Ten years ago, as craft distillers pursued their dreams, the market saw new American whiskey styles. Young and inspired distillers were smoking grains, distilling unique malts and conducting barrel finishes unheard of on this side of the pond.
Consumers reaction ranged from “gross” and “meh” to “brilliant” and “wow.” While Kentucky certainly maintained its stronghold on American whiskey, the craft distillers showed the world that their whiskey can be as formidable as anything made in the Bluegrass State.
And in the past couple years, we’ve seen an uptick of 3- to 6-year-old craft distilled whiskeys, many of which are on the verge of out tasting the best of Kentucky. In a blind tasting last year, Woodinville, straight off the shelf, nearly beat Pappy Van Winkle 23-year-old, while Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye is out tasting the Indiana ryes most people are bottling. (See my list of Craft Whiskeys to buy right now.)
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