6 American Single Malt Whiskeys to Try Now

American single malt can sometimes be difficult to describe, taste-wise, even if the rules are clear—made in the U.S., like bourbon and rye, but from a mashbill of malted barley, like scotch and other single malts from around the globe. With no regulations regarding the type of barrel used, some distillers turn to charred new oak, making a whiskey more in line with bourbon and rye, while others rely on used oak, in the style of most scotch producers.

No matter your preference, American single malts appeal to most whisky lovers. Our Summer 2022 issue looks at the current state of American single malt, which has come a long way since we first examined the efforts to define it two years ago. Whiskey makers across the country are offering their unique takes on this burgeoning style, with some choosing to use peat or other smoke types, others focusing on cask finishing, and a separate group exploring barley varietals. These whiskeys all scored 88 points or more, with McCarthy’s among the highest-scoring entries in this issue’s Buying Guide. Pick one up and find the American single malt that best suits you.

Discover the Variety Within American Single Malt

McCarthy’s 6 year old (Batch MC6-21-01)
92 points, 50%, $100

With a smoky nose reminiscent of a campfire, this velvety whiskey opens up in the glass and presents like a sumptuous barbecue, complete with charcoal smoke and long-cooked meats. It’s extremely flavorful, a 6 year old Oregon single malt from a distiller whose main release is a 3 year old. It is lively and fun, chewy, spicy, and smoky with a touch of mint; water brings in some sweetness that only makes it better.—David Savona

Stranahan’s 10 year old Mountain Angel
90 points, 47.3%, $130

Hints of fragrant mountain pine, sweet lemon, vanilla cream, and spiced toasty oak on an exhilarating nose. Boldly inviting on the palate, with a mouth-coating mélange of vanilla, hints of cherry sorbet, candied raspberries, and coconut shavings, set against bitter chocolate and licorice, all spiced with jalapeño pepper. A finish perhaps not as bold as the palate, but offering tasty notes of coconut, red fruit, and spice. Elegant rusticity in this superbly balanced, individualistic dram. (600 bottles)—David Fleming

Golden Moon Triple Irish-Style
89 points, 46%, $69

Triple distilled from 100% malted barley and aged in new American oak. The nose shows clear malt and wood influence, notes of malted milk balls, Popsicle stick, green banana, and vanilla ice cream in a sugar cone. There’s more wood on the palate, which shows a zippier sense of spice, a creamy texture, and a palatable amount of heat. A mouth-coating finish rounds it out nicely. An unusual style but highly sippable. (1,000 bottles)—Ted Simmons

Downslope
89 points, 40%, $65

An expressive nose delivers bosc pears, melon rind, banana taffy, vanilla extract, and, with water added, Milano cookies: mint and dark chocolate. The palate is silky and light with chocolate cookie, subtle spice, Chewy chocolate-chip granola bar, and more minty dark chocolate. The finish brings back the green melon and spice. There’s dynamic and nuanced flavor here, but the low proof means adding water stretches an already thin palate.—Ted Simmons

Hillrock Estate 5 year old Sherry Cask Finished (High Meadow No. 4)
89 points, 48.2%, $110

Caramel corn, caramel apple, apple crisp, Honey Nut Cheerios, cinnamon babka, and brown sugar cinnamon Pop Tart fill the nose. Rich and velvety, the palate is redolent with hot chocolate, toasted almonds, slightly burnt toast, and ripe raspberries. There’s quite a bit of heat, too; Red Hots and red chiles create a mouth-watering experience. More of that heat and a playful rush of orange zest take center stage on the finish.—Julia Higgins

Greenbar Slow Hand
88 points, 42%, $55

Matured on white oak, hickory, maple, mulberry, red oak, and grape wood. Iced lemon pound cake, raspberry and cheese danish, strawberry shortcake, and cherry pie filling on the nose. Those fruity notes turn herbal when water is added. There’s a nice creamy texture on the palate but a slightly soapy note in addition to bitter oak and dried herbs. The finish showcases more herbal qualities and moderate length. (5,000 bottles)—Ted Simmons

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