If you know only a little bit about whiskey, it's pretty evident that a lot of whiskies are made in America. While a good chunk of these are distilled in Tennessee and Kentucky, there are some solid under-the-radar brands from a few other states that you might not even know existed. If there's one thing (among many, many others) America knows how to do, it's how to make a good bourbon.
These are the 11 best whiskies in the U.S.A., which should all be sipped in the presence of a bald eagle.
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1. Jim Beam Black
Price:$20 Aged to perfection, Jim Beam's fancy older brother stays twice as long in white oak barrels compared to their other bottles. All that wood makes for a robust bourbon with hints of brown sugar, rich honey, caramel, and butterscotch.
2. Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye
Price:$59.99 We're huge fans of Russell's Reserve and their 104-proof rye absolutely knocks it out of the park by producing a flavor that takes your tongue out for a hot date and cooks it breakfast the next morning. Spicier than their usual batches, this single barrel rye gives us hints of vanilla and tobacco while never letting up on the robust flavor. This'll be available in September 2015!
3. Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year Old
Price: $52 Ah, good ol' reliable Bulleit. This decade-old bottle of Kentucky bourbon is short, sweet, and heaven on the tongue. All that time spent aged in charred American white oak gives it flavor and a healthy 'tude—it's real a testament to everything Bulleit is capable of.
4. Blanton's Original Single Bottle Bourbon Whiskey
Price: $48 First of all, you're certainly not going to forget a bottle like Blanton's. This grenade-shaped vessel holds one hell of a single-barrel bourbon that has a creamy vanilla nose with hints of nuts, caramel, orange, and light chocolate. Coming from Kentucky, the bourbon capital of the world, Blanton's is one hell of a 125-proof whiskey.
5. Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey
Price: $59.99 A chance encounter with this self-proclaimed "cult-favorite" from The Centennial state led us to become advocates for this 47-percent ABV all-malt whiskey. Brand enthusiasts in Colorado are known as "Stranafans" and have been known to wait in line all night to purchase limited-edition bottles. Now Colorado's Favorite Son booze has made it to the rest of the continental United State—rejoice for Colorado! The "Malt and Weed" state! Isn't that what it says on their license plates?
6. Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select
Price:$45 Jack Daniel's is as American as it gets, but you don't want to waste the stuff by mixing it with Coke. Single Barrel Select is unlike any other bottle of JD you've seen before—complex, creamy, and robust. It looks fancy, because it is fancy. Each barrel is hand-selected and bottled up only to be sipped by the guys out there who call this stuff Jack.
7. Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve 9 Year Old
Price: $48 Nine years old is a tough age for anybody; it's when kids start thinking they know more than adults and around the time you should start asking yourself if that goldfish you've been keeping in your room since 2006 has superpowers. For Knob Creek, however, it's their time to shine. This robust, smokey, and easygoing NY-born bourbon is perfect for sipping—low-key, and aged to perfection.
8. Westland American Single Malt Whiskey
Price: $60 Made in the land of Twilight, otherwise known as "The Pacific Northwest," Westland's M.O. is thoughtfully made and tastes like it, thanks to five different barley malts that give it a complex and delicious flavor of dark chocolate, fruit, and raisins—which if we're being honest, are dried fruit. A special Belgian brewer's yeast gives Westland fruity esters during fermentation and leaves you feeling like you made a special connection with your drink...not unlike Edward and Bella's!
9. High West American Prairie Reserve
Price:$33.95 Coming from Utah’s first legal distillery, American Prairie Reserve is probably the best thing to come out of that part of the country since—um, we'll get back to you on that one. Anyway, it's a hell of a whiskey that's made from a blend of two different bourbons—a six-year-old and a ten-year-old. Whisky Advocate puts it bluntly: "Nothing fancy or exotic here; just a solid, versatile, well-rounded bourbon."
10. Michter's Original US*1 Unblended American Whiskey
Price: $42.98 Michter's is all about sloppy seconds. By utilizing second-use bourbon barrels, Michter's achieves a unique flavor profile that is the amalgamation of many whiskeys before it.
11. New Holland Zeppelin Bend
Price: $153 New Holland's Zeppelin Bend is a twice-distilled straight malt whiskey that's in aged heavy-charred American white oak to give it a particularly robust taste. Along with the vanilla taste, you get hints of cloves which should definitely give you a couple flashbacks to those early college days when you thought you were the shit.
Jeremy Glass is a staff writer at Supercompressor and always drinks his whiskey from the inside of a gentleman's hat.