Our 10 Favorite American Single Malt Whiskeys

Published By

When you hear the term “single malt,” your mind more than likely heads straight to Scotland. This is because, on top of being the home of Sean Connery, the country that cloned “Dolly” the sheep, and the creators of the culinary mystery known as haggis, Scotland is known for one thing in particular: single malt Scotch whisky. And, while this country makes a lot of single malt whisky (more than 130 distilleries and growing), it’s not the only country that makes it.

Sure, to be called a Scotch, the whisk(e)y must be made in Scotland. That’s obvious. But, regardless of whether it’s made in the homeland of Ewan McGregor and Gerard Butler, it can still be called single malt whisk(e)y.

For those unaware, single malt whiskey is defined as a whiskey that’s made at one distillery using malted barley as the only grain in the mash bill. While this is regulated in Scotland, there’s not technically a law stipulating what exactly a single malt whiskey is in the US. Luckily, most (if not all) well-known American expressions (unless otherwise labeled) adhere to these rules. And, if you didn’t know it already, we’re in the middle of a single malt whiskey boom in the United States.

So, it’s a great time to grab a bottle or two. From Washington State to Florida, distilleries all over the country are launching single malt expressions. This means that, while some aren’t noteworthy, others are perfect for fans of single malt Scotch looking to try something a little more local. To help these drinkers find their new favorite whiskey, we’ve decided to list ten of our favorite American single malt whiskeys below. Keep scrolling to see all of the picks.

Westward American Single Malt Whiskey

Westward American Single Malt Whiskey

This award-winning whiskey starts a little different from most. First, the folks at Oregon’s Westward Whiskey start with the brewing of an ale from start to finish using locally-course malted barley, ale yeast, and slow, cold fermentation. They take this beer and instead of drinking it (although we bet they take a few sips), distill it two times in low-reflux pot stills. It’s then aged in new, charred American oak casks. The result is a rich, flavorful single malt with notes of toasted vanilla beans, butterscotch, dried fruits, slight wintry spices, and chocolate. The finish is a mix of fruity sweetness and oak.

  • Origin: Oregon
  • Proof: 90
  • Price Range: $65-75
Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey

Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey

Like some of the other single malts on this list, Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey starts as a 100 percent malted barley-based craft beer. Then, it’s distilled twice on two different stills. The distillers feel that this is the best way to create the most flavorful whiskey. After distillation, the liquid is matured for a minimum of thirty-two months in new, charred American oak barrels. This creates an exquisitely complex whiskey with hints of raisins, buttery caramel, maple candy, candied orange peels, and vanilla beans. It ends with a warming, sweet, pleasing finish.

  • Origin: Washington State
  • Proof: 100
  • Price Range: $65-85
Santa Fe Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey

Santa Fe Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey

One of the most unique whiskeys on this list, Santa Fe Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey might make you have a double-take if you find it at a liquor store. That’s because it looks just like a bottle of Scotch, but it’s made in New Mexico. That appearance isn’t a mistake. The distillers at Santa Fe Spirits set out to create a single malt whiskey that tastes just like its Scottish counterpart. They did this by using distilling malted barley and aging it in a variety of charred oak barrels. But, like single malt whiskies from Islay, its barley is smoked (in this case, mesquite smoked instead of peat smoked) to give this whiskey a smoky, sweet, memorable flavor profile.

  • Origin: New Mexico
  • Proof: 92
  • Price Range: $55-75
Corsair Triple Smoke American Single Malt Whiskey

Corsair Triple Smoke American Single Malt Whiskey

One of the most awarded American single malt whiskeys, Nashville’s Corsair’s complex, international-themed flagship expression is made using three different smoked malted barleys. The first is smoked with Wisconsin cherrywood, the second is German beechwood, and the last is Scottish peat. The result is an effortlessly smoky, complex sipper with flavors of dried cherries, sweet caramel, vanilla beans, peat, and a healthy dose of campfire smoke. Fans of peat-smoked Scotch whisky should grab a bottle of this expression. They’ll be happy they did.

  • Origin: Tennessee
  • Proof: 80
  • Price Range: $45-65
FEW Single Malt Whisky

FEW Single Malt Whisky

Evanston, Illinois’ FEW is well-known for its bourbon. But you definitely shouldn’t sleep on its single malt whisky (labeled without the ‘e’ to pay tribute to its ancestor across the pond). This single malt is made from a 100 percent cherrywood smoked malted barley mash bill. It’s aged in new, charred American oak casks to ensure a whisky with notes of toasted vanilla beans, chocolate, dried cherries, clover honey, cooking spices, and rich, woody oak. The finish is gentle and warming, with just a wisp of smoke.

  • Origin: Illinois
  • Proof: 93
  • Price Range: $65-75
Stranahan’s Original Single Malt Whiskey

Stranahan’s Original Single Malt Whiskey

One of the most well-known American single malt whiskeys, Stranahan’s flagship whiskey is made in small batches with locally sourced barley and aged in new, charred American oak casks for at least four years before being proofed down using pure Rocky Mountain spring water. This non-chill filtered single malt whiskey is known for its flavors of butterscotch, brown sugar, spicy cinnamon, raisins, fresh leather, with a gentle, fruity, oaky finish.

  • Origin: Colorado
  • Proof: 94
  • Price Range: $55-65
Cedar Ridge The Quintessential American Single Malt Whiskey

Cedar Ridge The Quintessential American Single Malt Whiskey

We mentioned that the first place drinkers envision when they think about single malt whiskey is Scotland. Well, the last place might be Iowa. But the folks at Cedar Ridge are on a mission to change that with its Quintessential American Single Malt Whiskey. Distilled using 100 percent malted barley and aged in ex-bourbon barrels before being cask finished, it’s rich, robust, and loaded with notes of vanilla cream, butterscotch, dried fruits, fresh leather, and cinnamon. The finish is long, warming, and a nice mix of herbal and sweet flavors.

  • Origin: Iowa
  • Proof: 92
  • Price Range: $59-75
Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky

Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky

Balcones is one of the most awarded distilleries in Texas. It’s beloved by critics and drinkers alike. But, while it gets high praise for its bourbons, we believe one of its best expressions is actually Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky. This non-chill filtered single malt whiskey is distilled from 100 percent malted, unpeated barley. It’s aged in new, charred American oak casks in small batches and is blended to create a complex, mellow whiskey with flavors like candied orange peels, buttery caramel, vanilla cream, honey, toffee, and slight cinnamon sugar. The finish is long, warming, and filled with oaky wood that leaves you craving more.

  • Origin: Texas
  • Proof: 106
  • Price Range: $70-80
Westland American Single Malt Whiskey

Westland American Single Malt Whiskey

This highly complex single malt whiskey from Washington State is the distillery’s flagship expression for a reason. Featuring pale, Munich, extra special, pale chocolate, brown, and even Baird’s peated malted barley, it’s aged for a minimum of forty months in various vessels including ex-bourbon, oloroso sherry, and American oak barrels. The result is a totally complex, mellow whiskey with notes of candied orange peels, butterscotch, dried fruits, vanilla beans, slight winter spices, and rich, woody oak. It all ends in a cacophony of nutty, rich, warming sweetness.

  • Origin: Washington State
  • Proof: 92
  • Price Range: $55-70
Virginia Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whiskey

Virginia Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whiskey

Don’t let this whiskey’s long name take away from how undeniably delicious and noteworthy it is. This whiskey is half tradition and half innovation as it’s distilled with a mash bill of 100 percent malted barley before being aged for at least three years in a combination of ex-bourbon, ex-sherry, and former Cuvée casks. This results in a complex, smooth whiskey with notes of vanilla beans, dried cherries, orange zest, dark chocolate, slight peppery spice, and oak. It all ends with a final warming, sweet, lingering finish.

  • Origin: Virginia
  • Proof: 92
  • Price Range: $65-85

Disclosure: Clicking on these links and making a purchase may earn us a small referral fee, at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.

Join The List.

Subscribe and get the latest goods straight to your inbox.