America isn't all about bourbon, but you probably knew that. From rye to Tennessee whiskey, America is producing some top-tier spirits these days — and they're getting some recognition from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, or SFWSC.
Earlier this year, the world's largest spirits judging competition gathered nearly 70 judges to taste almost 5,000 spirits. On May 26th, the SFWSC announced the latest batch of finalists — the U.S.-made whiskies.
As finalists, these American whiskeys will be going head to head again to determine Best of Class and Best in Show winners, which will be revealed in June. For the American whiskey category, these are the just some of the bottles that have earned Double Gold and will compete next month for the competition's highest honors.
Whistle Pig The Boss Hog VIII LapuLapu’s Pacific
Whistlepig, out of Vermont, is one of the best distillers of rye whiskey, garnering accolade after accolade. Aged in American oak, the whiskey is finished in single-island Philippine rum casks, then bottled at barrel strength. This expression offers tropical fruit notes with cocoa and spicy accents.
Lock Stock and Barrel 21 Year Old Straight Rye Whisky
This full-bodied rye was first barreled in May 1999, with a 100-percent rye mashbill. Expect flavors of coffee and coconut that ends with a bit of smokey leather.
New England Barrel Company Single Barrel Select Rye
ABV: Varies by bottle
New Hampshire-based New England Barrel Company lets its rye age for at least eight years before it's bottled at cask strength. No two bottles are the same, but New England Barrel Company says each expression will have a "pleasing nose, depth of flavor on the palate and long, drawn out finish."
Jack Daniel’s 10-Year-Old Tennessee Whiskey
Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 makes JD all the money, but when Jack branches out from its flagship product, you can find some serious winners — like its 10-year-old whiskey. It's a bigger, badder version of Old No. 7, and the brand's first age statement whiskey in over a century.
George Dickel Bottled-in-Bond Distilling Season Spring 2007 Whisky
George Dickel is making some of the best bottled-in-bond whiskeys around, and its expression from Spring 2007 was a finalist at this year's SFWSC. With its sweet and fruity notes, this bottled-in-bond whiskey is a winner, especially at its price.
American Single Malt Whiskey
Triple Eight Distillery The Notch Nantucket Single Malt Whisky
This single malt whiskey from Triple Eight, based out of Nantucket, is noted as having flavors of "wood tannins, vanilla and orchard fruits" on the palate.
Balcones Mirador Single Malt Whiskey
Texas's Balcones is a small distillery from the city of Waco, producing a wide selection of spirits. Mirador, its annual release, is a blend of the distillery's pot-stilled single malt mash, before it's aged in second-fill casks anywhere between two to five years.
Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey
Wheated whiskey goes beyond Pappy. And for $33, Bernheim is a bottle to try. The whiskey is distilled at Bernheim's distillery before it's aged for five years at Heaven Hill.
Bainbridge Battle Point Barrel Proof Wheat Whisky
Since this whiskey is matured in Washington state, the salty coastal air imparts a bit of savoriness to the spirit that makes this a unique pickup. It's not all about salt though, with other flavors including caramel and vanilla.
American Blended Whiskey
George Dickel x Leopold Brothers Collaboration Blend Whiskey
For this collaborative spirit, Leopold Bros took its Three Chamber Rye and blended it with George Dickel's column still rye to create a heavy-bodied rye that used to be the standard in America decades ago. The resulting spirit has a maple syrup-like mouthfeel with hints of coca and dark fruit.
High Bank Distillery Whiskey War Double Oaked Whiskey
This limited release whiskey is double oaked, so after its initial aging period in new charred oak barrels, it's dumped into a second oak barrel for further aging. This method produces a whiskey that gets its oak flavors turned up to 11, with a beautifully rich dark brown color.