Distiller’s American Whiskey Gift Guide 2023

December 6, 2023

It’s gift giving season once again so that means it’s also time for our Holiday Gift Guides! As is the case each year, we’ve done the “tough” part of tasting to make our recommendations. To make your shopping excursions a bit easier, we’ve organized our lists by category and price. Furthermore, we’ve made suggestions for who on your shopping lists the picks would best suit.

For the most part, our picks are widely available so don’t expect to see rare releases with just a few bottles produced. In addition to American whiskeys that are new for 2023, we’ve also included some core expressions you can find year-round.

Sharp eyes will notice that we don’t have any bourbon bottles listed in our American Whiskey Gift Guide. But that’s not because we don’t have any to recommend. On the contrary, there are so many bourbon bottles to suggest we had to make a separate list. Make sure to take a look!

Here, we have all other styles of American whiskeys besides bourbon on our list including rye, Tennessee whiskey, single malt and more! Please note that prices listed are the suggested retail price (SRP) for purchases in the US. Of course, prices may vary depending on your location.

Budget American Whiskey Picks (Under $40)

George Dickel Signature Recipe

What to Know: Formerly known as George Dickel No. 12, Signature Recipe begins with 84% corn, 8% rye, and 8% malted barley. The Tennessee whisky (their spelling) is charcoal filtered prior to being placed in a new, charred oak barrel.

Tasting Notes: Aromas of peanuts, barrel char and vanilla lead to a taste of caramel and hearty oak.

Best Gift for: A friend looking to stock their home bar with a crowd pleaser.

Other Budget American Whiskey Picks: Knob Creek 7 Year Small Batch Rye ($36.99), Bulleit Rye ($30)

Beginner American Whiskey Picks (Under $50)

Jack Daniel’s Bonded Rye

What to Know: Released in 2023, this is the first bottled in bond rye in the history of the brand. It was charcoal mellowed prior to being placed in new toasted & charred American oak barrels made at their own cooperage.

Tasting Notes: Dried fruits, hearty rye grain, and maple syrup with a good mix of barrel spices.

Best Gift for: Your younger sibling looking to graduate from shots to sips.

Other Beginner American Whiskey Picks: Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch ($49), Bernheim 7 Year Original Wheat Whiskey ($34)

Aficionado American Whiskey Picks (Under $200)

Westland Garryana 8

What to Know: Oak indigenous to the Pacific Northwest — Quercus garryana — is used in the production along with Washington red wine, ex-bourbon, and Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. Additionally, six different barley varieties were used.

Tasting Notes: A complex whiskey with layers of toasted oak, red berries, and malt with accents of dried fruit, coffee and dark chocolate.

Best Gift for: A loved one who likes to spend time getting to know a whiskey.

Other Aficionado American Whiskey Picks: Old Elk Master Blender’s Series Double Wheat Straight Whiskey ($99), Little Book: In Retrospect ($149.99)

Westland Garryana 8Westland Garryana 8 /Photo Credit: Westland

Splurge American Whiskey Picks (Over $200)

Wolves The Malted Barley Series Lot Two

What to Know: This whiskey collection varies the barley type, the barley source, the yeast, and the maltings for each release. Here, imported Irish malt and a California Ale were used. A small alembic pot still from Cognac was used to distill.

Tasting Notes: Rich nutty notes, milk chocolate, and an ale aroma transitions to an herbal, grain-forward profile with roasted coffee and oak.

Best Gift for: Your significant other who is growing their whiskey collection.

Other Splurge American Whiskey Picks: Heaven Hill 20 Year Heritage Collection Kentucky Straight Corn Whiskey ($289.99), Scarlet Shade 14 Year Rye ($200)

American Whiskey Picks for Mixing Cocktails:

Old Forester Rye
SRP $27.99

What to Know: This 100 proof rye whiskey has a mash bill of 65% rye, 20% malted barley, and 15% corn — a fairly higher amount of malted barley than is typically seen in a rye. This release was inspired by a historic recipe for Normandy Rye, a brand acquired by Brown-Forman in 1940.

Tasting Notes: A balance of sweet and heat with vanilla, cherrywood, and a mildly medicinal note

Best Gift for: Your co-worker who likes to shake things up!

Other American Whiskey Picks for Mixing Cocktails: Ezra Brooks 99 Proof Straight Rye ($24.99), Old Overholt Bottled in Bond Straight Rye ($24.99)

Unconventional American Whiskey Picks:

WhistlePig The Boss Hog X: The Ten Commandments

What to Know: Two unique finishing barrels were used to age this rye whiskey. The first housed a spirit distilled from rye and whey and infused with aromatic resins. The second held craft mead.

Tasting Notes: Honey roasted peanuts, pine needles, and dark rye pretzels aromas lead to a palate that showcases grape jelly, rye spice and toffee.

Best Gift for: Your best friend with an adventurous spirit.

Other Unconventional American Whiskey Picks: High West Campfire ($79.99), Balcones Brimstone ($49.99)

With Distiller, you’ll always know what’s in the bottle before you spend a cent. Rate, Review and Discover spirits! Head on over to Distiller, or download the app for iOS and Android today!

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