Whisky can be enjoyed just about everywhere, but not every place will offer the perfect tasting environment. (Hey, where are the Glencairns and water droppers?!) Nor will everywhere you go even have whisky—and for that reason, you should own a flask. While flasks might have once been seen as the purview of the closet lush, today many high-end design companies are making gorgeous flasks you’ll be proud to pull from your pocket or purse.
Now you just need to figure out what to fill them with.
Since space is of the utmost importance here—some flasks are a mere 3 ounces—you absolutely want higher-proof whisky that can be stretched further. Since you won’t necessarily be able to predict how you will be employing the flask (Discreet sipping? Pouring into a soda?), versatile drams are essential as well. And as you most likely won’t be enjoying these whiskies in the most optimal tasting setting, this is no time to go for your priciest, rarest bottles.
90+ Point Picks Perfect for A Flask
Kirkland 7 year old Tennessee Straight Bourbon—91 points, $30
Nothing says “Let’s funnel this into a flask” like a bargain whiskey purchased in bulk from Costco. But don’t laugh—though well-priced, this is excellent bourbon (and in a flask no one will know where you scored it from). Starting aromas of root beer, vanilla bean, and peanuts, with a hint of campfire, the palate offers orange marmalade, vanilla, gingerbread, and tobacco. The finish is medium with oak spice.
Big Peat Blended Malt Scotch—90 points, $55
You’ll often be employing your flask during an outdoor adventure—on a hike or while camping, perhaps. Nothing pairs better with nature and a campfire than a smoky scotch. This affordable blend of Islay malts, including Ardbeg, Caol Ila, and Bowmore, is ashy on the nose with hints of the beach. The palate is briny, with sweet malt and barbecue meats. This is drinkable neat, though it stands up well to mixing.
Heaven Hill 7 year old Bottled in Bond Bourbon—92 points, $40
The No.-4 pick in Whisky Advocate’s 2019 Top 20, this stellar bonded bourbon makes a bold and explosive flask filler. There’s big oak on the nose, with additional aromas of peanuts, caramel, and cornbread. The palate adds a certain savoriness, herbal and earthy, with a spicy finish. A satisfying straight-from-the-flask sipper, or perfect for whipping up an impromptu cocktail.
Powers Three Swallow Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey—92 points, $48
Ireland’s distillers excel at crafting easy-sipping whiskeys than still retain plenty of complexity, and this example—No. 18 in the 2019 Top 20—stands out. There’s fruit cake on the nose with a slightly herbal and savory note. The palate is viscous, spicy but not too aggressive, and highlights more fruit and nuts. The smooth, oily finish adds coconut, vanilla, and just a little oak.
BenRiach Sherry Wood 12 year old Single Malt Scotch—90 points, $64
Hauling mixers around defeats the purpose of carrying a flask, but a heavily sherried whisky can offer all the complexity of a well-made cocktail with no extra effort. This single malt is fully matured in sherry casks, then finished in more sherry casks: Pedro Ximénez and oloroso. As expected, it’s big on sherry aromas and flavors, with plums, figs, and vanilla on the nose and honey, chocolate, and orange zest on the palate. A pleasant (and slight) oxidation leads into a medium-spiced, slightly bitter finish. Think of it as a Rob Roy for the road.
Old Ezra 7 year old Barrel Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon—94 points, $40
A sourced bourbon from Luxco, which owns Lux Row Distillery, this is hard to beat for the price and proof—not to mention the outstanding flavor. Sweet on the nose, with hints of toffee and crème brûlée, the palate injects spice: cinnamon, cloves, and fresh ginger. It’s balanced by caramel and roasted nuts, finishing with hints of tobacco and leather. No. 7 on Whisky Advocate’s 2019 Top 20.
W.B. Saffell Kentucky Straight Bourbon—91 points, $50/375 ml.
Then again, maybe you don’t own a flask, nor do you have time to acquire one. Let this handsome little number, only available in a 375 ml. rounded bottle, act as your flask. The third release in the “Whiskey Barons” series, this is a combination of 6, 8, 10, and 12 year old bourbons distilled at Wild Turkey. It offers a typical Turkey nose of peanuts and leather, with a palate presenting plenty of spice, caramel, chocolate, and even Dr. Pepper. Non-chill filtered, it is oily and viscous, and at 53.5% ABV, quite boozy, but goes down smooth.