Whiskey fans the world over have waited for this – through a pandemic, no less – all year: It’s Fred Minnick’s Best American Whiskey of 2020.
All year, as Fred tastes bourbon and whiskey each week, he adds the best of the bunch to his list for one last, winner-take-all, blind taste-off. The nearly three-hour session was the culmination of a process, yielding a few surprises and memorable moments, finishing as a fine way to cap off a sometimes-beleaguering 2020.
Well, now the wait is over, and the winner has been chosen – well, actually there were nine winners, one each across nine categories that featured more than 40 whiskeys in total, culminating in an overall winner. Note: Five of the finalists won uncontested in their respective categories.
Here are the categories: Best Bourbon, Wildcard Bourbon, Best American Single Malt, Best Blend of Straights, Best Rye, Best Wheat Whiskey, Best Corn Whiskey, Best Celebrity Whiskey and Best Barrel Finish.
The link to watch the full tasting – with a list of all the contenders – is above. If you’d like to see the summary, here are the top finishers, category by category.
WILDCARD BOURBON (9:40)
- Three Chord Whiskey Drummer 15 Year
- Pinhook Bohemian Bourbon
AMERICAN SINGLE MALT (21:03)
- St. George Spirits Lot 20
- Westland Outpost Range
- Balcones Distilling Texas Single Malt
BLEND OF STRAIGHTS (39:34)
- Barrell Bourbon Batch 26
- Barrell Bourbon Batch 25
- High West Bourye
BEST BOURBON (55:53)
- Pappy Van Winkle 15 year old, 2020
- William LaRue Weller, Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, 2020 (Frankfort, Kentucky)
- Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch, 2020 (Lawrenceburg, Kentucky)
- Bardstown Bourbon Company Discovery Series #2 (Bardstown, Kentucky)
- Booker’s 2020-2 (Clermont, Kentucky)
- Spirits of French Lick Lee Sinclair (French Lick, Indiana)
THE FINALS (1:57:36)
- Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year Old (Best Bourbon/Best American Whiskey)
- Barrell Bourbon Batch 26 (Best Blend of Straights)