There’s something about the colder seasons that makes us want to drink whiskey. Over the years, whiskey has stepped away from being an "old man’s drink" and moved into mainstream cocktail culture. Now, we see whiskey as being a powerhouse spirit, and for good reason. The liquor is extremely versatile, adding intense flavor profiles to cocktails and standing solidly on its own as well. There’s also something comforting about a shot of whiskey that, when it's sipped slowly, can really warm you up on those cold fall days when you’re outside covered in body paint for the big game, picking apples at your local orchard, or chopping down your Christmas tree in the dead of winter. That being said, it’s hard to find a good whiskey these days that isn’t overdone and overused in whiskey-Coke recipes. But distilleries around the world are coming up with new ways to create whiskey, and consumers are catching on.
"Besides the tall tales that accompany the history of some of these fantastic whiskeys, we also came across some spirits that have been created in interesting ways." What better way to learn more about whiskey and get a sense of what’s new on the market than to attend a massive expo with some of the world’s best whiskeys? On Friday, Oct. 11 we hit the New York City 2013 Whiskey Fest in the hopes of finding some new whiskeys that can’t be missed this fall season. Between sipping some of the world’s rarest and most expensive whiskeys, we also found a few that were not only delicious, but relatively affordable.
The great thing about a craft whiskey is that its recipe typically has a great story behind it. That can be said for The Balvenie’s Caribbean Cask 14-Year Whisky, which is rumored to have been shipped to America and then sent back to Scotland because it was labeled as aged in Cuban barrels. The Balvenie reportedly quickly changed the name of their barrels to "Caribbean," shipped the whisky right back to America, and we now enjoy The Balvenie’s Caribbean Cask rather than Cuban Cask.
Besides the tall tales that accompany the history of some of these fantastic whiskeys, we also came across some spirits that have been created in interesting ways. Hillrock Estate Distillery creates their whiskey by using their own grain that’s been floor-malted and craft-distilled in copper pot stills. The whiskey is then aged in oak and hand-bottled at their estate in the Hudson Valley Highlands.
The phenomenal can't-miss whiskeys on our list range from Scottish single malts to Kentucky craft ryes to boutique Vermont straight ryes. We tasted a range of whiskeys and believe these are the ones that deserve some love this fall season. So the next time you walk into your local liquor store, steer away from Jack, Jim, and Johnnie and try something new.
While we came up with 10 solid whiskeys that we think you should try, there’s a plethora of phenomenal whiskeys out there that are just waiting to be sipped, so let us know your favorites in the comments!