American Single Malt Whiskey

American single malt does not officially exist (yet) as a legally defined category of whiskey in the United States, but producers generally adhere to the same regulations observed in Scotland. It is produced at a single, U.S. distillery from 100% malted barley, distilled to 160 proof, and bottled at no less than 80 proof. American single malt is often aged in used cooperage, like its counterparts overseas. On the other hand, “American straight malt” – which is a legally defined category – must be aged in new oak containers for a minimum of 2 years, echoing the rules for other categories of American whiskey. Today, American producers continue to experiment with barrel regimens for this emerging category.

Top American Single Malt Whiskey Posts:

A Visit to House Spirits in Portland, Oregon
Swift Single Malt Texas Whiskey Sauternes Finish
Lost Spirits Distillery Abomination “The Sayers of the Law”

Review: Lost Spirits Distillery Ouroboros Cask #1

By Christopher Null | May 20, 2013 |

Lost Spirits’ Leviathan is one of the most unique whiskeys being produced in America today — if not the world. Made close to Drinkhacker HQ in Monterey, California, Leviathan is a heavily peated single malt that is aged in heavy char barrels previously used for late-harvest wine (the varietal of the wine changed depending on…

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Review: House Spirits Westward Oregon Straight Malt Whiskey

By Christopher Null | April 21, 2013 |

House Spirits, the makers of Aviation Gin, has expanded into the whiskey world, and they aren’t messing around. Westward is a very small-batch 100% single malt whiskey made from locally sourced (Pacific Northwest) barley. Westward Oregon Straight Malt is fermented with Scottish and American ale yeasts, then double pot distilled. The spirit is aged in…

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Review: Deerhammer Down Time Single Malt Whiskey

By Christopher Null | March 24, 2013 |

Take Deerhammer’s pot-distilled, 100% malted barley Whitewater whiskey and throw it in a new oak barrel (with heavy toast/light-medium char), and see what happens. This Colorado-based “hybrid” whiskey reportedly spends less than a year in half-size barrels, which creates a light-brown yet pleasant looking whiskey. The nose is intensely woody, hinting at sweetness but dominated…

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Review: New Holland Zeppelin Bend Straight Malt Whiskey

By Christopher Null | February 14, 2013 |

American malt whiskeys are as rare as winning seasons from the Houston Astros, and good ones are even harder to come by. Michigan-based New Holland Artisan Spirits distills this 100% malt whiskey twice before aging in American oak barrels for a minimum of three years and bottling at 90 proof. The results are, well, like…

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lost spirits leviathan I Cask #3

Review: Lost Spirits Distillery Leviathan I Cask #3 Heavily Peated American Whiskey

By Christopher Null | September 2, 2012 |

Recently we featured Lost Spirits Seascape, a peated American single malt whiskey. Now we’re back with what may be the company’s flagship dram: Leviathan I. Leviathan is bottled as a single-barrel release of heavily-peated (110ppm phenol, or thereabouts) single malt whiskey, aged for under 4 years in casks formerly used for late-harvest Cabernet Sauvignon. The…

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Review: Corsair Triple Smoke (2012)

By Christopher Null | August 23, 2012 |

Once in a while, American whiskeymakers do the smoke thing: Corsair (which operates distilleries in both Kentucky and Tennessee) is a small distillery that makes a variety of products. Triple Smoke is created by taking “three fractions of malted barley, each smoked by a different fuel – cherry wood, peat, and beechwood” which is then…

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Review: Lost Spirits Distillery Seascape Peated American Whiskey

By Christopher Null | July 20, 2012 |

It isn’t every day we get to write about a product before anyone else on the planet. Recently I was one of the first people to ever taste Lost Spirits’ inaugural whiskey release, poured from a bottle so fresh the label hadn’t even been printed for it. With only 170 or 180 bottles produced, Seascape…

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Review: McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt 3 Years Old (2009)

By Christopher Null | February 23, 2009 |

One sip — heck, one sniff — of McCarthy’s whiskey and you’d swear it was fresh off the boat from a foggy distillery on the shores of Islay instead of in Portland, Oregon. The only hint that you’re drinking something different is the pale gold color, a signal of a relatively short time in cask…

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Review: Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Batch #33

By Christopher Null | February 4, 2009 |

I’m not gonna pull any punches here. Stranahan’s is the strangest whiskey I’ve ever experienced. It looks harmless enough, a bright, orange-hued spirit with a relatively mild nose — almost rye-like. Though 94 proof, the nose isn’t particularly hot. Looks promising. Then the tasting. Hmmm. Stranahan’s is a rarity among American whiskeys, distilled from 100…

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