Yellowstone American Single Malt


Classification: American Single Malt

Company: Limestone Branch Distillery Co.

Distillery: Sourced from an undisclosed distillery(ies) in Indiana

Release Date: March 2023 (Ongoing)

Proof: 108

Age: NAS (Aged 4 years according to the company)

Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley

Color: Rose Gold

MSRP: $55 (2023)

Official Website

Yellowstone American Single Malt was introduced in March 2023 nationwide. It is a new permanent expression from Limestone Branch Distillery Co., joining other permanent Yellowstone expressions including Yellowstone Select Straight Bourbon and Yellowstone Limited Edition Bourbon (each release is different, released annually). It was distilled and aged in Indiana, and according to the company has been aged for 4 years.

The American single malt category is growing, yet still not officially defined. Efforts are underway to set official standards for the category, however to date, the classification remains self-regulated by producers.


The first waft of the whiskey yields an undulating heat, created by a fairly heavy wave of ethanol. As it subsides, the aroma begins to evolve, unveiling layers of fruit scents, starting with a soft, sweet pear and a more vibrant note of ripe apricots. A perfume of stone fruits delicately entwines with these primary scents, deepening the complexity of the aroma. Underneath it all, there's a faint whisper of floral notes, an almost ethereal, somewhat grassy undertone that slightly tempers the fruity richness. Finally, the scent of breakfast cereal makes its mark, grounding the aroma with a homey, comforting familiarity. This is just enough to render the overall sensory experience an enjoyable and average one, neither too intense nor too bland.


Heat from the aroma subsides, giving way to an immediate swell of pear, mingling with the bolder essence of stone fruits. It’s further sweetened by threads of velvety caramel, which weaves through the sip. The whiskey boasts a medium body that fills the palate with a certain richness, though it doesn’t overwhelm it and results in an enjoyable sip.


Heat returns at the forefront of the finish, brought forward with a sweet undertone. Soon after, an undertow of flavors sweeps in, leading with graham cracker, followed closely by freshly baked pie crust. As it progresses, it transitions to a long, dry retreat. It’s a fair ending for the sip, carrying over an equivalent quality that was established in the palate.


The American single malt category feels as if it could break out, go bust, or anything in between. Certain distillers such as Westland Distillery, Westward Whiskey, and Balcones have hung their hats on it. Others such as Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam, and Barrell Craft Spirits have really just started dabbling, adding at least one product in their portfolio to the category. Still others have yet to venture into American single malt territory.

Unlike bourbon, the American single malt category is not legally defined (though a definition has been proposed), so right now you need to do a little research to know if your bottle would qualify based on the proposed definition. But in most cases, the products we’re seeing typically conform to the proposed rules. More importantly, the flavor profile from currently available American single malts varies more significantly than what we see with bourbon - or rye for that matter - with some exception for barrel finishes, which have pushed bourbon’s boundaries and simultaneously raised questions as to whether they should still even be called bourbon.

Even with a smaller number of American single malts available, the flavor range is quite expansive. A number of factors contribute to this, including most notably that the whiskey must be made from 100% malted barley. While any grain can be malted, such as malting corn which is suddenly growing in popularity, barley must be the base grain and American single malts must contain no other grain. While the idea that this yields more flavor range than bourbon may seem counterintuitive, as bourbon is typically made from three or more grains with corn as the majority, it’s largely explained by understanding barley and the malting process. First off, barley varies in shape and the underlying characteristics vary as well; two-row, six-row, and so on. Kilning, the final step of the process which is best described as a long, relatively low temperature cook, offers the ability to yield all kinds of flavors right out of the gate. Anything from pale ale malt (yes the same as what’s used to make beer), to chocolate or caramel.

Yellowstone forgoes the extremes of American single malt, instead finding a place in average/enjoyable/approachable territory. It offers a good flavor profile, but doesn’t scream single malt and doesn’t try to be anything more than it is. It plays well to its proof, and to some degree hides any prominent maltiness that may otherwise have been present. It’s a product that could draw people in first simply by the gravity of the Yellowstone brand and its well-done label. Because of its approachability, the unsuspecting consumer who buys it (who may not be paying close attention to American single malts yet), may develop an interest in the category as a result.


Yellowstone American Single Malt plays an interesting role in the marketplace. American single malt is not seeing the same kind of demand as bourbon, and many whiskey drinkers have yet to really explore it. There are plenty of interesting options, many of which push the boundaries of flavor and could easily scare someone off from the category entirely. Balcones Texas #1 comes to mind and one that pushes boundaries, while Clermont Steep from Jim Beam comes to mind as an American single malt that may garner more widespread appeal. But whatever a “mainstream” American single malt whiskey flavor profile turns out to be, it has yet to be defined.

In many ways, Yellowstone American Single Malt could be the whiskey that defines it. Distilled in Indiana (presumably MGP), malty flavors take a backseat to a fruit-forward flavor profile that’s amplified by a bit of heat. Seeing as MGP is the distiller behind many bourbon and rye brands today, it’s possibly a glimpse of what many American single malts are going to taste like. This doesn’t push any boundaries per se, but rather acts more like a pace car. $55 is a lot, but for this new(ish) category and newly introduced whiskey that’s not unusual in today’s marketplace. I would love to see that at $40, but barley also costs more than corn and I don’t know what the company’s financials look like. I probably won’t rush to buy another bottle, but if someone asked for a recommendation for an American single malt whiskey to dabble in the space I would say it’s $55 well spent.


The American single malt whiskey category is growing and hasn’t quite established what a “mainstream” flavor profile for the category might be. Yellowstone American Single Malt may be one of the whiskeys that define it.

We’re at the forefront of the American single malt category. Bourbon drinkers who are just getting started and feel like they’re behind the game and just trying to catch up should take a step back. We’re watching the American single malt category unfold, and it’s kind of exciting. In many ways, Yellowstone American Single Malt helps set the pace for what it means to be an American single malt with mainstream appeal. It doesn’t taste very malty, and instead follows a track that maintains a flavor profile that feels somehow more rooted in bourbon. It is fairly fruit-forward, and this combination may appeal to typical bourbon drinkers more than many American single malts on the market. Yellowstone American Single Malt is still fairly average overall, however the category has yet to really define the boundaries of its quality range. In this case, average isn’t just enough, it’s actually probably ideal as it comes with undeniable approachability.

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
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Written By: Nick Beiter

August 9, 2023
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