Top North American Whiskeys With Fortified Wine Finishes

Check out our favorite North American whiskeys that have been finished in fortified wine casks!
Nov 10, 2016
  • 10
    10 1792 Port Finish
    81
    Vanilla
    The second edition to Barton's 1792 series is the Barton 1792 Port Finish Bourbon. Like the 1792 Sweet Wheat Bourbon, it's also a limited release. Here, the bourbon was aged for six years in its original new charred American white oak barrels. It was then transferred out and spent another two years in ex-port wine casks, aiming to blend the worlds of vanilla and rich fruits.
  • 9
    9 Dad's Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey Finished in Vermouth Barrels
    84
    Fruity & Herbal
    Still using the same grain mash bill as their rye whiskey (80% rye, 15% malted barley, 5% malted rye), this is aged from 6-9 months in 15 gallon white oak quarter-casks. The whiskey is then transferred to barrels that previously aged California's Quady Vya Sweet Vermouth. It resides here for another 6 months before bottling.
  • 8
    8 Westland Sherry Wood American Single Malt
    84
    Fruity & Spicy
    Westland Sherry Wood uses six different styles of malted barley, four different casks (Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez barrels, used bourbon barrels, and new, heavily-charred American oak) in addition to Belgian Brewer's Yeast. It is matured a minimum of twenty-six months and bottled at 46% ABV. (Note: Re-reviewed May 17, 2016)
  • 7
    7 Abraham Bowman Port Finished Bourbon
    85
    Sweet & Rich
    A. Smith Bowman existed before the Prohibition and is one of the few to pick up again almost immediately after. Interesting fact: the barrels that once held the Port used in the 2nd stage of aging, also once held the Bowman! Yes, get your head around this - the whiskey was aged initially in new oak, then finished in barrels that once held locallly made Port style wine aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Is your mind blown? See if your tastebuds are!
  • 6
    6 High West Yippee Ki-Yay
    86
    Rich & Full Bodied
    High West Yippee Ki-Yay is a marriage of sourced straight rye whiskeys finished in ex-vermouth oak barrels and ex-syrah wine barrels. One is a 2-year rye sourced from MGP/LDI and made with a mash bill of 95% rye and 5% barley malt; while the other is sourced from Barton Distillery and made from a mash bill of 53% rye and 37% corn. The duo makes up their Double Rye before the finishing process.
  • 5
    5 Jim Beam Distiller's Masterpiece
    86
    Rich & Full Bodied
    Jacob Beam sold his first barrel of whiskey in 1795. Today, Jim Beam is one of the most popular bourbon brands in America. Jim Beam considers the Masterpiece to be their best offering among their wide range of products. It’s created from hand-selected rare reserves that are all finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks.
  • 4
    4 Hillrock Estate Port Cask Finished Double Cask Rye
    87
    Full Bodied & Rich
    The foundation of this whiskey is Hillrock’s Double Cask Rye, which is made from 100% organic rye grown in the fields surrounding its Hudson Valley, NY distillery. It’s first aged for 2.5 years in a new oak barrel with a No. 3 char, then another year and a half in a new barrel with a No. 4 char. Then Master Distiller Dave Pickerell takes this very whiskey and gives it a 4-6 week nap in ex-port barrels. In essence it’s a triple cask, but “Port Cask Finished Double Cask” is just more fun to say.
  • 3
    3 Belle Meade Bourbon Sherry Cask Finish
    92
    Rich & Full Bodied
    Limited release of 9 year old Belle Meade Bourbon finished in Oloroso sherry casks. Made with carefully selected barrels from their reserve sourced stock, and blended in small batches. A unique, enhancing finish to Charlie and Andy Nelson's lineup, as they also begin distilling their own spirits in earnest, at their newly opened facility in Nashville.
  • 2
    2 WhistlePig Old World Series Madeira Finish 12 Year
    93
    Sweet & Rich
    The Madeira barrel-finished whiskey from WhistlePig is part of its Old World series, a trio of wine-cask-finished 12-year-old ryes developed by Dave Pickerell, the well-known craft spirits consultant and former Maker’s Mark distiller. Madeira, a fortified wine made on the Portuguese island of the same name, is known for its distinct caramel, roasted nuts and stewed fruit notes. The base rye, is made in Indiana from 95% rye and 5% malted barley,
  • 1
    1 Forty Creek Port Wood Reserve
    94
    Fruity & Full Bodied
    This edition of Forty Creek’s Port Wood Reserve was released in 2012 with a 6,000 bottle run. John Hall took his already mature whisky then aged them in port barrels. And not just any port barrels. John Hall took local Niagara grapes to make his own tawny-style fortified wine that he aged for ten years in heavily charred new white oak barrels. The whisky interacted with the seasoned wood for two and a half years.