There’s no accounting for taste, but you can aggregate it. Over at Tasting Table an assignment on best whiskeys with an E got overhauled when we dropped the Irish to focus on America’s best whiskey brands, including one or two whiskys. (who knew America had those?) I learned so much beyond what I’d already known in the course of trying to fairly rank a list of the best American whiskeys. Do I stand by this order? Near as I can account based on everyone’s opinions, a little fiddling of my own (sorry if you think E.H. Taylor came in too high but I actually had to take it down a notch to respect the love among whiskey drinkers for the labels above it). But there’s also a fair number of brands on here I haven’t had or did but was forced to show more deference in light of the esteem out there for them.
I also had fun trying a few new brands to write about them knowledgeably. I wanted to rank Nearest higher because it’s pulling all the awards, but it’s so new I just couldn’t find the right spot. I don’t think any other label fluctuated in placement so much, because on the one hand it’s batting a thousand, but on the other hand, it’s only just debuted; is it fair to say a couple great bottles places it above a 150-year-old brand that’s had some successes and failures? On the other hand, Stranahan’s is also very new, and my unabashed love for it sent it to the top before I had to temper it back down to the middle. So your own list of America’s best whiskeys will likely look very different! And you didn’t even have an editor suggesting a good half-dozen brands you hadn’t tried.
One thing I stand by: Evan Williams is the better deal than Jack Daniel’s. It’s a comparable, and to my mind, better, whiskey than Jack for half the price. Although I will say the bottled-in-bond doesn’t seem to stand out past the green label for quality. But if you’re asking me to write a “Best American Whiskeys” list of my own, yeah, there’d be a different order, and I’d probably have to skip some of the actual best whiskeys in America because I haven’t tried them. Still, you may count this list as more reliable, since it’s based on more than one man’s drinking experience. All I know is I need to try some Barrell now.
*Feel free to send me your product if you think it will prove this list wrong, though, whiskey distillers.
Now I know what you’re saying: “I don’t own any of America’s best whiskeys, I have no taste!” Don’t worry. I’ve also got a piece on The 20 Best Drinks to Mix With Whiskey, so you and your soft drinks can make tasty results of crap whiskey. This also works with good whiskey. I don’t know what to tell you, duos are just nice, easy cocktails, man. Add bitters if you need complexity, I’m not trying to make work for you over here.