12 Exceptional Blended Whiskies To Try Now

12 Exceptional Blended Whiskies To Try Now

December 6, 2022 –––––– Julia Higgins, , , ,

While blends are often perceived as lesser than other whisky counterparts, there’s no good reason for that stigma. Blenders from around the world are offering expressions that highlight exquisite flavor balance and showcase their remarkable skills, and there are a number of master blenders to champion.

From Scotland, Compass Box creator and whisky maker John Glaser has long led the way with innovative scotch blends. Two of the country’s greatest legacy blenders Dewar’s and Johnnie Walker, have been delivering innovative new releases, some of which scored top marks in our Fall 2022 Buying Guide. Of course, Scotland isn’t the only country offering top-tier blends now. Most of the whiskeys on this list hail from the U.S., where distilleries from around the country are making blends that combine bourbon, rye, and other styles. Read on to discover some of the top-scoring blended whiskies from our Fall 2022 Buying Guide.

Pour One of These Great Blends

Dewars-US-Open-19-year-May-2022_600.jpgDewar’s 19 year old 2022 Championship Edition 91 points, 43% ABV, $80 The official whisky of last summer’s 122nd U.S. Open was finished in bourbon, new oak, and rye barrels and oozes class and elegance. On the nose, honey sweetness, banana bread, toffee, cinnamon buns, maple syrup on pancakes, dried fruits, and cream soda make the cut. Rich honey, spun sugar, barley sugar, and butterscotch play around on the palate, adding nutmeg, cinnamon, toffee, red apple, plum, and some late creaminess to its scorecard.—Jonny McCormick

johnnie-walker-black-sherry-finish_600.jpgJohnnie Walker Black Label 12 year old Sherry Cask Finish 91 points, 40% ABV, $40 Black Label innovations now run into double figures, but this is the best to date. Fruity nose with dark chocolate, bramble, dark toffee, dried apricot, and plenty of creaminess balanced with some coastal smokiness. The palate rejoices in red summer fruits drizzled in milk chocolate, red licorice, plum, and pepper, then releases its grip for a glossy, mouth-coating final phase of creamy white chocolate studded with dried raspberry.—Jonny McCormick

Compass-Box-The-Circle-No-2-June-2022_600.jpgCompass Box The Circle Edition 91 points, 46% ABV, $130 The concept for this whisky is based on the color of coral and the phenomenon of synesthesia, whereby sensory stimuli provoke crossover experiences—like associating colors with flavors. An intensity of aromas is unleashed: tropical fruits, grilled pineapple, vanilla, caramel, dried apple ring, oak spices, dried citrus wheel, and struck match. Sweet, fruity, silky, and drenched in flavors of citrus, honey, tangy pineapple, grapefruit, lime zest, Life Savers, gummy bears, sliced apple, deep spices, and jelly beans.—Jonny McCormick

Rock-Island-Mezcal-edition-July-2022_600.jpgRock Island Mezcal Cask Finish 91 points, 46.8% ABV, $70 Rock pool saltiness, orange peel, dried tropical fruits, smoky agave, dry grassy notes, and lemon curd achieve an excellent balance of aromas. This demonstrates a superior mouthfeel and texture compared to other mezcal and tequila cask-finished scotches, with an invigorating palate of lemon Jell-O, gooseberry, sharp fruitiness, hot smoke, honeydew, and spices.—Jonny McCormick

backbone-bourbon-the-forge_600.jpgBackbone Bourbon The Forge 91 points, 55% ABV, $75 Chocolate comes forth on the nose: chocolate pudding, chocolate babka, hot fudge, chocolate-covered almonds, and chocolate Ovaltine. Delightfully, those rich chocolaty flavors shine through to the palate, though they're now supplemented by red fruit. The heat on this one is incredible, so add water (and even then, the fire will remain) for a less spicy affair. The spicy, chocolate-fueled finish ties this up in the neatest of bows.—Julia Higgins

Stellum-Black-Equinox-Blend-No-1-July-2022_600.jpgStellum Equinox Blend No. 1 91 points, 58.63% ABV, $100 Confectionery sugar, sweet banana slices, vanilla frosting, raisin bread, and pound cake on a very inviting nose. The palate delivers spice, dark fruits, and a rich sweetness that fades slightly on the back palate. Water brings out barrel char, coffee grounds, bitter chocolate, and a hint of black pepper. Lots of spice on the finish, with a great balance of bright fruit and rich chocolate. Smooth, complex, and enjoyable overall.—David Fleming

American-Highway-Reserve-Batch-2-May-2022_600.jpgAmerican Highway Reserve Route 2 90 points, 49% ABV, $100 The nose is a bit of a trip, veering from vanilla extract and bread pudding in one moment to lemon soda and orange peel in the next. A more saccharine palate homes in on powdered sugar, creme brûlée, vanilla latte, and sundae cherries. The finish goes on and on, and it emphasizes the entire citrus-meets-sweet experience thanks to notes of lemon zest and simple syrup.—Julia Higgins

talnua-heritage-selection_600.jpgTalnua Heritage Selection 89 points, 43% ABV, $50 Paying homage to the tradition of blending, this combines Talnua's American single pot still with Irish grain whiskey. Sweetness and spice on the nose, with honey, vanilla, graham cracker, pepper, clove, and dry-roasted spices. This carries a weighty texture with flavors of maple syrup, toffee apple, gentle spice, golden sultana, ground ginger, orange peel, hazelnut, and baking spices, leading to a dry spicy finish with tangy citrus and gingersnaps.—Jonny McCormick

Jack-Daniels-Triple-Mash-May-2022_600.jpgJack Daniel’s Triple Mash Blend of Straights 89 points, 50% ABV, $30 Jack's first malted whiskey, this blends 60% rye, 20% Tennessee whiskey, and 20% American malt, all bottled in bond. Banana bread, peppermint, menthol, grape Pixie Stix, and toasted coconut highlight an aromatic nose. A creamy palate delivers more bananas, vanilla bean ice cream, and a nice balance of sweet and earthy flavors. Cherry pastry mingles with vanilla and spice on a lengthy finish. Luscious texture provides a cozy bed for those classic Jack notes.—Ted Simmons

Chattanooga-Whiskey-Founders-10th-Anniversary-Blend-April-2022_600.jpgChattanooga Founders 10th Anniversary Blend of Straights 89 points, 50% ABV, $50 Chocolate is redolent on the nose, with hints of peanut brittle. On the palate, a light, soft mouthfeel offers traces of dusty oak, baking spice, and cocoa. It's a powerful one that softens with water, which also unlocks baked strawberries. Good length on a flavorful finish, with more red fruit notes, chocolate-bar sweetness, and cinnamon powder. Tasty if somewhat spiky at times, but full of flavor and nuance.—David Fleming

Nelson-Bros-Classic-Bourbon-Mar-2022_600.jpgNelson’s Green Brier Nelson Brothers Classic Blend of Straights 88 points, 46.65% ABV, $40 This is a breakfast buffet for the nose, as buttery blueberry pancakes, maple syrup, cinnamon-sugar toast, and Krispy Kreme donuts waft up from the glass. The palate brings some heat, further supplemented by black pepper and cinnamon spice, with just a touch of chocolate. Add water, and jammier notes emerge: raisins, raspberry preserves, and jelly doughnut. A hot finish takes this one home, sending you off with a blast of Big Red gum.—Julia Higgins

proof-and-wood-the-stranger_600.jpgProof And Wood 7 year old The Stranger 88 points, 52.5% ABV, $80 Distilled in Poland and aged in Kentucky, this is fall in a glass. On the nose there's orchard fruit, baked apples, cinnamon sugar, baking spices, and crushed fallen leaves. The palate continues the autumnal notes with baked apples, pear tarts, and gingersnap cookies. Water highlights some earthier flavors—leaves, slate, and spiced oak—and helps tame the heat, which is on the aggressive side. The Stranger wraps up quickly, with more roasted fruits and toasted wood.—Shane English

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