Our Favorite Thanksgiving Whiskey PicksBy Stephanie Moreno
Thanksgiving is one of our favorite days of the year. Any holiday that focuses on family, friends and food is the holiday for us. As we are often relegated to bringing the whiskey for such festivities, we’ve got a good handle on the crowd pleasers (and the value picks). For a great Thanksgiving whiskey, we tend to focus on American whiskey like bourbon, but other worldly whiskeys work too. Also, since the meal is never ready on time, it’s a good idea to have plenty of mixers and snacks to go with the booze. But don’t forget to save some for after the meal they are fantastic digestifs and pair well with all those pies.
This Thanksgiving whiskey list is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good guide whether you’re the host or the guest. All picks are under $50.
This small batch bottling from Heaven Hill is comprised of selected bourbons aged 8-12 years. This no-age statement product was introduced in early 2016 to replace the 12-year age statement. It is bottled at 94 proof. The bourbon brand is named for Rev. Elijah Craig, the man credited with being the first distiller to age bourbon in charred barrels. Flavors of vanilla, butterscotch, and toasted cereal notes shine in this full-bodied bourbon.
As its name would suggest, American Oak is aged in American oak, In this case, they are first-fill ex-bourbon barrels. As such, this would be an excellent stepping stone for bourbon drinkers who would like to give scotch a try. Auchentoshan is a Lowland scotch whisky distillery known for its triple rather than double-distilled single malt expressions. Naturally, this is a sure-fire dram for the holiday.
You might be surprised to learn that the Glendullan Distillery produces almost 4 million liters of whisky per year. Most of the whisky is used in blends such as Old Parr and, until 2007 when it was reintroduced as a single malt by Diageo, that was the distillery’s only function. The Singleton distillery offerings will vary throughout the world, so if you order a Singleton in Asia, you’ll get a single malt from Glen Ord and in Europe you’ll be poured Dufftown. Here in the States, it’s this beauty from Glendullan.
Distilled at its namesake Woodford Reserve Distillery located in Versailles, Kentucky, this straight bourbon was first introduced in 1996. Also known as “Distiller’s Select,” this high-rye bourbon has a mash bill containing 18% rye. It is made from a combination of pot still and column still whiskeys. The bourbon is aged between 6-7 years and carries no age statement. This classic dram makes a fantastic Thanksgiving whiskey with its dried fruit, vanilla, and toffee notes.
Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon is made using the distillery’s OBSV recipe (Four Roses has 10 different recipes). In other words, that means this a straight bourbon with a high-rye mash bill (60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% malted barley). Furthermore, the bourbon is made with a light fruity yeast strain. Each batch will vary slightly as is to be expected from single-barrel bottlings. It’s always a great find, especially if your liquor store has selected its own barrel.
Lot No. 40 Canadian Rye Whisky is distilled at the Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor, Ontario. Its production is overseen by Master Blender Dr. Don Livermore. The whisky is made in a 12,000 liter copper pot still and is 100% rye—90% Canadian rye and 10% malted rye. Lot No. 40 is bottled without an age statement at 86 proof. Expect a full-bodied whisky with fruit, rye bread and oak spices to be present throughout your experience.
After its initial aging in oak barrels, Teeling Small Batch Irish Whiskey is further aged in casks that previously held Flor de Caña rum. The Irish blend is the flagship release from the Dublin-based distillery which opened its doors in 2015. Bottled at 92 proof, expect to find the rum influence on the whiskey with banana and coconut notes. This Thanksgiving whiskey would be great with a cream pie of any sort.
Well, you can’t do a Thanksgiving whiskey list without having a bottle of Wild Turkey on it. This year, go a step above Wild Turkey 101 with the Kentucky distillery’s 10 year-old bourbon. Master distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell select the barrels for each of the 10 Year batches. It’s bottled at 90 proof with Jimmy & Eddie’s signatures proudly displayed on each bottle.