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lundi 17 août 2020

The World’s Best Bourbon And American Whiskey, According To International Wine & Spirit Competition

There’s a rhythm to the spirits year. Over the first half of the year, expressions are slowly released. The tempo builds throughout the spring, thanks to the big-drinking-energy (BDE) that summer brings with it. Then things really start to build in the fall, in anticipation of the holidays when people drink the most and give gifts (often bottles of booze). In the thick of all those releases, you have the awards community at work, mostly dropping accolades around sping and in the lead up to fall (right now).

All of which is meant to explain why we have yet another awards article today, expounding on the best bourbon and American whiskeys you can drink right now. The International Wine & Spirits Competition, as its name denotes, is worldwide. It also casts a very wide net when it comes to spirits and judges — utilizing industry experts for double-blind taste tests.

The eight bottles of bourbon and American whiskey below were each awarded a Gold Medal and Outstanding judgment. Some will be very familiar expressions while other bottles might be a little off-the-radar. Likewise, the prices range from easily obtainable this weekend to maybe once-in-a-lifetime buys.

Colonel E. H. Taylor Jr. Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Buffalo Trace

ABV: 50%
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY (Sazerac)
Average Price: $250

The Whiskey:

This is a true expression that honors its namesake, Colonel E. H. Taylor Jr. He was instrumental in the passing of the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. The juice is a classic bourbon that’s aged for exactly eleven years and seven months in an exact location in Buffalo Trace’s Warehouse C — a warehouse that was built under Taylor, Jr.’s supervision in 1881.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“A broodingly dark, intense nose of bitter chocolate, subtle rye, and balanced fresh fruit. Buttery smooth with elegant peach and touches of pepper, a nutty back palate, and refined spicy oak. Classical scotch typicity with an engagingly fruity finish.”

Bottom Line:

Unfortunately, this is a very limited expression due to it being a single barrel release with a long aging time (for bourbon). It’ll be hard to find a bottle. And when you do, it’ won’t be cheap. If you do get your hands on one, sip it with a drop of water or a single rock to truly enjoy the complexity of this single barrel.

High West Rendezvous Rye Whiskey

High West Distillery

ABV: 46%
Distillery: High West Distillery, Park City, UT
Average Price: $70

The Whiskey:

This Utah whiskey is sourced from MGP Indiana, and is a very high rye whiskey at 95 percent rye. The juice is also from Barton Distillery out in Kentucky, itself is a blend of a low rye and high rye mash bills. The rye that goes into the final product ages for anywhere from five to 19 years, giving this expression a serious depth of rye-ness.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“An expressively classic rye nose through a sweet outlook, imparting buttery ghee characteristics. Bold and peppery with complex dark chocolate, chili, and baking spice aromatics lifted by herbal high notes. Elegantly balanced with a lingeringly spicy, dry finish.”

Bottom Line:

I really like using this one as a cocktail base (price aside). It also works as a sipper on the rocks or in a highball.

George T. Stagg Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Buffalo Trace

ABV: 58.5%
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY (Sazerac)
Average Price: $500

The Whiskey:

This expression from Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection is a yearly release that keeps racking up awards. That limited availability and lauding means this one is going to both a) hard to find and b) very expensive.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“The epitome of elegance, with a defined and focused palate. A rich and rounded character with delectable flavors of banoffee, chocolate, and sweet baking spices. Great complexity with a bright citrus finish.”

Bottom Line:

This is a classic bourbon — don’t get me wrong — but I can’t imagine ever paying that much for it.

Eagle Rare 17 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Buffalo Trace

ABV: 50.5%
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY (Sazerac)
Average Price: $600

The Whiskey:

This is released along with George T. Stagg above every fall on the Antique Collection line. Like that expression and the Colonel further above, these barrels are stored in very specific spots in the Buffalo Trace warehouses for 17 years, imparting a distinct flavor profile into the spirit.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“A complex character of cedar, vanilla, and citrus, punctuated with hints of fresh peach and strawberry notes. Interesting and complex, the palate is focused and well-rounded. A strong, lingering finish of oak and candied fruits.”

Bottom Line:

Buy the Eagle Rare 10. If a rich relative or friend breaks the 17 out, drink as much as you can with a drop of water or a single rock.

The Notch Nantucket Island Single Malt Whisky Aged 15 Years

Triple Eight Distillery

ABV: 48%
Distillery: Triple Eight Distillery, Nantucket, MA
Average Price: $300 to $500

The Whiskey:

This single malt from Nantucket utilizes the island’s water and Maris Otter malts (a much sought-after ale malt). The result is a stellar entry in the American single malt scene that has been winning awards since it hit the market.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“Appealingly, rich sherry cask aromas are elegantly echoed on the palate to reveal an abundance of rounded, stewed, and dried fruits. Engagingly robust, with upfront dark chocolate and vanilla balanced with drizzled honey, coconut and spicy highlights.”

Bottom Line:

I’ve never bumped into anyone outside of the industry trade shows who have heard of this or tasted this bottle, and that’s a shame. This is a quality and unique whisky that’s just too damn expensive and limited to ever make it on the wider market.

American Eagle Aged 4 Years Tennessee Bourbon

Halewood Wine & Spirits

ABV: 40%
Distillery: Halewood Wines & Spirits (Sourced)
Average Price: $40

The Whiskey:

This Tennessee bourbon is made in Tennessee but bottled for the UK market. That means you’re not finding this branding in the U.S. Although they haven’t released their source, it’s likely you’re already drinking this Tennessee bourbon under a different moniker (cough, cough, George Dickel, cough, cough).

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“A classical nutty bourbon with a timorous nose of sweet fresh apricots, delicate honey, and vanilla butteriness. Abundant corn on the palate in balance with gentle oak and appealing texture. Luscious and nut-rich with an engaging marzipan finish.”

Bottom Line:

We guess … buy some George Dickel and mix up a nice old fashioned?

American Eagle Aged 12 Years Tennessee Bourbon

Halewood Wine & Spirits

ABV: 43%
Distillery: Halewood Wines & Spirits (Sourced)
Average Price: $60

The Whiskey:

We’re in the same spot with this expression. This is still only made for the U.K. market and doesn’t spill the beans on the source.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“Sensationally poised with attractive fruit, complemented by a complexity of rye spices. Balanced with a depth of rich licorice and cloves on the palate. The vibrant peaches and cream intensity carries right through to the appealingly dry finish.”

Bottom Line:

If we ever get to travel again, this might be worth a try when in the U.K.

Uncle Nearest 1820 Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey

Uncle Nearest

ABV: 54.3%
Distillery: Nearest Green Distillery, Shelbyville, TN (Sourced)
Average Price: $100

The Whiskey:

These single barrels from Uncle Nearest are gems in their own right. Yes, they’re sourced for now. Still, the juice goes through the maple charcoal filtration before bottling that the namesake of the brand, Nathan “Nearest” Green, helped make standard in Tennessee whiskey, setting it apart from Kentucky’s bourbon.

Tasting Notes (from IWSC):

“Bold with abundant dark, dried fruits on the nose, underpinned by appealing vanilla and sweet nut clusters. Complex and rounded with luxurious dark chocolate and rich praline. Highlights of red fruit and lifted oak culminate in an alluringly long finish.”

Bottom Line:

This is the Tennessee whiskey that’ll help you understand how much more refined (and delicious) the Tennessee tipple can be compared to bourbon. Drink it with a little water or with a single rock to really open it up.



from UPROXX https://uproxx.com/life/best-bourbon-and-whiskey-from-iwsc-2020/
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