Forbes Holiday Gift Guide 2023: The 9 Best American Single Malt Whiskeys Of The Year

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When it comes to single malt whiskey, America has been, fittingly, like the Wild West. Sure, there are some basic rules that everyone follows—the whiskey must be produced from malted barley at a single distillery in the United States—but after that things have been wide open.

Unlike in Scotland and Ireland, which have laws governing whiskey production, the U.S. doesn’t regulate how long a spirit has to be aged, what kinds of barrels can be used, or how it can be matured.

And much of that will change soon when the Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the Treasury Department is finally expected to accept the recommendation of the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission (which was founded by Westland Distillery, Balcones, and other independent distilleries) of what constitutes an American single malt.

While stricter production rules may be good for bolstering the category, part of what makes American single malts so appealing right now—and, at times, quite unappealing—is that distillers are free to experiment and innovate.

And I’m here for it.

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