Best American Single Malt Whiskey
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Best American Single Malt Whiskey

 

The Fifty Best American Single Malt Whiskey Tasting of 2017

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 9 American single malt whiskies with a panel of 18 judges. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. The single malts were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. Each of the moonshines were evaluated and scored separately. Only ice water, neutral unflavored crackers and chips were available to cleanse the palate.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no bronze medals awarded for this tasting. The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The distilleries, states of origin and ABV are identified for each brand.



DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky
Rum Cask Finished

Balcones Distilling (Texas)
128.4° proof

Nose: Toffee, butterscotch, caramel, chocolate, molasses, sugarcane, maple, vanilla, rum, candied fruit, currants, citrus, prune juice, filbert, mocha, coffee, earthy, smoky, wood, oak.
Palate: Butterscotch, caramel, toffee, molasses, honey, burnt sugar, vanilla, chocolate, dark fruit, raisin, prune, orange peel, rum-like, sherry, grain, nutty, walnut, cinnamon, spicy, wood, oak, very concentrated, well-balanced.
Finish: Berries, cherries, dark fruit, citrus, fruitcake, toast, spicy, peppery, cinnamon, wood, well-balanced, rich, smooth.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



   Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky Rum Cask Finished



Balcones "1" Texas Single Malt Whisky
Classic Edition

Balcones Distilling (Texas)
106° proof

Nose: Toffee, nougat, caramel, cane sugar, molasses, honey, vanilla, maple, tropical fruit, apple core, dried fruit, clove, nutmeg, dark rum, chocolate, coffee, dark wood, oak.
Palate: Butterscotch, molasses, caramel, buttery, honey, maple, vanilla, banana, dark raisins, corn, barley, toast, grain, walnut, spearmint, nutmeg, cinnamon, Baker’s chocolate, coffee, spicy, pink peppercorns, tobacco, tannin, wood, oaky, complex.
Finish: Vanilla, cotton candy, Baker’s chocolate, sugarcane, honey, pineapple, citrus, raisins, walnut, rum, wine, spicy, peppery, wood, oak, soft, intense, pleasant.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



   Balcones 1 Texas Single Malt Whisky Classic Edition



Prologue Single Malt Whisky
Kozuba & Sons (Florida)
86° proof

Nose: Caramel, honey, Skor candy bar, cocoa, apples, sour apple, banana, banana peel, fig, apple schnapps, bourbon, sherry, corn, popcorn, clay, earthy, wood, oak.
Palate: Caramel, honey, vanilla, fresh apple, peach, mango, banana, Baker’s chocolate, corn, wheat, grains, spice, peppercorn, tobacco, peat smoke, oak, smooth, well-balanced.
Finish: Praline, cream, honey, cider, apples, light toast, light pepper, soft, smooth, cool, like a 10 or 12 year old.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Prologue Single Malt Whisky



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Door County Distillery Single Malt Whisky
(Wisconsin)
80° proof

Nose: Toffee, caramel, chocolate, maple, vanilla, fruity, cherry, citrus, cranberries, moscato grape, oloroso sherry, nutty, dark wood, charred wood, balsa wood, campfire, light smoke.
Palate: Caramel, honey, maple, chocolate, creamy, vanilla, strawberry, orange, citrus, raisins, big red gum, sherry, Glenmorangie, nutty, cinnamon, light spice, bay leaf, peaty, smoke, aged oak, oaky, wood, soft, smooth, so interesting.
Finish: Berries, cherries, vanilla, milk chocolate, slight nuttiness, cinnamon, nutmeg, spice, woody, oak, fresh, soft, smooth, mellow, leaves me smiling.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Door County Distillery Single Malt Whisky



Breckenridge Dark Arts Whiskey
Distilled From Malt Mash

Breckenridge Distillery (Colorado)
92° proof

Nose: Caramel, demerara sugar, vanilla, tropical fruit, raisins, corn, rye, green grain, herbs, cinnamon, salty, mineral, musky, wet wood, earthy, wood, oak, cedar.
Palate: Toffee, caramel, vanilla, dark chocolate, honey, black walnut, light coffee, malt, licorice, spicy, BBQ, tobacco, leather, moss, earthy, peaty, ocean, briny, smoky, sawdust, wood, oak, well-balanced, smooth.
Finish: Chocolate, marzipan, sugarcane, ginger, clove, BBQ, wood, musty, smoke, clean, smooth, sweet and spicy single malt, very unique.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Breckenridge Dark Arts Whiskey



Pearse Lyons Reserve Single Malt Whiskey
Alltech’s Lexington Distilling (Kentucky)
80° proof

Nose: Caramel, treacle, butter, vanilla, cherry, apple, papaya, white grape, citrus, orange, orange peel, fruit stripe gum, cinnamon, spices, sherry, oak, wood.
Palate: Caramel, buttery, vanilla, honey, dark fruit, pear, banana, exceptional dried fruit, sherry, wheat, barley, grain, nutmeg, clove, white pepper, spicy, sour mash, woody, soft.
Finish: Orange, mild citrus, berries, vanilla, almonds, grain, red pepper, spicy, woody, oak, soft, warm, easy, classic.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Pearse Lyons Reserve Single Malt Whiskey



Clark & Chesterfield American Single Malt Whiskey
Solera Aged

New England Sweetwater Farm & Distillery
(New Hampshire) 107° proof

Nose: Caramel, vanilla, cherry, orange, apple peel, honeysuckle, cinnamon, nutmeg, Baker’s chocolate, grainy, sweet grains, wood, oak, fresh, rich.
Palate: Caramel, chocolate, butter, creamy, honey, maple, vanilla, apple, pear, orange, dates, dark raisins, dry corn, grain, toast, walnut, summer flowers, cinnamon, spicy, peppery.
Finish: Vanilla, flowers, baking spices, woody, oak, smoky, smooth, delightful.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Clark & Chesterfield American Single Malt Whiskey



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

A.D. Laws Hordeum Straight Malt Whiskey
Laws Whiskey House (New York)
85° proof

Nose: Caramel, creamy, molasses, vanilla, cherry, apple, peach, light citrus oil, orange peel, raisins, dates, dark chocolate, nutty, pecan, cinnamon, nutmeg, black tea, wormwood, malt, wheat, toast, bready, tobacco, mossy, wet stone, pine, cedar, oak, well-balanced.
Palate: Caramel, honey, dark chocolate, black cherry, orange, lemon, raisins, dried candied fruits, barley, grain, nutty, walnut, black tea, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, peaty, mineral, chalk, woody, oak, smooth.
Finish: Caramel, vanilla, honey, nutty, malt, sandalwood, black tea, clinging spice, cinnamon, black pepper, smoky, chalk, woody, smooth, clean, bright, so interesting.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



A.D. Laws Hordeum Straight Malt Whiskey



Rúa American Single Malt Whiskey
Great Wagon Road Distilling Co. (North Carolina)
80° proof

Nose: Caramel, honey, burnt citrus, raisins, dates, dried fruit, sweet grains, vegetal, clove, spice, dark soy sauce, peaty, dusty, dry sherry, musty, oak, pine, cedar, wood, barrel.
Palate: Fudge, caramel, mocha, honey, citrus, dates, dried fruit, almond, nutty, earthy mushroom, mint, spice, cinnamon, black tea, musty, toasted barrel, woody, oak, well-balanced, round, rich, complex, wonderful mix of flavors.
Finish: Vanilla, banana leaf, cocoa, black tea, mint leaves, spicy, mild brine, mineral, oak, wood, well-rounded, smooth, soft, mellow.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Rúa American Single Malt Whiskey

 

 

 

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