Ever been at a bar during happy hour wondering what’s the best well whiskey you can drink? While well whiskies are easily accessible, some patrons find it hard to choose one brand over another.
Luckily, we’re there to help. Join us on a spirited adventure to unearth the best well whiskey brands.
Well Whiskey Brands
- Wild Turkey 101
- Black Bottle Blended Scotch
- Jim Beam Rye
- Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
- Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon
1. Wild Turkey 101
Wild Turkey 101 is a richly-flavored American bourbon prized for its unique heat and spice. It’s an award-winning and time-honored bourbon available in most liquor stores.
The master distiller, Jimmy Russel, has been making this whiskey for over 60 years. Throughout the years, the Wild Turkey brand has used a similar process to make this whiskey. Its mash bill comprises 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley.
The distillers put this whiskey in American White Oak barrels for 6-8 years. Then they coat the barrels in deep alligator char to achieve the whiskey’s unique flavor.
Wild Turkey 101 has a unique spice that blends well with its heat, thanks to its high rye content. Its 101 proof makes it a flavorful drink you can enjoy neat, in cocktails, or on the rocks.
If you’re enjoying your Wild Turkey 101 neat, you’ll detect a hint of sweet vanilla and caramel. The most notable flavors are oak and baking spices. When it comes to aroma, this whiskey has hints of vanilla, caramel, and oak.
As a cocktail lover, you can add this well whiskey to a Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or Boulevardier.
2. Black Bottle Blended Scotch
The Black Bottle Blended Scotch comes in a unique new old-style black bottle. It’s one of the best well whiskies you can enjoy in cocktails, on the rocks, or neat.
The distiller has a long history of blending grain and malt whiskies to make the Black Bottle Blended Scotch.
In 2013 the distiller relaunched this whiskey, adding fruitiness, spice, and peaty Islay notes. The aim was to return this whiskey to its original recipe with the black bottle glass.
The drink’s pale gold hue makes this whiskey stand out when served in a scotch glass. On the nose, this well whiskey has hints of malt, cinnamon, ashy smoke, and salty licorice. You’ll also encounter some toffee, apples, and sherry.
The whiskey has a complex but elegant flavor when it comes to taste. You’ll detect a sweet, smoky, spicy, and grainy character with hints of pepper and citrus. It fills the palate with burnt sugars, honeyed sweetness, and spice.
3. Jim Beam Rye
Jim Beam Rye is a Kentucky pre-Prohibition whiskey with 51% rye. It’s a popular well whiskey enjoyed neat or in cocktails.
The distiller makes this whiskey using one of Jim Beam’s oldest recipes. Its recipe produces a whiskey with vanilla, black pepper, and oak hints. The warm, spicy kick enhances its flavor and aroma.
Jim Beam Rye is an award-winning whiskey and a go-to for imbibers seeking a bolder taste with a smoother finish. If you’re a cocktail enthusiast, add it to your favorite classic or contemporary cocktails to enjoy the best flavors.
The whiskey goes well with Black Manhattan, Boulevardier, La Valencia, or Old Fashioned.
When sipped neat, you’ll notice nutmeg, freshly ground black pepper, and clove spice. It has notes of maraschino and a caramel undertone. You’ll also detect a brief caramel vanilla note on the palate. The maraschino note will be present and delivered with pleasant warmth. A smooth cherry with citric sweetness lingers on your tongue after the sip.
4. Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
Old Overholt Rye Whiskey is one of America’s oldest and most popular straight rye. It’s a go-to choice for bartenders and classic cocktail enthusiasts. Thanks to its long history, Old Overholt is touted as the foundation stone for whiskies made in America.
The distillers at Jim Beam Distillery leave this well whisky in aging barrels for four years and bottle it at 86 proof. Despite being a young whiskey, you won’t experience the young harsh taste common in most young whiskies.
Old Overholt is a smooth and easy drink you can mix in cocktails or drink neat. If you love cocktails, add this well whiskey to your Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Boulevardier, Preakness, Trinidad Sour, and Vieux Carré.
Before sipping this whiskey, you’ll notice some sweet vanilla, caramel, and graham cracker scents. There are minor notes of rye and oak on the nose. While it has highly diluted flavors, the palate has cinnamon, leather, and orange traces.
After sipping, traces of cinnamon, leather, and orange linger on the tongue, but they quickly fade.
Old Overholt is available in most liquor stores and bars. It’s a cheap rye for anyone who loves drinking whiskey.
5. Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon
Four Roses Yellow Label is an American bourbon prized for its unique flavor and aromas. It’s the cheapest and most accessible bourbon of all Four Roses bourbons. If you love bourbon cocktails, this well whiskey can be a worthy choice. Alternatively, you can enjoy it with a splash or on the rocks.
The distiller uses two mash bills to make this bourbon.
- 1st mash bill: 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% malted barley
- 2nd mash bill: 60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% malted barley
The process involves five yeast strains. These ingredients create ten unique recipes blended into the Four Roses Yellow Label bourbon.
Four Roses Yellow Label bourbon offers a floral undertone on the nose. You can also get hints of pear and apple. It has soft and lightweight flavors on the palate. You’ll detect a fruity, floral flavor that enhances the nice mouthfeel.
The fruity, floral flavor lingers on your tongue after sipping. However, the flavor dissipates quickly.
Our roundup is laden with well whiskies that are affordable, versatile, and with diverse flavor profiles. Some will leave you feeling half seas over, while others are perfect for lighter moments. You can add them to your favorite classic or contemporary cocktails. Alternatively, enjoy them neat or on the rocks.