Spirits & Liqueurs Other Whiskey

16 Whiskeys You Should Own

Image: Elizabeth Reyes

Looking for the perfect bottle of bourbon or rye? We asked top bartending and spirits industry professionals to tell us which bottles they love and why.

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

  • Angel’s Envy Rye ($83)

    “The Caribbean rum cask finish on the Angels Envy rye provides a succulent sweet sherry-like finish on the spicy rye.”—Craig Schoettler, beer curator at Beerhaus and director of spirits, wine and beer at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas

  • Barrell Batch 011 Bourbon ($81)

    “Barrell is an independent bottler that’s sourcing some really great whiskey as single barrels and small batches at barrel proof. Batch #011 bourbon was a standout in a recent blind tasting.”—Erik Adkins, bar manager of Hard Water in San Francisco

  • Blanton's the Original Single Barrel Bourbon ($55)

    “Since the first time I had ever tasted this amazing bourbon, it has remained one of my favorites and certainly always will. It’s rich and full flavored, with orange peel and clove aromas. A classic treat, balanced with citrus, sweet grains, sugar and spice.”—Logan E. Rushing, head bartender and whiskey curator for The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo.

  • Four Roses Elliott's Select Barrel Strength Limited Edition Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($396)

    “Elliot's Select, if you can find it, a beautiful expression boasting a 14-year-old whiskey, is everything you want from a world-class bourbon. Peach, nutmeg, vanilla and maple are only a few characteristics of the pleasantly complex bourbon.”—Craig Schoettler, beer curator at Beerhaus and director of spirits, wine and beer at ARIA Resort & Casinodd

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  • Four Roses Single Barrel ($43)

    “It's accessible and classy. People know the brand but not necessarily this one. It has character and a little punch but also sweet and liked all around.”—Marcel Simoneau, owner of Noorman's Kil in New York City

  • Henry McKenna 10 Year Bottled-in-Bond Single Barrel Bourbon ($32)

    “Bourbon carrying an age statement is quickly becoming collectors-only territory, available in small quantities and demanding big bucks. Thank goodness for this bottle—quality and affordability in spades.”—Beau Williams, owner and bartender at Julep in Kansas City, Mo.

  • Leopold Bros. Maryland-Style Rye ($48)

    “This highlights the pre-Prohibition production of a less aggressive, gentler, more mild spiced/subtle flavor to start with a youthful, spiced zestful, berry feeling, rounded out with a peppery, clove/smoked cinnamon.”—Shanna L. Sweeney, sales and marketing coordinator at Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa in Colorado

  • Maker’s Mark Private Select Bourbon ($70)

    “I may be a little partial to the Stoke Edition of this one, as this is the barrel I was able to create with the team at Maker’s Mark specifically for our restaurant. So you may not be able to get it, but the Maker’s Mark Private Select would make a solid substitute.”—Sean Potter, head of “eat and drink” at Stoke in Charlotte, N.C.

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  • Old Forester Birthday Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($350)

    “The nose reminds you of sitting in a battered leather chair in a library, which leaves you floored by the palate's powerful confectionary notes laced around stewed fruit and perfectly integrated oak. Happy birthday indeed!”—Joaquín Simó, partner and bartender at Pouring Ribbons in New York City

  • Old Weller Antique Bourbon ($61)

    “This is a great heated bourbon that shares its DNA with the famous (and much more expensive) Pappy Van Winkle.”—Nicholas Bennett, head bartender at Porchlight in New York City

  • Pikesville 6 Year 110 Proof Straight Rye ($54)

    “Only seasoned palates can appreciate the beauty of this whiskey: fruity, spicy, rich, long, transporting. No need for water. A true sipping beauty the millennials haven't discovered yet.”—Flavien Desoblin, owner of Brandy Library and Copper & Oak

  • Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye ($57)

    “This is a wonderfully bold rye with all the spiciness you would expect with the complexity of a single barrel. It's like drinking three different whiskeys from beginning, middle and end.”—Nick Elliott, general manager at Whiskey Kitchen in Nashville

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  • WhistlePig 12 Year Old World ($119)

    “A great blend of three different finished WhistlePigs giving a balanced and unique rye experience.”—Mike Raymond, co-founder at Reserve 101 in Houston

  • Willett Pot Still Reserve Bourbon ($48)

    “From Willett Distillery, it’s a great bourbon that comes in an ornate pot-still-shaped bottle, which is just made for celebration.”—Bill Thomas, owner or Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, D.C.

  • W.L. Weller 12 Year Wheated Kentucky Straight Bourbon ($172)

    “It's a soft, balanced bourbon from the addition of wheat to the traditional bourbon mash. It's also very complex.”—Masa Urushido, bar manager at Saxon + Parole in New York City

  • Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon ($57)

    “I find this newer expression of Woodford to be exceptional in a crowd of bourbons trying to do unique things with wood. It has layers of complexity that make it very unique and delicious.”—H. Joseph Ehrmann, proprietor at Elixir in San Francisco