Top 50 American Whiskey Brands, Makers & Suppliers
BOURBON WHISKEY is a type of American whiskey: a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from corn. The name is ultimately derived from the French Bourbon dynasty, although it is disputed whether the namesake Bourbon County in Kentucky or Bourbon Street in New Orleans inspired the whiskey's name. Bourbon has been distilled since the 18th century. The name "Bourbon" was not applied until the 1820s, and the Kentucky etymology was not advanced until the 1870s. While the liquor may be made anywhere in the United States, it is strongly associated with the American South in general, and Kentucky in particular.
CORN WHISKEY (sometimes Corn Liquor or "White Lightning") is an American liquor made from a mash made of at least 80 percent corn. Distinct from the typical American moonshine, corn whiskey uses a traditional mash process and is subject to the tax and identity laws for alcohol under CFR 27. Several commercial distillers such as Heaven Hill and Buffalo Trace have started to produce corn whiskeys for retail sale. The whiskey is typically distilled at a high proof (up to 160 proof). The unaged corn whiskey is then diluted with water to at most 62.5 percent alcohol by volume, but usually 40 percent alcohol by volume, and bottled for retail.
RYE MALT WHISKEY, under US regulations, is a whiskey produced via a mash primarily consisting of malted rye. It is distinct from rye whiskey due to the malting step, and is distinct from unqualified malt whiskey, which is made from malted barley, not rye.
RYE WHISKEY must be distilled from at least 51 percent rye.
- 5 Easy Bourbon Cocktail Recipes For The Kentucky Derby - Forbes.
- 15 of the Best Bourbons For Kentucky Derby Season - and Beyond - Forbes.
- BOURBON WHISKEY - Wikipedia.
- BOYS OF BOURBON - "The Definitive Bourbon Review."
- Eli & Peyton Manning Are Launching A $200 Bourbon - Forbes.
- Four Roses Releases 2020 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon - "How To Get Your Hands On This New Limited Edition Bourbon."
- How wood-scanning tech is taking the guesswork out of aging bourbon - "OakScan analysis allows Penelope Bourbon to predict results with French Oak."
- Is This The Best Bourbon You’ve Never Heard Of? - "One that many stateside drinkers of bourbon and rye might have never even heard of, let alone sampled: Blinking Owl, out of Orange County, California."
- Jack Daniel’s Embraces a Hidden Ingredient: Help From a Slave - The New York Times.
- Michter’s Is About To Release One Of The Rarest & Best Bourbons Of 2022 - "Here’s a dirty little secret about whiskey: just because it’s older doesn’t mean it’s better. In fact, in the production of bourbon and rye - where barrels used for maturation must be brand new, and charred black - older whiskey is often inferior whiskey. Too much aging in that medium and you end up with an overly-oaked spirit; something that tastes more like wood shavings than whiskey. Consequently, most Kentucky distillers will tell you the sweet spot in the barrel is somewhere between the eight to ten year mark. Nevertheless, the fine folks at Michter’s have somehow found a way to dependably bottle balance in their ultra-aged offerings. They are consistently exceptional, and never over-oaked. The latest testimony arrives this November in the form of their 2022 edition 20 Year Kentucky Straight Bourbon."
- on the bourbon trail in Kentucky - The Guardian.
- Scotch on the rocks: Jack Daniel's overtakes traditional whisky as Britain's favourite - The Telegraph.
- The 50 best bourbons - TheFiftyBest.com.
- The untold history of black bourbon - "It's become undeniable that black people - once missing from American whiskey bars and in the telling of whiskey's story - have long played a role in creating the beloved spirit."
- This Could Be The Best New Bourbon Release Of 2020 - "On Wednesday, September 2nd, Old Forester will release its annual bourbon release commemorating the birthday of company founder George Garvin Brown. This will mark the 20th iteration in the series, aptly titled Birthday Bourbon. And this one is particularly auspicious - lined up with the 150th anniversary of the brand. Perhaps why this particular offering is so sensational."
- World’s Best Bourbon - According To The 2023 Ultimate Spirits Challenge - "W.L. Weller Full Proof is named the highest rated bourbon at this year's Ultimate Spirits Challenge. As we revealed last week, the Ultimate Spirits Challenge has just named its top-rated liquors of the year. The panel of expert judges threw some real curveballs into the mix this time around. For example, the only 99 point scores went to an Armagnac - a rich and elegant 1973 vintage from Bhakta, and a ready-to-drink vodka cocktail by Boyd & Blair. When it came to American whiskies, however, the highest honor couldn’t have gone to a more predictable producer. The folks from Buffalo Trace have done it again, this time with W.L. Weller Full Proof. The 114-proof expression of wheated bourbon recorded 98 out of a possible 100 points at USC. Here were the judges official tasting notes."
- World’s Best Bourbons - According To The 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition - "Every year since 2000, a panel of 40 esteemed tastemakers convenes in San Francisco for the city’s annual World Spirits Competition."
- 15 Stars Fine Aged Bourbon - since 2014. "We are a new riff on an old tradition, that tradition or theme being Kentucky Bourbon. At 15 STARS, we take pride in producing outstanding aged whiskey. We meticulously craft all our products using only the finest quality materials. This includes selectively sourcing fine aged whiskeys, marrying different mash bills and aged stocks to add complexity, distilling rare and unique proprietary grains, barrel entry proofs as low as 103, and 'flavor proofing' at bottling for a superior neat drinking experience. Sparing no expense or effort in our pursuit for great whiskey, we only bottle whiskeys that meet our highest standards."
- BASIL HAYDEN'S - since 1992. The lightest bodied bourbon whiskey in the family of Jim Beam small batch bourbons.
- BLANTON'S - since 1984. The world’s first single barrel bourbon.
- BOOKER'S - since 1988. "Uncut & Unfiltered But Never Underage." Having the highest alcohol content, 60.5% - 64.45%, of the brands in the Jim Beam "Small Batch Bourbon Collection", it is a cask strength bourbon.
- Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey - "Stand Strong."
- BULLEIT - since 1999. "Frontier Whiskey." Brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.
- EZRA BROOKS - since 1960. Brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. It is primarily bottled at 40% abv (80 U.S. proof) or 45% abv (90 U.S. proof).
- HENRY MCKENNA - "This high proof, Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon was named for Henry McKenna, the Irish immigrant who adapted his family's whiskey recipe to work the grains he found in Kentucky. Henry McKenna is the longest aged Bottled-in-Bond available today, resting in the barrel through 40 Kentucky seasons. Critics agree that this is perfectly balanced Bourbon."
- HUDSON BABY BOURBON WHISKEY - the first bourbon whiskey to be distilled in New York. Made from New York corn and aged in small American Oak barrels fir a vanilla and carmel finish.
- I.W. Harper - since 1872. "A very high quality long-aged Kentucky straight bourbon in a quality glass decanter."
- JACK DANIEL'S - since 1875. Brand of sour mash Tennessee whiskey that is the highest selling American whiskey in the world.
- James E. Pepper 1776 Whiskey - Colonel James E. Pepper invented the Old Fashioned Bourbon whiskey cocktail and brought it to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City.
- Jefferson's - since 1997. "We make our bourbon in small batches, ridiculously small batches."
- JIM BEAM - since 1795."Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey." One of the best selling brands of bourbon in the world.
- J.T.S. Brown - best known as the whiskey preferred by fictional pool hustler "Fast Eddie" Felson in the 1959 Walter Tevis book The Hustler and its 1986 sequel, The Color of Money.
- Kentucky Gentleman - brand is sold as a blend of 51% straight bourbon and 49% neutral grain spirits and bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 U.S. proof). It is a relatively inexpensive brand.
- KNOB CREEK - since 1992. One of the four Jim Beam small batch bourbon brands targeted for the high-end liquor market.
- Longbranch - Wild Turkey Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
- MAKER'S MARK - since 1958. "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Handmade Whiskey."
- Michter's American Whiskeys - since 1753. "OFFERING THE GREATEST AMERICAN WHISKEY." Michter’s is proud to honor a historical legacy tracing back to the founding of America’s first whiskey company in 1753.
- Old Crow - since 1835. Low-priced brand of Kentucky-made straight bourbon whiskey distilled by Beam Suntory.
- Old Forester - since 1870. "First Bottled Bourbon."
- Old Grand-Dad - since 1840. Brand of bourbon whiskey distilled at the Jim Beam Plant in Clermont, Kentucky.
- OLD RIP VAN WINKLE - Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey produced by the Sazerac Company at its Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.
- Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve - Flagship brand of bourbon whiskey owned by the "Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery" company. Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve is often regarded as one of the finest bourbons in the world, and its very low production and high demand can make it extremely difficult to find. The product has a cult-like following. Famous chefs such as Anthony Bourdain and David Chang have favored the product.
- REBEL YELL - since 1936. Brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey owned and marketed by Luxco.
- SMALL BATCH BOURBON COLLECTION - by Jim Beam.
- Sweetens Cove Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey - launched May 26, 2020.
- Walker's De luxe - since 1858. Produced for Hiram Walker of Canada.
- WILD TURKEY - since 1940. Brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey distilled and bottled by the Austin Nichols division of Campari Group.
- W.L. Weller C.Y.P.B. - "The World’s Best Bourbon - According To The 2023 World Whiskies Awards." Tasting notes: A light aroma with citrus and oak on the nose. The palate is well rounded and balanced, with a medium-long finish and hints of vanilla.
- WOODFORD RESERVE - since 1812. "Woodford Reserve is built on details. Where we're from and how we're made. Quality is what we're judged against. And if we aren't great, nothing else matters."
- Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition - "History and heritage meet innovation and sophistication. Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition is crafted by uniquely finishing the most complex and balanced Kentucky Bourbon in select XO Cognac barrels. Sourced by our Master Distiller Chris Morris, each barrel has seen three seasons of cognac before being filled with Woodford Reserve.The result is the best of both spirits - a balance of crisp American and French oak notes, complex fruit character, subtle spiciness and a creamy confectionary finish. Presented in a bespoke Baccarat decanter, Woodford Reserve Baccarat Edition is the ultimate expression of American Whiskey at its finest."
- 12 Of The Best Ryes To Drink While Watching The Virtual ‘Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown’ - Forbes.
- RYE WHISKEY - Wikipedia.
- AUSTIN NICHOLS WILD TURKEY KENTUCKY STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY - "This standby rye is excellent in cocktails, but good enough for the hearty to drink straight. Wild Turkey Rye is powerful yet complex, with bold aromas of tea, honey, vanilla and rye."
- BOOKER'S - since 1988. "Booker’s Rye, the first-ever rye whiskey released by the ultra-premium Booker’s Bourbon brand, has been named “World Whisky of the Year” by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2017."
- George Dickel Tennessee WHISKY - since 1877. "George Dickel Rye Whisky is the only rye finished in the chilled charcoal-mellowed style that has made our whisky distinct. George Dickel Rye is made from 95% rye & 5% malted barley."
- HUDSON MANHATTAN RYE Whiskey - "Our rye whiskey is known for its spiciness; its rich and shifting flavor and aroma."
- James E. Pepper 1776 Whiskey - Straight Rye Barrel Proof.
- JIM BEAM RYE - "Pre-Prohibition-style rye whiskey. Bartenders have been dying to get their hands on it for years. Now it’s back and bolder than ever. Founded in 1795, our rye whiskey is made from one of the Beam family’s oldest recipes and is distilled with the same exacting standards that have governed Jim Beam® for more than 200 years."
- MICHTER'S Straight Rye WHISKEY - since 1753. America’s first whiskey company.
- OLD OVERHOLT STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY - said to be America's oldest continually-maintained brand of whiskey, was founded in West Overton, Pennsylvania in 1810.
- Old Potrero - 18th Century Style Single Malt Rye Whiskey.
- Pikesville Supreme Straight Rye Whiskey - "This straight rye is made in the Maryland/Potomac style of rye whiskey. Pikesville offers a spicy, rich character. Great in a Manhattan!"
- RITTENHOUSE RYE 100% PROOF - very popular with rye aficionados. This complex, potent spirit is perfect for a rye Manhattan, and won 'World's Best American Whiskey' at the World Whisky Awards 2010.
- van winkle family reserve rye - "This 13-year bourbon is one of the oldest rye whiskeys available today."
- American Single-Malt Whiskeys Serve Notice - The New York Times.
- American whiskey - Wikipedia.
- Hudson Single Malt Whiskey - "Hudson Single Malt Whiskey is made in the classic fashion with whole ground malted barley and nothing else. Aged in our small American Oak casks, this whiskey is a departure from popular single malt Scotches."
- St. George Single Malt Whiskey - "Artisan Distillers since 1982." An American original: distilled, aged, blended, and bottled by us out of love for what a handcrafted single malt can be.
- Texas Single Malt - "A timeless style of malt whisky, Balcones "1" Texas Single Malt breathes new life into centuries of distilling tradition with classic techniques and ingredients adapted for New World tastes."
- WOODFORD RESERVE Master's Collection Classic Malt - "The Double Malt Selection was released in November 2013, but supplies were limited, so ask your retailer today."