Best Rye: Frey Ranch Straight Rye Whiskey
These are exciting times for rye whiskey, especially among the nations smaller-scale producers. Among them all large and small none capture the spicy, savory, herbaceous essence of the grain in distilled form as purely and attractively as Nevadas Frey Ranch Distillery. A bonafide grain to glass release, this producer grows all of the winter cereal used in this 100 percent rye whiskey, and the finished product is undeniably worth the effort.
Average price: $66
Frey Ranch Straight Bourbon Whiskey
45% ABV , 750 ml
Review from the Whiskey Wash: “Nestled in the heart of the Lake Tahoe Watershed just outside of Fallon, Nevada since 1854 is Frey Ranch. There are less than 3,000 farms in the Silver State as water rights make agriculture a less lucrative business. Farming coincides with whiskey, and just as there is an art to distilling there is an art to farming. Fifth-generation farmer and CEO Colby Frey saw an opportunity to expand his farming expertise into distillation and considers himself a whiskey farmer.While wine production began in 2001, distilling hard spirits began in 2006. Up until 2010 Nevada hadnt fully enacted laws regulating small distilleries, so that gave Frey plenty of time to master his whiskey recipe. Every part of the whiskey making process is done on the 2500 acre ranch the crops are sustainably grown, malted, distilled, aged, and bottled. Frey Ranch Estate Distillery officially opened in 2014.
Previously making vodka, gin, and absinthe, Frey Ranch Estate Distillery has launched their straight bourbon whiskey. Made with only 10 percent of their crops, the rest of their crops mostly go to the dairy next door to feed the cows. The whiskey is distilled in a custom Vendome still before it is matured for four years. Four fermenters, a beer well, and a mash cooker that can hold up to 5000 gallons each also sit in the distillery.
The Best Bourbons Over $100
Bookers Bourbon 2021-04 Noe Strangers Batch
The fourth and final 2021 release from Bookers, this iteration was aged for 6 years, 6 months, and 12 days, and arrives at a dizzying 62.2 percent ABV. As with all cask-strength bourbons, it proves to be a heady, in-your-face experience, though not one that lacks nuance or complexity. Fruity, floral notes take charge on the intense nose, while the palate leans into baked desserts and rich caramel. Dont be afraid to add a splash of water. Average price: $113. Rating: 93.
Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Bourbon Whiskey
Launched in 2020, Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel quickly won over bourbon aficionados, and bottles now fetch much more than its $50 MSRP at retail. Made by finishing standard Elijah Craig in new, custom-toasted oak barrels, the bourbon has multiple layers of aromas and flavors that go well beyond wood. Expect sweet caramel tones on the nose, and enticing coffee and dark chocolate on the palate. If you come across this bottle, dont leave it sitting on the shelf. Average price: $132. Rating: 93.
Knob Creek 15 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey
Larceny Barrel Proof A122
I.W. Harper 15-Year-Old Bourbon Whiskey
Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Spring 2022
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Best Irish Whiskey: Green Spot Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Irelands native single pot still style offers a unique experience within the whiskey world, delivering rich, cereal-forward sips with complex texture. Made using a blend of 7- and 10-year-old distillates, Green Spot is a shining example of the style, captivating the senses with oaty, dried fruit aromas, rich banana notes, and playful tannic spice on the palate.
Average price: $64
Best Single Barrel Whiskey: 1792 Single Barrel Bourbon
This single barrel release is produced at Buffalo Traces Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown, Ky. Sure to please those who enjoy their bourbon on the decadent side, it opens with nutty, caramelized banana aromas, then follows with toasted oak and a touch of rye spice. Each sweet, concentrated sip coats the palate in a warm, flavorful embrace.
Average price: $53
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Best Blended Scotch: Johnnie Walker 18 Year Old Blended Scotch Whisky
As the second child in the Johnnie Walker family, many might look past this 18-year-old release in favor of the brands iconic Blue Label bottling. Where value for money is concerned, this could be considered a mistake. With an average price of around half its elder siblings, this expression comes exceedingly close in terms of quality, complexity, and depth of flavor, delivering a greatest hits of the many styles of Scotch in one harmonious blend.
Average price: $91
Frey Ranch Farmers + Distillers
An astonishing 165 years of farming expertise and custom distilling techniques make Frey Ranch Farmers + Distillers one of Nevadasand the worldspremier grain-to-glass operations, specializing in single-barrel, straight bourbon and rye whiskey. One of only a handful of estate distilleries on the entire planet, fifth-generation Nevadans Colby and Ashley Frey lead the Silver States sippin scene from Fallon, NVThe Oasis of Nevada. Located about an hour east of Reno along the Loneliest Road in America, Frey Ranch sits significantly lower in elevation than surrounding valleys in verdant farmland ripe for growing the kind of grain that shines through with intricate flavors in these world-renowned sagebrush spirits.
Fifth-generation Nevada grain growers at Frey Ranch Farmers + Distillers proudly produce strong, top-shelf bourbon, rye, and single-barrel whiskey on their historic ranchall made from grain thats grown just a corks throw away in their own fields.
The heart of the operation is Colby Frey, who oversees the process of growing, distilling, maturing, and bottling multiple styles of whiskey, right there on his familys historic Frey Ranch. The first to Nevadas commercial distilling scene , Colby relied on knowledge gleaned from his familys five generations of farming the same ground to transform his ranch into one of the nations few estate distilleriestwo of which are in Nevada .
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Best Splurge Whiskey: The Macallan Double Cask 18 Years Old
Some things are worth balling-out for. This luxe permanent expression from The Macallan happens to be one of them. The prized juice is aged in ex-oloroso sherry oak casks, which impart aromas of rich caramel and golden raisins, offset by a whiff of spicy ginger. On the palate, expect lush, nutty goodness along with an undercurrent of dried fruit. You wont regret splurging on this bottle.
Average price: $380
Best Bourbon: Knob Creek 12 Year Old Bourbon
With an average price of close to $70, this release doesnt qualify as an everyday sipper for most drinkers. Yet so enticing and characterful is its profile that you might struggle to reach for anything else in your bourbon collection after buying a bottle. At 12 years old and 50 percent ABV, it finds a powerful yet balanced sweet spot, overdelivering on age and quality compared with similarly priced bottles .
Average price: $68
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Best Cask Finished Whiskey: Arran Single Malt Sauternes Cask Finish
Cask finished whiskies are by no means hard to come by these days, but this bottling stands out from the pack, especially in the Scotch realm. Aged in Sauternes casks, this whiskys notes of honey, white flowers, and ripe peaches reflect those of the prized sweet wines from Bordeaux. Add to that a rich texture that coats the palate, and you have a truly memorable spirit ideal for sipping over a large cube of ice.
Average price: $80
Frey Ranch Bourbon & Whiskey
The Frey family values hard work, sustainable farming and prides themselves on their slow-grown grain, which is the essence of their famous, non-chill filtered, 90-proof bourbon. While the Frey Ranch started with farming grains, they now fancy themselves Whiskey Farmers, raising the standards for whiskey in the United States.
The Frey Ranch Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a three-time, gold award-winning whiskey crafted in 2020. It is non-chill-filtered and made of four slow-grown grains. The whiskey will sweep you away with its tasting notes of earthy wood and leather with a pinch of cinnamon and spice. It also has hints of honey, burnt orange peel, and vanilla.
The straight rye whiskey is another award-winning libation that received double-gold awards in the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This 100% rye whiskey is smooth enough to sip straight and yet spicy enough to shine in cocktails. In addition, the single barrel whiskeys are bottled at barrel strength, meaning that no water is added to proof it down, ensuring the customer tastes exactly what Colby tasted when he crafted this liquid gold onsite.
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Frey Ranch Rye Bottled
If youre not familiar with the folks at Frey youre missing out because theyre doing craft right and their Frey Ranch Rye Bottled-In-Bond is no exception. I loved the Frey bourbon, the second I tried it I knew I was tasting something unique in the craft whiskey world and, not to spoil it too much, I pretty much felt the same way about the rye. They know what theyre doing.
The bottle looks great, the label looks great, the cork and glass are heavy and feel premium and when it comes to the info on their label Im happy with it all except for one thing no season. Im happy theres a batch #, but not happy there is no distillation and bottling season on there. Id love to know if this was a spring distillation and a fall bottling or vice-versa.
I know it doesnt have a ton to bear on the whiskey, but when youre dealing with smaller distilleries like this its interesting to try a fall distillation vs a spring distillation and see if you do pick up anything different. Especially when its from a farm that grows their own grain. Its super nerdy, but fun to try.
Anywho lets get to drinkin!
All Of The Best Whiskey To Drink In 2022
From the simple combination of grain, water, and yeast, distillers yield a stunningly complex array of spirits. Were talking, of course, about the world of whiskey. And it is a veritable planet, with single nations producing myriad styles, and distillers planting flags in each of the metaphorical corners of the globe.
While its hard, if not impossible, to reduce each style and nation down to one definitive example, certain bottles serve as shining ambassadors for their categories. Catering to every budget, palate, and drinking occasion, here are 15 of the best whiskeys to drink in 2022.
The Worlds Best Whiskey
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Best Japanese Whisky: The Hakushu Single Malt Japanese Whisky Aged 12 Years
The youngest and most available expression from Suntorys Hakushu line, this release still arrives with a hefty price tag but such is the nature of shopping for high-quality Japanese whisky. Stump up for a bottle and rest assured that the liquid inside will deliver considerable consolation. Delicately peated, this single malt serves tantalizing smokiness that weaves wonderfully among savory notes of herbal green tea. Orchard and stone fruit provide a robust, attractive, fruity core.
Average price: $204
A Bourbon Of The Land
A true farm-to-table bourbon, Frey Ranch Four-Grain Straight Bourbon Whiskey is 100% sustainably grown, malted, distilled, matured, and bottled on the Frey Ranch. Aged for 5 years, this 90-proof bourbon is smooth yet complex with oak and citrus aromas followed by vanilla, caramel, banana chips, and dried hay on the palate. With a 4-grain mash bill of non-GMO corn, winter cereal rye, winter wheat, and two-row barley-malted on site, this is a flavorful bourbon that can easily be enjoyed on its own, yet also holds up in any whiskey-based cocktail.
100% Grown on Frey Ranch. Double Distilled for a Higher Quality Whiskey.
Oak & citrus aromas are met by hints of honey, burnt orange peel and candied orange in a dry, medium intensity. Vanilla and caramel lead way to dried mint, banana chips, candy corn, and dried hay with a long finish of cedar, pepper and treacle. Our mash bill is born from the non-gmo corn, winter cereal rye, winter wheat and two-row barley in our fields just beyond the ranch house porch destined for a distinctively satisfying bourbon.
At Frey Ranch, five generations of know-how goes into every barrel of our Straight Bourbon Whiskey. On the farm, our four slow-grown grains arenât only a legacy, but a point of pride, specifically raised for a new generation of whiskey lovers.
ALL of our GRAINS ARE SLOW GROWN presenting a RICHER, SMOOTHER WHISKEY experience
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Glenfiddich 18 Year Old Lunar New Year Edition
Style: Single maltAvailability: Travel Retail only
Need to know:
This special-edition bottling of Glenfiddich 18 year old celebrates the Lunar New Year. It was designed by artist Rlon Wang, and pays homage to Glenfiddichs stag icon.
Whisky Advocate says:
The whisky in this bottle is regular Glenfiddich 18 year old, and its price hasnt changed . If youre looking for a special gift for the Lunar New Year , this could be just the thingbut youll have to hit up an airport in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, or another Asian city to find it.
Best New World Whiskey: Stauning Floor Malted Rye Whisky
Made to the same specifications as American rye whiskey, Stauning uses locally sourced grains, floor malting, and pot distillation for this remarkable Danish release. Stylistically, its profile mimics Nordic cuisine, with notes of caraway seeds defining its personality-rich nose and palate. Bottled at 3 years old, it delivers complexity well beyond its age.
Average price: $80
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The Best Bourbons Under $50
Broken Barrel Whiskey Co. California Oak Bourbon
Distilled in Kentucky, this high-rye release is finished using a mix of virgin French Oak staves and California Cabernet wine cask staves. The process has a noticeable and enjoyable influence on the final whiskey, imparting a prominent vanilla note and juicy red berry flavors. If youre a regular wine drinker looking to explore bourbon, this is the bottle for you. Average price: $31. Rating: 91.
Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The eponymous release from the Buffalo Trace distillery, this expression remains among the most widely available and easily obtainable from the brand. That doesnt mean it should go overlooked, though. This is a solid entry-level bourbon with enjoyable caramel, brown sugar, and spice notes. It also performs valiantly when used in cocktails. Average price: $35. Rating: 91.
Hirsch Selected Whiskeys The Horizon
Hirsch combines a blend of two rye-forward Indiana-distilled bourbons for this release. The first, and majority component, is a little under 5 years old, while the second made from an even higher-rye mash bill is aged more than 6 and a half years. Unsurprisingly, rye is notable throughout, lending a black pepper spice to the nose and a sharp bite to the finish. Notes of red petals and dried cherries lend further complexity. Average price: $38. Rating: 92.
Russells Reserve 10 Years Old
Pinhook Bourbon Heist
Frey Ranch Bourbon Overall Thoughts And Score
There is a lot to talk about when it comes to the Frey Ranch Bourbon. The grain production is thoughtful, the distilling and maturation is thoughtful, their use of spent grain is thoughtful and even the bottle is thoughtful with its recycled metal top and belt buckle label which is a nod to their family. There is so much to talk about I could go on tangent after tangent, but Im going to keep it focused on the whiskey which is good.
The Freys have proven something Ive been pondering about and musing about, out loud here, for years and thats the need for humidity in the whiskey maturation process. Before adding humidity to their warehouses their whiskey was woody, tannic and crafty. Now now it tastes like a well matured, integrated, bourbon with warmth, depth and complexity.
True it still has a ways to go before it hits the level of a Bookers or a Russells, but its far ahead of so many of its contemporary craft counterparts. So much so, that until I talked to the owners and distiller, and got a virtual tour of the facility, I was convinced it was sourced whiskey with shady labeling. Im elated that isnt the case and instead the Frey Ranch Bourbon is a phenomenal example of what can be achieved with a thoughtful approach. Well done folks.
*Disclosure: The bottle for this bourbon review was graciously sent to me by the company without obligation. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Frey Ranch Bourbon Review $45
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Frey Ranch Straight Bourbon & More New Whisky
January 3, 2020 | Susannah Skiver Barton
New year, new whisky. While there arent many new bottles out on shelves just yet, here are two.
Frey Ranch Estate Distillery in Nevada just debuted its straight bourbon in its home state, and will be rolling it out in California shortly. The whiskey is priced at $50.
Glenfiddich is offering a special package for its 18 year old in honor of the Lunar New Year. Priced at $90, its available in Travel Retail in select Asian airports.
Read on for full details.
Best Canadian Whisky: Crown Royal Noble Collection Rye Aged 16 Years
While age statements neither equate to nor guarantee quality, its worth stating how remarkable it is that this 16-year-old release carries an average price of just $76. Though admittedly still not cheap, the extensive time in barrel has produced a dazzling array of aromas and flavors, ranging from kettle corn and violets to sweet pepper spice and toasted oak.
Average price: $76
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