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
Old New Orleans
20th Anniversary Blend "King Creole" Rum
Brilliant gold color. Creamy aromas and flavors of chocolate maple nut fudge, spicy fruit chutney, honey vanilla bean gelato, and copper with a silky, vibrant, fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, long vanilla buttercream and cola, tiramisu, pink pepper, and minerals finish. A superbly spicy and intricate sipping rum that will cover all bases.
96 points $84.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Eight Bells
Bright gold color. Lively, pungent aromas and flavors of overripe pineapple and kiwi, honeyed cherry toast, hint of Coleman’s fuel, and copper with a silky, soft, dryish light-to-medium body and a warming, interesting, medium-length Neapolitan ice milk, roasted plantain and nuts, hazelnut milk, and cedar and pepper dust finish. A complex and vibrant gold rum that will pop beautifully in cocktails.
93 points $39.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Charboneau Distillery
Gold Rum
Brilliant golden straw color. Lively, complex, earthy aromas and flavors of exotic honeycomb, lemon-orange spice cake, baked banana, and rubber leaf with a silky, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, elegant, medium-long coconut water, fuel-like minerals, caramel pudding, and bbq rub and grass finish. A complex, multifaceted gold rum with waves of savory cane and spice character.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Steel Pan Rum
Gold color. Faint, elegant, earthy aromas of caramelized nuts, roasted bananas, and brown spices with a velvety, bright, fruity medium body and a tingling, delightful, fast creme brulee, banana flan, copper ore, and fuel-like minerals finish. A superb potstill rum with great complexity and finesse.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Florida Old Reserve
Sherry Cask Rum
Amber color. Pleasant aromas of toffee, raisins, and coconut cream pie with a supple, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a hint of licorice, cherry, and warming brown spices on the finish. A very tasty and cleverly made dark rum for all applications.
93 points $19.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Sugarshine Rum
Clear. Aromas of vanilla yogurt nuts and coconut with a supple, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a long, warming vanilla cream, banana frosting and nougat finish. A clean, tasty overproof rum.
93 points $20 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Select Barrel Reserve Rum
Copper color. Fruity aromas of Jamaican sweet plantains, coconut cooking oil, luxury cigarette shop, and chocolate fudge with a satiny, crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an interesting, medium-long caramelized mango, leather strap, cigarillo, and dried pineapple and vanilla finish. Delicious and elegant flavors and a lingering finish make this a natural choice for stirred rum cocktails.
92 points $33.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Michigan Reserve Rum
Bronze color. Oaky aromas of Brach’s candy, pecan praline, fruit punch, and vanilla maple syrup on oatmeal with a glycerous, dryish full body and a smooth, complex, long pecan brittle, English toffee, dark chocolate with crushed coffee beans, and blackberry caramel finish. An ultra-rich sipping rum that stimulates every part of the palate.
92 points $44.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Jonah’s Curse
Black Spiced Rum
Bright mahogany color. Bright, spicy, toasty aromas of vanilla cola, spice cake, mocha cream, and chocolate cherry with a satiny, lively, off-dry medium body and a smooth, delightful, medium-long sweet brown spices, toffee, and sassafras float finish. A very lively and well balanced spiced rum.
92 points $16.99 Best Buy
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Charboneau Distillery
White Rum
Clear color. Bright, earthy, creamy funky aromas of coconut custard, banana leaf, pepper, and fuel-like and copper minerals with a satiny, bright, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, appealing, breezy sweet cream, spiced bananas, molasses, and licorice finish. A distinctive pot still style white rum that will excel in tiki cocktails.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab