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Three Trending American Single Malts

Updated: May 30


Trending American single malt whiskies

Image by The Whisky Ardvark


In the early 2000s, the US experienced a significant increase in whiskey distilleries. This resulted in a record-breaking number of whiskey distilleries established in 2013 and 2014. The rising number of distilleries was made possible by repealing old regulations and introducing new laws in different states, many of which still had alcohol production restrictions dating back to the start of Prohibition. According to a case study by The Whisky Ardvark in 2023, out of 1,067 American whiskey distilleries, around 172 (16.1%) were also producing single malt whiskey.


Due to the growing interest in producing single malt whiskey in the US, the country's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) proposed guidelines to define what an American single malt is in July 2022. However, no update has been made on when the regulation will take effect.


The proposal to define American single malt whiskey requires that it must be made using 100% malted barley, mashed, distilled and aged in the United States, produced in a single distillery in the United States, aged in oak barrels not exceeding 700 litres, and distilled to no more than 80% ABV. It must also be bottled at no less than 40% ABV and should not contain neutral spirits. However, colouring, flavouring, and blending elements are permitted.


Some companies known for bourbon and Tennessee whiskies have recently introduced their take on the spirit due to the growing interest in American-made single malts. Here are the three latest entries to the ever-increasing category.



 

Jack Daniel's Single Malts


In November 2022, Jack Daniel's introduced its first single malt - a limited edition called 'Twice Barreled', made in the famous Tennessee whiskey distillery in Lynchburg. The 2022 Special Release is made entirely of malted barley mashbill, aged for four years in new, charred American oak barrels, and finished in ex-oloroso sherry casks for another two years. The malt whiskey is charcoal-mellowed, following the distillery's traditions, and bottled at around 53% ABV. It was sold for $70 (£63) in selected markets across the US.


In 2023, Jack Daniel's launched its exclusive travel retail single malt, also finished in oloroso sherry casks. The release is bottled at a lower ABV of 45% and has a suggested retail price of $99.99 (£79). According to a representative from Brown-Forman, the release may also be made available in other markets.


Jack Daniel's American single malt whiskey

Image by Jack Daniel's / The Whisky Ardvark



 

New Riff Sour Mash Single Malt


The New Riff distillery in Newport, Kentucky, has been producing high-quality bourbon and rye whiskies since its establishment in 2014. In October 2023, the distillery released its sour mash single malt, a blend of six barley mashbills distilled with a column beer still - an unusual choice for a single malt - between 2014 and 2016.


The New Riff Single malt whiskey makeup

Image by The Whisky Ardvark


The six separate sour mash bills used are all made with different types of barley, including 100% Maris Otter barley, 100% Golden Promise, Barleywine, Belgian quadruple, 100% Scottish peated barley malt, and 100% Chevallier Heirloom malted barley. The distillates are then aged for at least seven years in new charred oak, de-charred toasted oak, red wine, Portuguese brandy, and sherry-seasoned oak cask before being vatted together and bottled at natural cask strength. The distillery recommends adding a splash of water to the whiskey before consumption.


Initially, the sour mash single malt was only available at the distillery shop and selected US retailers in late 2023 for $69.99 (£55). However, the expression also became available in the UK in February 2024 for £105.


The New Riff Sour Mash Single malt whiskey release

Image by The Whisky Ardvark / New Riff



 

Bulleit Single Malt


In February 2024, Bulleit distillery, owned by Diageo and located in Shelbyville, Kentucky, announced the addition of Bulleit single malt to its core range. This expression is crafted from 100% malted barley and aged in new, charred American oak barrels. The distillery has used recycled glass to create a green bottle for the expression, which is bottled at 45% ABV and created with sustainability in mind. (Given its other environmentally conscious practices, the distillery may be working towards B Corp status.) The suggested retail price for a 75cl bottle is $59.99 (£47).


Bulleit American single malt 2024 release

Image by Bulleit / The Whisky Ardvark


 

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