Fred Minnick’s Top 100 2023

Fred Minnick | TOP 100 OF 2023
Fred Minnick’s Top 100 2023
Corsets, Whips & Whiskey - Top 100

This year’s Top 100 Whiskeys represents the new aged American whiskeys that are dominating the market.

Gone are the days of Straight Bourbon owning the shelves. Now, Blends of Straights and barrel finishes garner consumer love. And this list is loaded with these two categories. But I do worry that this welcomed trend is bringing in newcomers who simply do not know whiskey; thus, there are far too many Blends of Straights, Stave & Barrel Finish products that not only don’t make this list, but are not selling and hurting the health of the American whiskey category. For every Barrell and Milam & Greene, blenders with skill, there are 20 brands releasing blends that started with bad whiskey and hoped a stave would hide the flaws.

We are also seeing the celebrity wave of whiskey, and they often just sit on shelves, collecting dust. That’s because consumers do not care how many Instagram followers one has; is the whiskey good? So, these celebrity-owned brands on this list (Brothers Bond, McTavish, Eric Church) are here because of the whiskey, not their celeb names. I want to reward good whiskey, not money-grabs.

I also love where craft whiskey is heading. You’ll see new craft names to this list, such as Boot Hill and James E. Pepper, and the return of many, including last year’s No. 10 Boulder Spirits with another contender. And craft is by far the leader in the Single Malt category; neither Jim Beam’s nor Jack Daniel’s attempt at single malts even came close to making this list, while craft dominated the single malt category.

Criteria / How They Were Chosen

  • Tasted by me between November 2022 and November 2023.
  • Blind Bourbon winners receive automatic bids into Top 100.
  • High Scores and Best in Show from ASCOTs earn automatic bids.
  • Must have at least 500 bottles. (Eliminates single barrels)
  • The whiskey excites me.

On December 20, 7 p.m. EST, I will taste the following list and rank them on my annual Top 100 livestream. I am just one palate, and these rankings will reflect my palate and nobody or nothing else. Much like a sports tournament, past tastings or scores will not be reflected in the final results. The Top 100 Rankings will be my palate on this night, pending a tasting crisis or the shelves behind me collapsing on the camera guy.