Fall's Coziest Whiskeys
Come this time of the year, I'm rushing to start the fire table and enjoy the last traces of the day’s warmth as it meets the crisp, cool evenings. Whether you're gathered around the fire pit or tailgating at your favorite event, here are some great whiskeys to enjoy during the season with friends and family. Put the brakes on, disconnect, and sip and savor these slowly.
George Dickel Bottled-in-Bond 13-Year ($38 - $50)
This Tennessee Whiskey kicks off our list. Sporting a mash bill of 84% corn, 8% wheat, and 8% malted barley, and a 13-year Bottled-in-Bond age statement, Master Distiller Nicole Austin continues to offer outstanding products release after release.
While carrying an age statement 9 years in excess of the minimum age standard in the Bottled-in-Bond Act, it adheres to all of the requirements specified in the legislation, including: being from a single distillation season, produced by a single distiller at an identified location (in this case, Tullahoman, TN), aged at least 4 years in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision, and bottled at 100 proof.
On the nose, this whiskey exhibits warm, caramel-apple pie notes, followed by a burst of vanilla and oak on the palate with trailing flavors of oak and peppercorn spice. The finish is long with campfire-crackling deeply toasted oak, vanilla and spice. With decent availability at MSRP, this is a bargain upgrade for your Fall event. Offering both complexity and a balance between sweet and savory notes, this is a delightful, cool weather pour that is perfect for enjoying amid the earthy smell of fallen leaves and a setting sun. If you can’t locate this at your favorite store, consider grabbing a bottle of its 8-year-old sibling George Dickel Bourbon.
Knob Creek Small Batch ($30 - $35)
While Jim Beam White Label is perfect for a whiskey-and-coke, this up-sell from the classic Jim Beam is a smooth sipper and is always welcome in our house. The mash bill is the traditional Jim Beam mix of grains - 77% corn, 13% rye, and 10% malted barley.
This 9-year aged bourbon will provide your guests with a full-bodied bourbon experience that is creamy and delicious. The nose is classic bourbon that is packed with caramel, vanilla, and warm maple syrup. At 100-proof, and exceptionally smooth, this is versatile neat, over ice, or in your favorite Fall cocktail.
TinCup American Whiskey ($25 - $30)
When many think of Fall leaves, classic images of the watercolor palette offered by quaint New England villages or the golden aspens of the Rocky Mountains come to mind. TinCup American Whiskey could nearly be a bourbon. Distilled with bourbon-like mash bills at MGP in Indiana, the finished product includes a splash of malt whiskey from Stranahan's in Denver along with a second splash of Rocky Mountain water to complete the blend.
Warm and inviting notes of vanilla and oak meet campfire smoke and the graininess offered by malt whiskey. The bottle with an attached cup-cap is great for enjoying around the campfire at your outdoor event.
Longbranch ($32 - $35)
Developed in collaboration with Marketing Director Matthew McConaughey, this small batch bourbon begins with the traditional Wild Turkey mash bill of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley.
After aging 8 years, the finished bourbon is filtered with charcoal from American White Oak along with Texas Mesquite. The result is a 90-proof bourbon that is approachable with a lighter and softer Wild Turkey profile. There are vanilla and light wood notes, as well as honey, light citrus, and light mesquite smokiness.
($50 - $55)
Introduced in 2019, Four Roses Small Batch Select may not be a brand that you've experienced. This small batch bourbon uses two mash bills:
Mash Bill E: 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% malted barley, and
Mash Bill B: 60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% malted barley
Each of these are married-up with 3 unique yeast strains:
Yeast K: spicy and full-bodied
Yeast F: herbal, and
Yeast V: delicate fruit, spicy and creamy
The resulting small batch bourbon is non-chill filtered and bottled at 104-proof. On the nose there are sweet caramel notes along with a cinnamon-crunch topped fruit compote. The non-chill filtration makes this a rich and creamy experience on the palate with sweet and vanilla balanced with cinnamon and fruit. Packaged in an attractive heart-shaped decanter and sepia-toned label, this whiskey will amaze your friends with its unique flavors, high proof, and exceptional smoothness.
Woodford Reserve Malt Whiskey ($32 - $38)
If malt and Irish whiskeys aren’t your cup of tea, consider trying an American take on malt whiskey. While many are aware of Woodford’s Distiller’s Select and Double-Oaked products, this malt whiskey could almost be labeled as bourbon. The mash bill is 51% malted barley, 47% corn, and 2% rye (51% corn would have allowed this whiskey to be called bourbon).
Bottled at the same proof - 90.4 - as their flagship brand, there is corn sweetness blended perfectly with the grassy and earthy notes from the malt, as well as dark cherries. On the palate, there is cornbread sweetness followed quickly with an explosion graham cracker, dark chocolate, and marshmallow toasted s’more. This one is always welcome at my fire table.