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The Best American Whiskey Brands, Ranked

Yes, this deliberately sweet American brand is called “whiskey” rather than whiskey. While Maker’s Mark is a mid 20e concoction of the century recorded long after Irish and Scottish spellings controversially diverged, the brand states on Twitter that “whiskeywas a deliberate nod to founder Bill Samuels Sr.’s family roots. Granted, the eldest Samuels was a sixth-generation distiller using his family’s 170-year-old recipe, so Maker’s Mark didn’t come out of nowhere. go.

Although it has acquired new owners, Maker’s Mark remains in production through three generations of Samuels, including the founder’s scientist son, Bill Jr., who is on history’s shortlist of people who have worked with real and metaphorical rocket fuel. Few distillers can draw on such a direct line of knowledge and experience, and it shows in the brand’s tasting profile.

Quality is a given, but Maker’s Mark is also understated, a hallmark of wheaten bourbons – known for their smooth, almost buttery – style that is finally enjoying its hour. The first of premium bourbons, and a mainstay of bars everywhere, the famous wax-dipped bottle is a true standard for bourbon and American whiskey.

While the original is a ubiquitous litmus test – if you don’t like it, you probably don’t like bourbon – Maker’s 46 is a simplified version, aged at cooler temperatures, that mixes beautifully in cocktails. of Manhattan. Bill Jr. put so much effort into refining this very affordable bottle that he called it harder than rocket science. He would know.