Spirits & Liqueurs Other Whiskey

The Best High-Roller American Whiskey

Image: Elizabeth Reyes

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 an alphabetical list, not a ranking. Prices are averages and can vary from state to state.

  • Charbay Release III ($405)

    "Charbay has a knack for unique whiskey, and this one set the pace for anyone thinking to make whiskey from regular beer." —H. Joseph Ehrmann, owner of San Francisco's Elixir

  • Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select: $199.99

    Bold. Smooth. Classic: These words describe Frank Sinatra and the whiskey named after him. The signature expressionis a tribute in more than just name. It’s aged in special “Sinatra barrels” that give the whiskey a richness and character that would make Frank proud. Check out more about what makes this upscale whiskey an American original.

  • High West Bourye ($80)

    “This whiskey is a marriage of separately aged straight bourbons and rye. The minimal age of four years before blending gives this whiskey the distinction of having classic aromatics from both bourbon and rye.”—Gil Izaguirre, beverage director at Chicago's Honey's

  • High West A Midwinter Nights Dram ($130)

    “It’s a holiday limited release that is a must-buy if you see it. Rich and fruity yet spicy, it’s Christmas in a glass.”—Neal Bodenheimer, owner and bartender at New Orleans' Cane & Table and Cure

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  • High West Campfire ($64)

    “Want to try something different? Campfire is it. This a a combination of Scotland’s peaty scotch and America's sweeter bourbons. This is the perfect harmony.”—Tomas van den Boomgaard, beverage manager at The Langham, Chicago

  • High West Yippee Ki-Yay ($80)

    “It’s a brilliant example of what wine casks can do to American whiskey.”—Ehrmann

  • Hudson New York Corn ($56)

    “It’s a lot of fun for the moonshine lovers out there and excellent for cocktail making.”—Lara Lowenhar, beverage director at New York City's La Pecora Bianca

  • Michter’s US*1 Toasted Barrel Finish Rye ($130)

    “If you've had the toasted barrel bourbon, you know this rye is going to be amazing. Michter’s is known for making great rye whiskeys as well as high-rye bourbons. This toasted barrel is sure to delight with great flavors of spice that rye whiskeys give, with a little extra kick from the toasted barrel.”—Juyoung Kang, lead bartender at Las Vegas' Dorsey

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  • Ransom The Emerald 1865 ($95)

    “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.”—Bodenheimer

  • Sonoma County Distilling Co. 2nd Chance Wheat ($60)

    “Another shining example of what's happening in California whiskey, this take on wheat is phenomenal.”—Ehrmann

  • St. George Baller ($230)

    “First sipping it, it reminds me of a crisp, dry Basque-style cider. It has lots of orchard fruit, almond skin and a clean finish. It's amazing in Highballs, but it's also a great sipping spirit.”—Brian Means, bartender at San Francisco's Mina Group

  • St. George Lot 17 Single Malt ($100)

    “It is around $100 retail and 100 percent barley and has dusty cocoa and roasted nuttiness, balanced by delicate floral notes—super rich on the palate.”—Aaron Paul, bar director at San Francisco's Alta

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  • Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 Year Rye ($2,500)

    “In my opinion, it’s the best of all the Van Winkles.”—Bodenheimer

  • Westland Garryana ($160)

    “Westland is certainly the leader when it comes to the emerging category of American single malts. This release incorporates some malt whiskey aged in barrels made using Quercus garryana, an oak species native to the Pacific Northwest. It adds an amazing spice complemented by chocolate notes.”—Michael Lazar, whiskey concierge and lead bartender at San Francisco's Hard Water

  • Westland Sherry Wood Single Malt ($73)

    “It’s one of the best expressions of American single malt out there.”—Ehrmann

  • WhistlePig The Boss Hogg IV The Black Prince ($400)

    “It’s a unique and rare rye whiskey aged for 14 years in Armagnac barrels, which gives it stone fruit notes.”—Van den Boomgard

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  • WhistlePig FarmStock Rye ($92)

    “It has climbed the charts for best rye in a very short time. This FarmStock has notes of oak, vanilla, baking spices, stone fruits and mint. Its complex finish give notes of tobacco, dark chocolate and butterscotch—just a Christmas-in-July feeling that’s good year-round.”—Kang

  • Willett Family Estate 4 Year Straight Rye ($115)

    “Willett Distillery has been putting out whiskey from several years but not till recently started distilling its own juice and aging it. As the rye has seen four years, going on five, it has great spice and structure for sipping on a cold night.”—Izaguirre

  • Wright & Brown Rye ($60)

    “This is the first whiskey out of Oakland since Prohibition, and they are doing it right. I can't wait to see what comes out of here in the coming years.”—Ehrmann