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Best Whiskey

Blackened Rye The Lightning

Blackened Rye The Lightning’s complex yet subtle sip is rich with flavors, ranging from raisin to molasses, brown sugar to hazelnut, and dark fruit to light citrus, all of which rest upon a pleasing rye backbone.

What do you get when you subject rye whiskey, finishing first in Madeira and then in rum casks, to heavy metal music on blast by Metallica? Besides giving you a hankering to pull your favorite Metallica album out or pop 500mg of Tylenol, you might just get a good whiskey out of it. For this limited release, master distiller Rob Dietrich combined Kentucky straight rye whiskeys ranging in age from five to eight years, finished them in ex-Madeira casks, and then finished them again in ex-rum casks. Blackened's proprietary Black Noise sonic enhancement process was applied during the rum cask finish, which means the aging whiskey barrels were subjected to noise - a very specific Metallica playlist to be exact. Whether you buy into the idea that vibrations from the sound caused the rye to interact more rapidly with the rum barrels or not, the resulting finished whiskey is worthy of your attention.

A Good Match For: A complex sip full of rich flavor

Not a Good Match For: Those who can’t look past gimmicky-sounding concepts

MSRP: $70

Breaking Bourbon’s review

Buy from: Frootbat

Joseph Magnus Bourbon

What may come across as a mad science experiment in regards to barrel finishing, turns out to be just the right formula in the case of Joseph Magnus Bourbon.

Joseph Magnus Bourbon is a straight bourbon whiskey that is triple cask finished in oloroso sherry, Pedro Ximénez sherry, and Cognac casks. Utilizing so many barrels adds depth to the drier flavors present, which are constantly battling to take center stage. Surprisingly, even with its utilization of three distinct casks in finishing, no individual barrel influence is too overpowering. The sip is full of rich dark fruits and drier flavors that play off each other nicely. Joseph Magnus delivers a sip that is clearly influenced by the barrels it touched, yet one that can still be appreciated by bourbon drinkers who may not normally reach for a barrel finished bourbon.

A Good Match For: Those who prefer a slightly drier sip

Not a Good Match For: Those who prefer more straightforward finished whiskey

MSRP: $80

Breaking Bourbon’s review

Buy from: Frootbat

Angel’s Envy Finished Rye

Angel’s Envy Rye pushes the rum barrel finishing to the edge, resulting in a premium quality finished rye with a flavor profile so unique you’ll need to taste it for yourself to find out if you love it or hate it.

Angel’s Envy’s brand lineup only includes whiskeys that have been finished, and that's been the band's focus since their inception. To them, finishing isn’t an afterthought, it’s what they set out to do with every one of their expressions. Angel’s Envy Rye is a unique, premium quality experience in barrel finished whiskey. The whisky is aged for up to 18 months in Caribbean XO rum casks that served as Cognac casks before that. It’s blended twice in batches of 8 to 12 barrels, first blended and put into the rum casks then blended again to help to maintain consistency. The end result highlights the sweetness from the dominating rum cask finish. A trace amount of rye spice is present, but much less so than what would be expected from a 95% rye mashbill. Because of this, it’s easy to sip. If whiskey could be a dessert, this would be it.

A Good Match For: Someone seeking out a “dessert” whiskey

Not a Good Match For: Those who dislike sweet whiskeys

MSRP: $89

Breaking Bourbon’s review

Buy from: Frootbat

Penelope Tokaji Cask Finish Rye

Penelope takes the road less traveled for their first ever rye, resulting in unique tasting rye that will please those adventure seekers looking to try something new.

Credit needs to be given to Penelope Bourbon for pushing the boundaries of their creativity with Penelope Tokaji Cask Finish Rye. Not only is this the company’s first-ever rye that they’ve released, but they’ve found a way to take a standard 95/5 MGP rye mashbill and make it distinctly their own. Tokaji is a unique wine from the Tokaj wine region that spans from northeastern Hungary to southeastern Slovakia. The barrel finishing is undeniable, adding impactful flavors to a well-known sourced rye. Penelope Tokaji Cask Finish Rye delivers in all the ways that Tokaji lovers will appreciate, along with those who like wine barrel finished whiskeys in general. If you’re looking for a unique yet flavorful barrel finished rye, take the time to seek out Penelope Tokaji Cask Finish Rye.

A Good Match For: Those seeking out more unique finishing barrel concepts

Not a Good Match For: People looking for bold secondary barrel finishes

MSRP: $80

Breaking Bourbon’s review

Buy from: Frootbat

Barrell Vantage

Barrell Vantage is layered with nuance and complexity, rich and full-flavored, but at the same time so incredibly drinkable you’ll want to have a spare on hand so you can keep this finely tuned finished whiskey flowing.

If the phrase, “just the tip of the iceberg” could be applied to a whiskey, Barrell Vantage would certainly fit that bill. A blend of straight bourbons originating in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana and then finished in Mizunara, French, and toasted American oak, Vantage is the result of years of extensive experimentation. Variables included the finishing wood used, the base bourbons’ ages, mashbills, state and distillery of origination, barrels with varying stave drying times, and many different toast and char levels. The resulting matrix of variables yielded hundreds of variations, but in the end, six components, or microblends were carefully selected and then married at varying percentages to create the final product. And what a final product it is.

A Good Match For: Those who enjoy a complex, high proof, yet highly drinkable whiskey

Not a Good Match For: Those who prefer lower proof whiskeys

MSRP: $90

Breaking Bourbon’s review

Buy from: Frootbat

Hirsch The Cask Strength (Batch AHH0722)

Full of rich delicious flavors, Hirsch The Cask Strength produces a memorable sip thanks to its utilization of very well aged Hine Cognac XO barrels.

Hirsch The Cask Strength consists of 6 year old bourbon that is finished for an extended 18 months in 30-year-old Hine Cognac XO barrels. The extended time spent finishing in the Hine Cognac XO barrels is quite evident throughout Hirsch The Cask Strength’s sip. It’s full of rich flavors including baking spices, dark fruits, aged oak, and cinnamon. Taken as a whole, the sip is very well composed and does a great job showcasing the finishing barrel choice to enhance the base bourbon. It’s also easy to forget that proof of this whiskey, as it tends to drink a lot lower than its 127 proof point.

A Good Match For: High proof lovers who like complex sips

Not a Good Match For: Budget seekers

MSRP: $200

Breaking Bourbon’s review

Written By: BB Team

April 26, 2023
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Best Finished American Whiskeys
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