Here Are the Top-Rated Whiskies From Every Category In ‘The Ultimate Spirits Challenge’

Get excited, whiskey lovers.

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Admit it: Sometimes you look at booze “tasting notes” and wonder where that flowery b.s. about “floral notes” and “clean finish” comes from. The references scotch, whiskey, and bourbon tasters make can be as peculiar as the drinker themselves, but not all liquor is the same and in the end, there are some that make for a better-tasting experience on many levels. 

Thanks to Uproxx and the 2020 Ultimate Spirits Challenge we’ve got a reliable list of good stuff you can use to stock a pretty kick-ass home bar. Tastings to determine these rankings happened over the course of two months and were done blind—no one could bring a brand bias into the picture. 

Below are the top entries in 17 categories. For more notes on sipping, taste, smell, price, check out Uproxx and ultimate-beverage.com.

Best American: Barrell Dovetail 

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ABV: 62.15%
Distillery: Barrell Craft Spirits, Louisville, KY (Sourced)
Average Price: $85

Best American/Rye: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac

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ABV: 63.45%
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY (Sazerac)
Average Price: $450

Best American/Single Malt: Westland Garryana 2019 Edition 4|1

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ABV: 50%
Distillery: Westland Distillery, Seattle, WA
Average Price: $150

Best Bottled-in-Bond: Henry McKenna Bottled-in-Bond 10 Years Old

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ABV: 50%

Distillery: Heaven Hill Distillery, Bardstown, KY

Average Price: $50

Best Bourbon: Stagg, Jr. 

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ABV: 64.2%
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY (Sazerac)
Average Price: $60

Best Canadian: Heaven’s Door Bootleg Series 2019 Edition 26 Year Old 

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ABV: 55.75%
Distillery: Sourced in Canada
Average Price: $550

Best Flavored Whiskey: Jameson Cold Brew

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ABV: 30%
Distillery: New Midleton Distillery, County Cork (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $30

Best Irish/Blended: Jameson Bow Street Cask Strength 18 Years

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ABV: 55.3%
Distillery: New Midleton Distillery, County Cork & Jameson Distillery Bow Street, Dublin (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $165

Best Irish/Single Malt: Teeling Single Cask

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ABV: 55.1%
Distillery: Teeling Distillery, Dublin
Average Price: $110

Best Irish/Single Pot Still: Green Spot Chateau Leoville Barton

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ABV: 46%
Distillery: New Midleton Distillery, County Cork (Pernod Ricard)
Average Price: $100

Best Scotch/Blended: Dewar’s Double Double Aged 27 Years

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ABV: 46%
Distillery: John Dewar & Sons, Aberfeldy, UK (Barcardi)
Average Price: $100

Best Scotch/Blended Malt: Wemyss Malts Peat Chimney

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ABV: 46%
Distillery: Wemyss Vintage Malts, Edinburgh, UK
Average Price: $45

Best Scotch/Highland Single Malt: Oban Aged 18 Years 

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ABV: 43%
Distillery: Oban Distillery, Oban, UK (Diageo)
Average Price: $150

Best Scotch/Island Single Malt: Highland Park Aged 21 Years

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ABV: 46%
Distillery: Highland Park, Orkney, UK
Average Price: $350

Best Scotch/Islay Single Malt: Kilchoman Sanaig 

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ABV: 46%
Distillery: Kilchoman Distillery, Bruichladdich, UK
Average Price: $70

Best Scotch/Speyside Single Malt: Glenrothes Aged 18 Years

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ABV: 43%
Distillery: The Glenrothes Distillery, Rothes, UK
Average Price: $150

Best World Whisk(e)y: The Matsui Mizunara Cask 

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ABV: 48%
Distillery: Kurayoshi Distillery, Tottori Prefecture
Average Price: $90

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Deputy Digital Editor, Maxim.com