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The ‘Best In Show’ Bourbons & Whiskeys From To The TAG Global Spirits Awards 2024

The results are in! The TAG Global Spirits Awards 2024 judges have named the ‘Best In Show’ bourbons and American whiskeys.

Previously, I broke down the best American whiskeys and bourbons as named in the 2023 TAG Global Spirits Awards. 

As promised, here is a breakdown of the 2024 results including the compositions of the winning spirits, the distilleries, and where you can buy these award-winning whiskeys. 

Looking for more award-winning whiskeys? Check out the rest of my Awards Series

Cedar Ridge Double Barrel Bourbon Whiskey – 96 points 

Credit: Cedar Ridge

TAG Global Spirits Awards Classification: Bourbon Whiskey (not straight)
Tasting Notes: Pineapple, grapefruit, cinnamon, nutmeg
BUY NOW: $54.99 

Cedar Ridge’s Double Barrel Bourbon is an annual expression from the Iowan distillery. Released yearly in November, the expression is always highly anticipated. 

The 2023 release contains Cedar Ridge bourbon distilled from a mash bill comprising 74% corn, 14% malted rye, and 12% malted barley. Following initial maturation, the whiskey was finished in a new set of American oak casks. This finishing period allowed the casks to “draw out the bold qualities of our classic bourbon and the rich flavors of Iowa corn.” 

The judges at the TAG Global Spirits Awards 2024 commented, “A real beauty of a Bourbon being ultra balanced while flirting with perfection.” 

Cedar Ridge Distillery was founded in 2005 by Jeff Quint, a man with a mission to create high-quality bourbon in the “number one corn-producing state in the U.S.” Upon its foundation, Cedar Ridge became the first licensed distillery in Iowa since pre-prohibition.  

As well as multi-award-winning whiskeys, Cedar Ridge also produces wine. 

Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Fall 2023 8 Years Old – 95 points 

Credit: Heaven Hill

TAG Global Spirits Awards Classification: Straight Bourbon, Bottled-In-Bond
Tasting Notes: Brown sugar, toasted bread, cinnamon, nutmeg, peaches, cream, pepper spice, caramel, pear
BUY NOW: $299.95 

Old Fitzgerald is a household name amongst bourbon fans, and its twice-annual Bottled-In-Bond release is always highly anticipated. 

This year’s offering is an 8 Year Old 100 Proof bourbon, bottled in the fall of 2023. 

The unique “diamond decanter” is inspired by the historic Old Fitzgerald packaging used in the 1950s, whilst the Bottled-In-Bond designation is a tribute to Old Fitzgerald’s long distilling history and commitment to producing fine bourbon.  

Whilst this Bottled-In-Bond bourbon will hit your pockets quite hard in comparison to the other whiskeys on this list, there is no denying that the spirit is of exceptional quality. The judges at the TAG Global Spirits Awards 2024 found the Old Fitzgerald 8 Year Old 100 proof to be “ideally balanced and complex with fruit, spice, oak, and caramel in harmony.” 

The Old Fitzgerald brand was founded in 1884. During the 1920s the brand was sold to Pappy Van Winkle. Then, in 1999 Heaven Hill Distillery (two-time Distiller of the Year recipient) acquired the brand and continues to produce Old Fitzgerald today according to the historic recipes. 

Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey – 97 points 

Credit: Heaven Hill

TAG Global Spirits Awards Classification: American Straight Rye Whiskey
Tasting Notes: Dusty cocoa, oaky smoke, honeyed rye, cloves, vanilla, baking spices
BUY NOW: $36.99 

Pikesville is yet another brand produced by the powerhouse, Heaven Hill Distillery. The brand was created in the 1890s in Maryland, which was experiencing a rye whiskey boom. This was, of course, ended by prohibition. However, Pikesville Rye emerged from the ashes and became the quintessential Maryland Rye. The brand is now produced in Kentucky at Heaven Hill Distillery. 

This year’s Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey was matured for six years “in prime warehouse locations” and bottled at 110 proof. The judges at the TAG Global Spirits Awards 2024 called Pikesville “A rock star of a Rye with mass appeal as it straddles the dessert and Whiskey world.” At around $36 per bottle, you cannot go wrong. 

Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged American Whiskey – 95 points  

Credit: Uncle Nearest

TAG Global Spirits Awards Classification: American Whiskey
Tasting Notes: Spicy caramel, maple, fruit, raisins
BUY NOW: $39.99 

Launched in 2017, Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey was the inaugural release from the Nearest Green Distillery. As part of Uncle Nearest’s ever-expanding portfolio, the 1856 expression has remained highly praised and sought-after. 

Uncle Nearest 1856 is a blend of the finest American whiskey from the Nearest Green Distillery, bottled at 100 Proof. The bottle, and the distillery itself, pay tribute to Nathan ‘Nearest’ Green – the first African American Master Distiller, and the man who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey. 

According to the TAG Global Spirits Awards website, “The judges loved the way the spirit wore its strength being both balanced and nimble.”

Uncle Nearest Single Barrel – Batch 101 Tennessee Whiskey – 95 points 

Credit: Uncle Nearest

TAG Global Spirits Awards Classification: Tennessee Whiskey
Tasting Notes: Baking spices, dried fruits, ginger, roasted nuts
BUY NOW: $77.99

According to the Uncle Nearest website, the Single Barrel Batch 101 “has the most distinct flavor profile of any of our whiskeys and was bottled at barrel strength to capture every nuance of this one-of-a-kind spirit.” 

The annual single barrel expression undergoes a triple-filtration process using charcoal (if this sounds familiar, check out this article), ensuring a completely smooth mouthfeel. 

The TAG judges commented, “The amazing barrel character is redolent of a Sherry cask finish with subtle sweetness and rich fruit accents. Definitive of the style.” 

Whiskey Del Bac Ode to Islay Single Malt American Whiskey – 96 points 

TAG Global Spirits Awards Classification: Single Malt American Whiskey
Tasting Notes: Cocoa nibs, cinnamon, caramel-dipped apples, sour cherry, dulce de leche, vanilla, mesquite smoke, white pepper, candied toffee.
BUY NOW: $84.99

Whiskey Del Bac pays tribute to the land of peated scotch whisky, Islay, with this bottling. Ode to Islay, previously named ‘Winter Release’, is Whiskey Del Bac’s “way to raise a glass to tradition and pave our own way with Southwestern ingredients”. These southwestern ingredients include mesquite. 

Mesquite is a species of tree native to dry climates in the Americas. Charring mesquite produces a distinctly smoky flavor that pays tribute to Islay but with an American twist. 

The 2023 Ode to Islay release is a vatting of three different barley mash bills: 

  • 100% mesquited malt 
  • 60% unsmoked/40% mesquited malt 
  • 100% unsmoked malt 

Each mash bill was separately distilled and initially matured in new American white oak casks. Then, ex-rye, ex-bourbon, and second-fill Whiskey Del Bac Dorado barrels were used for finishing. The resulting blend was finished for an additional three months before being bottled at 100 proof. 

Whiskey Del Bac is an Arizona-based distillery focused on producing American whiskey “rooted in the Sonoran Desert”. The brand’s core range includes a Classic Single Malt, a Sentinel Straight Rye, and a Dorado Single Malt. 

Middle West Spirits Four Grain – Single Barrel, Cask Strength – 96 points 

 

This expression is a cask strength version of Middle West’s Wheated Bourbon. Credit: Middle West

TAG Global Spirits Awards Classification: Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Tasting Notes: Butterscotch, chocolate, dried fruits, tea
BUY NOW: N/A 

The next two expressions from Middle West Spirits are single barrel, cask strength exclusives bottled for retailers in the US. The whiskeys in Middle West’s core range are not single barrel as standard. hence these whiskeys are particularly special. 

Middle West Spirits’s straight wheated bourbon whiskey Michelone Reserve is distilled from a mash bill comprising “non-GMO, open-pollinated yellow corn, soft red winter wheat, dark pumpernickel rye, and 2-row barley.” The cask strength, single barrel expression was distilled from the same mash bill. 

The bourbon is then aged in toasted and charred new American oak barrels before being bottled at cask strength. This particular bourbon was bottled, according to the TAG Global Spirits Awards, at 62.875% ABV. The high ABV delivers a  “long and lingering” finish. The judges at the awards stated, “This Bourbon truly has it all — an absolute gem.” 

Ohio-based Middle West Spirits was founded in 2008, and focuses on “elevating the distinctive flavors of the Ohio River Valley.” The grain-to-glass distillery produces vodka and gin as well as whiskey. 

Middle West Spirits Single Barrel, Cask Strength Straight Wheat Whiskey – 95 points 

 

This expression is a cask strength version of Middle West’s Wheat Whiskey. Credit: Middle West

TAG Global Spirits Awards Classification: American Wheat Whiskey
Tasting Notes: Baking spices, caramel, chocolate, roasted nuts
BUY NOW: N/A 

Middle West Spirits’s Straight Wheat Whiskey is distilled from a mash bill of 100% Ohio Soft Red Winter Wheat. According to Middle West, the distillery “uses a higher starch wheatberry than what is commonly used, delivering vanillin content along with baking spices.” 

This particular cask strength expression was bottled at 61.61% ABV, with the TAG judges commenting on “ this Whiskey’s grace and balance wearing its strength very well.” 

Parker’s Heritage 17th Edition – Cask Strength 10 Years Old – 96 points 

Credit: Heaven Hill

TAG Global Spirits Awards Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Tasting Notes: TBC
BUY NOW: $349.95 

Disclaimer off the top of this one: I cannot find a Parker’s Heritage 17th Edition 10 Year Old Cask Strength Bourbon on the Heaven Hill website. What I can find is a 17th Edition 10 Year Old Cask Strength Rye. As such, I have to wonder if the bourbon was not a public release, or if the whiskey was entered into the wrong category. The team at TAG Global Spirits Awards confirmed that this whiskey was entered as a bourbon. I have approached Heaven Hill for clarification and will update this article accordingly. For now, though, let’s chat about the rye. 

The Parker’s Heritage Collection is a series of annual, limited-edition releases of American whiskeys and bourbons from Heaven Hill Distillery. The bottlings pay tribute to Parker Beam, later Master Distiller at Heaven Hill. The range is incredibly diverse, with the yearly releases varying in age, mash bill, ABV, and release numbers. 

In 2023, the 17th Edition of Parker’s Heritage was released: a 10 Year Old rye whiskey. Distilled from a mash bill comprising 51% rye, 35% corn, and 14% malted barley, the rye was matured for 10 years before being bottled from 142 barrels. This is the oldest rye whiskey ever released by Heaven Hill. 

Beth Squires

Beth joined Mark Littler Ltd full-time in October 2020 following the completion of her university degree. Since then she has gained wide-ranging knowledge of all things whisk(e)y, and has written extensively for both company and external publications. Beth is passionate about industry innovation, marketing, and sustainability. With a particular affinity for independently bottled rare scotch, Beth is also a whisky bottle investment specialist.

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