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7 Best High-Roller American Whiskeys

You know who knows best which bottles to buy? The people who pour and sell drinks—that’s who. We asked dozens of top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why.

Heads up: The numerical order below is not organized by importance or quality; it’s a list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary state to state.

1. Westland American Single Malt ($71)


“This distillery is making not only some of the finest whiskeys but some of the finest distillates in the USA. If you need a vote of confidence from abroad, you’ll find bottles on the back bar of legendary whiskey bar The Pot Still in Glasgow. With a mash made up of five different malts and fermented with saison yeast, this whiskey is spicy, fruity, chocolaty and complex.”—Chris Elford, bartender at Rob Roy and co-owner of No Anchor and soon-to-open Navy Strength

2. Thomas H. Handy Sazerac ($480)

“My favorite of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. This one gets better year after year.”—Keli Rivers, bartender at The Devil’s Acre and Whitechapel

3. High West Yippee Ki-Yay ($76)

“HIgh West has always been a great merchant bottler, and this one is a great rye they picked out and finished in syrah and vermouth barrels, which gives it a really cool color and aroma. This bottle was a very popular sipper while it was available.”—Zach Lynch, bar manager at The Ice Plant and brand ambassador at St. Augustine Distillery Co.

4. Willett Family Estate 25-Year ($1,400)

“The best rye I have ever tasted. It boasts a big bold flavor of rich honey notes with a full oak taste as well.”—James Bolt, beverage director and host bartender at The Gin Joint

5. Charbay R5 ($75)

“Charbay is one of my favorite distilleries in America, and this whiskey is an education in a bottle. Made from bottle-ready Racer 5 IPA beer, it clearly highlights the fact that all whiskey is made from beer.”—Michael J. Neff, bar director at Holiday Cocktail Lounge

6. WhistlePig 12-Year Old World ($95)

“Sip and savor. Outstanding rye.”—Simon Ford, co-founder of The 86 Co.

7. Ransom The Emerald 1865 ($90)

“When a distillery decides to make a David Wondrich–researched recipe for 19th-century pot-still Irish whiskey, you should take notice. This one is a gem.”—Neal Bodenheimer, mixologist at and co-owner of Cure and owner of Cane & Table and Café Henri

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