About US SPIRITS

The spirit industry in America is much like the beer industry; some large corporate distillers turning out good quality vodka, gin and whisky along with a growing number of artisan producers of these same products.

In large cities such as Chicago and San Francisco, small distilleries turn out superb spirits, many of them organically produced. Vodkas and gins are most common, but there are even a few examples of single malt whiskey.

This is certainly an encouraging alternative to the commercially produced spirits in the US, but the truth is that these artisan spirits are a drop in the bucket next to the huge amount of vodkas, gins and whiskeys made by the large companies and are sold in huge numbers; given the promotional money spent by these firms.

But the new competition is a bright sign at least in terms of some of the famous whiskey producers that have recently introduced specialty bourbons, aged for a dozen or more years, many of them single barrel products. They are responding to a public looking for more high quality American spirits. The success of these products is a great thing for the American sprits industry.
Top Picks for USA
217718
Long Road Distillers
Cherry Brandy
Clear color. Fruity aromas and flavors of bright spiced dried cherries, fruit gum, and cherry blossoms with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long sweet cream, powdered sugar, cherry pits, and straw finish. A very pure cherry brandy with a solid core of fruit and pleasing warmth.
93 points $34.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
221882
Laird’s
Straight Applejack 86
Amber color. Pure, fruity aromas and flavors of ripe autumn apples, red anjou pear, almond tart, and coconut shell with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an interesting, medium-long vanilla creme Anglaise finish. A pure, shining example of applejack; beautiful and bright.
90 points $29.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213288
Solbeso
"No. 1" Fresh Distilled Cacao
Clear color. Delicate, interesting, attractive aromas of sesame nougat, cashew butter, and white chocolate raisins with a silky, vibrant, dryish light body and a tingling, long warm milk and honey, toasted exotic nuts, crispy chicken skin, and barnyard hay finish. A delightful creamy eau-de-vie with lots of tropical cocktail affinity.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
210185
Laird’s
Jersey Lightning Unaged Apple Brandy
Clear color. Delicate, buttery, fruity spicy aromas of spiced fall fruits, sweet creamy meringue, and praline with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a peppery, interesting, medium-long minerals, macadamia cookie, and pepper finish with soft tannins and no oak. A nicely warming and elegant fruit brandy that will be very versatile.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
209920
Woody Creek
Pear Brandy
Clear color. Bright, creamy, fruity aromas of spiced pears, creme brulee, and nougat with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, interesting, relaxed dusty pears and apples, pepper, gravel, and nutshell finish with light oak. A dry and fiery fruit brandy that will pop in cocktails.
87 points $39.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222255
P:
100% Real D'Anjou Pear Eau-de-Vie
Brilliant clear color. Interesting aromas and flavors of sautéed shittakes and sweet potatoes, pear fruit leather, miso and soy, and teriyaki vegetables with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a peppery, compelling, medium-long nut oil, spiced citrus and plantain, and vanilla hemp milk finish. An interesting very savory and earthy pear eau-de-vie with a nice texture.
85 points $34.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
217570
Barking Irons
Applejack
Clear golden amber color. Funky, toasty aromas and flavors of caramelized peaches and apples, spiced almond praline, lilac and lily, and pastry with a lightly tannic, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, stimulating, medium-length spiced pecans and trail mix, pencil shavings, tobacco, and pepper finish. A warming apple brandy with a hefty dose of oak that gives a whiskey-like impression.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
210284
Vermont
Apple Brandy No. 14
Golden amber color. Rich, toasty, buttery aromas of nougat, cedar, raisins, and vanilla with a silky, soft, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, snappy pencil shavings, nuts, and pepper finish with moderate oak. A nice brandy for mixing.
85 points $44.95
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
206260
Dawsonville Moonshine
Georgia Apple Brandy
Clear. Aromas of dried pears, powdered almond cookie, and white pepper with a supple, vaporous, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a very warming, pepper, nut brittle, and apple tart finish. Tastes more like an apple flavored moonshine; will be fun to mix with.
85 points $49.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
222254
A:
100% Real Apple Eau-de-Vie
Brilliant clear color. Fruity, spicy, vaporous aromas of baked and poached apples, pears and carrots, peppery spices, apple taffy and gum, and model glue and rubber cement with a satiny, light-to-medium body and a hot, appealing, long rock sugar sugar, waxy candy, apple bobbing pond water in a pewter tub, and Coleman’s fuel finish. A fiery moonshiney apple brandy for punches.
84 points $29.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab