Best American Single Malt Whiskey 2016
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Best American Single Malt Whiskey - 2016

 

The Fifty Best American Single Malt Whiskey Tasting of 2016

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 12 single malt whiskies with a panel of 15 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 states of origin, distilleries and ABV are identified for each brand.



DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

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

Nose: Date, honey, vanilla bean, rhubarb pie, yellow corn, hazelnut, floral, black tea, baking spice, pepper, flint, oak, smoke.
Palate: Caramel, honey, dark sugars, brown sugar, vanilla, crème brûlée, coconut, almonds, ginger, floral, lavender, clove, sweet bourbon barrel, oak, smoke.
Finish: Berries, orange, honey, vanilla, clove, pepper, soft, smooth.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



   Door County Distillery Single Malt Whisky



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

Nose: Caramel, honey, vanilla, raisin, tropical fruit, banana, apple skin, green apple, orange, tangerine, citrus, sweet corn, clove, classic whiskey barrel oak.
Palate: Fruity, apple, vanilla, hay, summer flowers, spicy, ginger, cinnamon, cola, coffee, oaky, briny, smooth, balanced.
Finish: Toffee, floral, vegetal, light, smooth, gentle.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Pearse Lyons Reserve Single Malt Whiskey



Balcones "1" Texas Single Malt Whisky Classic Ed.
Balcones Distilling (Texas)
106° proof

Nose: Caramel, sugar cane, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, raisin, maple, peanut brittle, caramelized peach, orange peel, burnt orange peel, corn, wheat, cinnamon, woody, oak.
Palate: Toffee, caramel, dark sugars, molasses, vanilla, citrus, nutty, spice, clove, cinnamon, red hots, pepper, rum, oak, smooth, balanced.
Finish: Honey, raisin, maple, nutty, pepper, sweet, elegant, smooth, gentle.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Balcones



Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey
Santa Fe Spirits (New Mexico)
92° proof

Nose: Honey, caramel, toffee, vanilla, custard, clay pots, mineral, smoke, smoked bacon, smoked salmon, iodine, peat.
Palate: Honey, vanilla, dried fruit, grape must, ginger, nutty, roasted almonds, leather, peaty, tobacco, woody, cedar, oak, cured fish, salmon roe, salty, charcoal.
Finish: Honey, vanilla, raisin, nutty, pepper, bacon, coffee, smoke, salty, smooth.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey



Cut Spike Single Malt Whiskey
Lucky Bucket Brewing Company (Nebraska)
86° proof

Nose: Caramel, nougat, molasses, toffee, light brown sugar, honey, vanilla, maple, banana, stewed cherries, orange, grain, nutmeg, mint, wood.
Palate: Toffee, caramel, honey, vanilla, nougat, brown sugar, stewed raisin, mulled wine, tropical fruit, citrus, malted grain, allspice, oak, opens up.
Finish: Orange peel, nutty, nutmeg, woody, iodine, soft, smooth, elegant.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Cut Spike Single Malt Whiskey



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

Virginia Highland Malt Whisky
Virginia Distillery Company (Virginia)
92° proof

Nose: Honey, brown sugar, vanilla, butter, caramel, pecan pie, orange, banana, apple, citrus, pepper, clove, coffee, oak, rich, smoke, delightful.
Palate: Toffee, honey, caramel, butter, vanilla, orange, orange peel, ginger, black pepper, nutmeg, wood, oak, brine, smoke.
Finish: Honey, fruit, orange peel, almond, spicy, clove, pepper, peat, smooth, savory, balanced, twelve year scotch.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Virginia Highland Malt Whisky



Van Brunt Stillhouse Single Malt Whiskey
Van Brunt Stillhouse (New York)
84° proof

Nose: Caramel, vanilla, green apple, lemon tea, orange peel, herbal, grainy, corn, honeysuckle, peppermint, oak, woody, ocean.
Palate: Caramel, honey, vanilla, raisin, brown sugar, beeswax, grain, corn, clove, allspice, dark roasted coffee, cocoa, toast, woody, briny, salty, light mouthfeel.
Finish: Honey, brown sugar, vanilla, raisin, herbal, pepper, nutmeg, coffee grounds, woody, cedar, easy.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Van Brunt Stillhouse Single Malt Whiskey



MSW Small Batch No.06 American Whiskey
Manatawny Still Works (Pennsylvania)
90° proof

Nose: Toffee, sweet, maple, vanilla, banana, creamy, coffee, cola, port wine, wood, musky, bold.
Palate: Honey, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, raisin, cola, floral, grainy, cinnamon, spicy, white pepper, coffee, light oak, charcoal, smoke, balanced.
Finish: Spicy, allspice, vanilla, nutmeg, oak, toast, smoke, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



MSW Small Batch No.06 American Whiskey



Revelations Single Malt Corn Whisky
Virginia Sweetwater Distillery (Virginia)
92° proof

Nose: Smoked meat, bacon fat, smoked mesquite, leather, tobacco, mineral, smoked wood, oak, smoke.
Palate: Honey, vanilla, clove, jalapeño, beef jerky, bacon, tobacco, salty, smoke, woody mesquite, peat.
Finish: Orange peel, vanilla, pepper, bacon, wood dipped in ginger, peat, smoke, smooth.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Revelations Single Malt Corn Whisky



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

OCD Unaged Single Malt Whiskey
Orange County Distillery (New York)
90° proof

Nose: Orange peel, lime, vanilla, corn, raw grain, wheatgrass, wheat, vegetal, clove, woody, fungi, fermented mash, sharp, edgy.
Palate: Caramel, vanilla, orange, sweet grain, peppermint, nutty, pepper, coffee, tobacco, cedar, oak, woody, oily, earth, chalk, peat, smoke.
Finish: Orange peel, spicy, cinnamon, allspice, cedar, wood, iodine, smooth.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



OCD Unaged Single Malt Whiskey



Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky
Copper Fox Distillery (Virginia)
96° proof

Nose: Kale, wheatgrass, herbaceous, dried herb, cinnamon, spice, vanilla, oolong tea, yeast, bread dough, leather, wet oak, mixed woods, cedar.
Palate: Caramel, honey, apple, pear, citrus, tea, grainy, wheat, rye, spicy, pepper, cedar, leaves, woody, salty, smoke.
Finish: Vanilla, yeast, maritime, full body, soft.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky



Cedar Ridge Single Malt Whiskey
Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery (Iowa)
80° proof

Nose: Honey, vanilla, cream, caramel apple, pear, lemon tea, allspice, clove, grassy, oak, seaside salt, iodine.
Palate: Caramel, honey, vanilla, banana, chocolate, nutty, walnut, pepper, coffee, oak, dried leaves, grain mash, peat, light nice barrel flavor, complex.
Finish: Apple skin, spicy, nutmeg, oak, smooth, flavorful, delightful.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Cedar Ridge Single Malt Whiskey

 

 

 

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