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Oct 11, 2016

Designated Sippers: 6 Whiskeys You Should Drink This Fall

created at: 09/30/2014

And it came to pass that the season for sandals and gin subsided, leaving in its place jackets and layers, autumnal aromas, and whiskey season. 

So, this is a collection not for the kind of guy who finds a label he likes and sticks with it. Cause, those sort of fellows already know what they're enjoying this season. Instead, these are the best-bang-for-your-buck bottles, those that have a great relationship between their price and their flavor.

And by that, we don't mean these are value whiskeys that are simply tolerable or "good for the price." Instead, they're solid, investment whiskeys; some of our favorites that will make you happy to spend a couple dollars more, and you'll look forward to enjoying the full 750 ml. They enjoy the happy medium and have a lot to offer for the price; bottles to enjoy again and again, or to give as gifts. 

 created at: 09/30/2014

1. Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey: Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon

There's a saying in Bourbon country - "the best bourbon is the one you like the best." And, of the options, the one most people to whom I've ever served bourbon seem to like best is Buffalo Trace's eponymous offering. It costs between $19-22.00, and is the same mash bill as beloved high-end brands like George T. Stagg and Eagle Rare. It's a low-rye, corn forward bourbon that's simple as versatile as it gets. While it's certainly not the only bourbon I love, or buy, it's the one I'm never bored by, and always chose this guy to take to a party. 

 

created at: 09/30/2014

2. Wheated Kentucky Bourbon: Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon

I don't care much for the most well-known wheated bourbon - the one where they dip the bottle in red wax - but I think Larceny is something special. And it's different enough from high corn + rye bourbons that it's worth keeping both on hand. This one goes for around $23-25 depending on where you live, but it's definitely a different take on bourbon that really delivers on flavor. Seek it out. 

 

created at: 09/30/2014

3. Rye Whiskey: Bulleit Rye Whiskey

Bulleit's become beloved by the cool kid, Instagram set, but for good reason - it's really delicious. Of course, the bottle looks awesome in pictures and makes your blog post look sharp (guilty as charged), but I actually really, really like both the bourbon and the rye. This one hovers right around $25, and is easier to find than the classic Sazerac, and, I think, more fun to drink neat. It's probably made in that giant factory in southern Indiana, but it's still my go-to. 

 

created at: 09/30/2014

4. Single Malt Scotch Whisky: Highland Park 12 Years Old

I'll come right out and say it: this is, by far, the most expensive whiskey on this list. It retails for around $45.00, no bones about it. 

But! It is, at least for me, the best deal in Scotch out there, and delivers incredible depth of flavor and complexity for under $50.00, which, for anyone that knows single malt, is an achievement. It's very lightly peated, for just a few hours, which gives it a richness that 1) makes it worth drinking neat, but 2) won't break your heart when your buddy adds a full glass of ice cubes to it. This is not a cult Scotch, and that is a good thing: you can find it nearly anywhere, and offers so much more nuance of flavor than anything else in its price range.

This is the Scotch to buy in between your adventurous bottles. It will never disappoint for the price. 

 

 created at: 09/30/2014

5. Irish Whiskey: Kilbeggan Blended Irish Whiskey 

I much prefer this to the more well-known Jameson, and it usually comes in for at least $5.00 less at around $20-24. If you tend to like Irish whiskey, this one doesn't disappoint, and if you're new to the style, it makes a great introduction. It has a malt forward-flavor, like the best Irish beers, with just a bit of sweet to make it really elegant. 

If I hadn't just recommended a $45 bottle of Scotch, I'd have chosen the $40 Redbreast Irish Pot Still Whiskey, a 12-year-old that's simply really, really great for sipping. 

 

created at: 09/30/2014

6. Best Value Whisky: Canadian Club 1858 5/6 Year

Lastly - yes, Virigina, there is an awesome sub-$15.00 bottle of whisky - the 1858 from Canadian Club. This would absolutely be my first choice if i were going to make a basic highball and mix with cola or ginger ale. It's a really well-rounded whisky that tastes, well, like whisky should taste. Would be a great standby for the holiday season of guests, or to mix in a pitcher or punch. I don't know a ton about Canadian whiskys, but I know this guy is really solid for the price of a fast food dinner for two. So, skip the takeout, raid the fridge, and pick up a bottle of this instead.

 

created at: 09/30/2014

What are your favorite, always-worth-the-money whiskeys? Share your thought in comments below. 

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BourbonDrinker on Oct 12, 2016:

As a totally anonymous person I'd like to add my 2 cents. As far as bourbon goes, I think Buffalo Trace is a fine choice, but in my opinion, if you really want a versatile option I'd choose Wild Turkey 101. A great balance of sweet and spice, it sips great but I think the higher proof really makes it versatile when it comes to cocktails. Go spend the $18-25 on a bottle and make two old fashioneds... one with BT and one with WT101, I have a pretty good hunch which one you'll prefer :)


Whisky Warrior on Oct 10, 2014:

Highland Park is my favorite of all time.  I am deeply in love with the 18, but as you say, the 12 is wonderful as well.  The 18 goes for just a little over 100$ so I only manage one or two bottles a year but I have yet to find a whisky that Highland Park makes that is not simply outstanding.  I like all the others you listed too.  Thanks for the pin.


 


Jon on Oct 03, 2014:

Crown Royal (while tasty) is a Canadian whiskey, and while Canadian whiskies commonly use the term rye most have little to no actual rye in their ingredients.  If you havn't tried a true American rye whiskey yet I highly suggest it. It is spicier and less sweet than both canadian & bourbon. I actually prefer rye on the rocks and in my old fashioned, bourbon in my manhattan. 

Via Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_whisky


"Although some Canadian whiskies are still labelled as “rye”, Canadian “rye” whisky usually contains high-proofgrain whisky blended with lower-proof rye-grain whisky and Canadian-made "bourbon-style" corn whisky as flavouring. Occasionally barley whisky is also used for flavouring... It is a common misconception that Canadian whiskies are primarily made using just rye grain.[1] The use of rye grain is not dictated by law,[6] and the primary grain used to make most Canadian whisky is corn.


Drew on Oct 01, 2014:

My go to Scotch is Glenfiddich and my go to rye is Crown Royal.  If you like a sweet flavour the Crown Royal blended with maple is pretty darn good. 


Jon on Oct 01, 2014:

Bulleit Rye is by far my go to whiskey but I do like to keep a few others (you know 10 -12, a few) around. Bakers is a great whiskey for drinking neat or in a manhattan. Basil Haydan is also good for sipping.  Both bottles are from Jim Beam.