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
216366
Breckenridge
"Dark Arts" Malt Mash Whiskey
Brilliant gold color. Earthy aromas and flavors of saddle leather and soap, white chocolate toffee, banana raisin muffin, and clay with a satiny, dryish medium-to-full body and a tingling, stimulating, medium-long honeyed dried fruits, brown spices, minerals, and tobacco leaf finish. A complex interplay of dark fruits and leathery notes make this a fine sipping and cigar choice.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
210107
Jim Beam
Distiller's Masterpiece Bourbon Whiskey
Copper color. Lively, complex aromas of custard, fruit cake, and rich spices with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity full body and a warming, very long spiced nuts, dried fruits, minerals, and peppery spices finish. A superb sipping whisky with great power and balance.
96 points $199.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
219285
Wild Turkey
Rare Breed Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Medium amber color. Nutty aromas and flavors of butter roasted peanuts, cherry-peach pastry, root beer float with coffee-banana ice cream, and sandalwood soap with a supple, vibrant, fruity full body and a warming, elegant, very long vanilla toffee, brown and peppery spices, and cola finish. A flavor-packed, thrusting, in-your-face bourbon that hits the senses like a velvet brick.
95 points $44.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216461
Bainbridge
Yama Mizunara Cask Single Grain Whiskey
Light amber color. Interesting aromas and flavors of saddle leather and soap, mink oil, butter roasted grains and nuts, and banana-fig cake with a satiny, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, complex, long cashew nougat, fruit cake, dulce du leche gelato, and tobacco finish. A very exotic, leathery whisky with a delicious creamy, fruity center.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
209821
Stagg Jr.
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Copper color. Bright, attractive aromas of toffee, raisin toast, spicy vanilla custard, and floral honey with a supple, racy, fruity full body and a peppery, elegant, long oak, rich brown spices, minerals, and pepper finish. A rich and delicious barrel strength bourbon that delivers a chewy, ton of flavor.
95 points $49.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
209823
Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr.
Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
Amber color. Rich aromas of toasted coconut, creme brulee, fruit danishes, and toffee with a satiny, vibrant, fruity medium-full body and a warming, massive, long sarsaparilla, oak spices, vanilla gelato, and smoked peppercorn finish. A robustly flavorful and multilayered wood nuanced bourbon.
95 points $59.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
219034
Wild Turkey
Kentucky Spirit Straight Bourbon
Amber color. Aromas of kool aid and corn pops cereal, root beer, aloe vera, and leather and chamomile with a round, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a warming, complex, long vanilla, marzipan, honeydew melon, and cardamom and maraschino cherry pit finish. A rough-riding bourbon that is both refined and wild.
94 points $49.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
219032
Russell’s Reserve
Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Amber color. Aromas of wild tart cherries, vanilla bark, and lemon sorbet with a round, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a peppery, layered, long orange peel, bergamot and chopped hazelnut, chocolate dipped biscotti, and potted geranium and dried peppermint finish. An expertly aged bourbon with a great complex and drying finish.
94 points $51.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220658
Valentine
Mayor Pingree Black Label Bourbon Whiskey
Dark amber color. Perfumed aromas of chocolate covered cashew, dried raspberry and pancakes, sweet potato, fine leather, and orange blossom water with a velvety, vibrant, dryish medium-to-full body and a peppery, complex, very long fresh rose petal, aniseed, charred marshmallow, coconut curry, and coriander and cardamom finish. A gorgeous and mature bourbon with a bazaar of exotic spices.
94 points $89.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216746
Eagle Rare
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Clear golden amber color. Sweet, spicy aromas and flavors of spicy fruit cake, cherry cola, nougat bar, and vanilla buttercream with a supple, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, subtle, long spiced nuts, caramel corn, dried fruits, and mocha finish. A powerfully delicious bourbon for all occasions.
94 points $29.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab