that I've ever had. It doesn't come cheap, but the best things in life never do.
Rye Whiskey of the Year
Under $50 Mckenzie rye. This newcomer from upstate New York features a nose of fresh baked biscuits and wonderful maple and brown sugar flavors on the palate. One of the best American craft whiskies ever produced, if you enjoy rye whiskey, don't miss out on Mackenzie rye.
Over $50 Rittenhouse 25 year rye. The oldest offering of Rittenhouse ever released, this is a rye for contemplating on a cold winter night. Amazingly complex, the typical bite of the rye is tempered with age and complex notes of tobacco, walnuts and old leather come through. The perfect rye whiskey for a good cigar.
Wheat Whiskey of the Year
Dry Fly Washington wheat whiskey. Not easy to find, but Dry Fly's wheat whiskey is worth the search. 100Washington state wheat makes for a complex and interesting whiskey with notes of fresh baked orange scones, cinnamon and Juicy Fruit gum.
Corn Whiskey of the Year
Glen Thunder Corn whiskey. Corn whiskies aren't the most subtle of whiskies, but this offering by Finger Lakes distilling just nosed out Balcones Baby Blue as my favorite corn whiskey of the year. Crisp and smooth, I generally prefer to mix corn whiskies, but both Glen Thunder and Balcones have a wonderful cornbread-like quality that makes them easy to drink on their own.
American Craft Whiskey of the Year
House Spirits Whiskey. 100malted barley, just the right amount of oak and a master distillers perfect touch resulted in the best small batch craft whiskey on the market.
American Single Malt whisky
McCarthy's Oregon Single Malt whisky. 3 years old, peaty and exceptionally smooth, this is a great example of single malt whisky anywhere in the world.