While pumpkin spice continues to encroach on the fall flavor spectrum, it hasn’t quite yet supplanted apple as the default seasonal fruit. Regardless of preference—McIntosh, Granny Smith, Fuji, or something else altogether—there’s an apple for every taste. And similarly, there is an abundance of apple-forward whiskies to suit a variety of palates.
Don’t get us wrong: these aren’t apple-flavored whiskies, but they do express apple flavors, whether fresh, cooked, or dried. And they’ll pair perfectly with apple-related activities, like picking in an orchard and baking fresh pies. It is officially fall, so dive into the season’s sweetest pastime and enjoy these whiskies.
Slane Irish Whiskey—$30, 90 points
A blend of whiskeys with three different cask finishes, Slane has a fruity complexity that includes blackberry and apple, along with toffee and vanilla. There’s more dried apple on the finish, plus red berries and leather.
Ideal sip: While loading up a bushel of fresh fruit in the orchard.
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye—$26, 91 points
When Northern Harvest Rye came out, it elevated Crown Royal’s laid back profile to a fruitier, punchier level. Made with 95% rye grain, this whisky has flavors of prunes, peaches, and red apple skins, complemented by hints of vanilla.
Ideal sip: From a flask on an autumn hayride.
Barrell American Whiskey 11 year old (Batch 4)—$65, 90 points
This blended whiskey, finished in rum and rye barrels, has big, assertive molasses flavors tinged with green apple and ginger. A final burst of caramel completes this cask-strength stunner.
Ideal sip: Alongside fresh apple cider donuts.
Shackleton Blended Scotch Whisky—$35, 90 points
This blended whisky has a nose of fresh green fruits, honey, and spice, with a refreshing palate of green melon, light honey, vanilla, cinnamon, and cooked apples. Honoring the famous South Pole explorer, it’s priced just right to be a go-to whisky all season long.
Ideal sip: After bouldering in the autumn sun.
Loch Lomond Single Grain—$29, 88 points
A single grain whisky made of 100% malted barley? Yes, because it’s made in a column still, and in Scotland, single malt whisky is pot-still only. This unusual whisky has nose of dried grass, butterscotch toffee, and fresh green apples. There’s more apple and toffee on the palate, along with citrus, honey, and cinnamon.
Ideal sip: From the top of the Ferris wheel at the county fair.
Stranahan’s Colorado Single Malt—$55, 88 points
What begins as a tightly wound nose opens to reveal layers of brown sugar, apples, pears, and toasted oak. The palate is soft but rounded, with layers of biscuity malt, peppercorns, blackberry fruit, and salted butter. It’s a perfect apple pie whiskey.
Ideal sip: Paired with still-warm-from-the-oven pastry.