Top 20 Whiskies of 2018

#10 • Belle Meade Cask Strength Reserve (Batch No. 5)

  • Rank: 10
  • Year: 2018
  • Score: 92
  • Price: $60
  • ABV: 56.8%
  • Style: Bourbon
  • Place of Origin: Indiana

Swirls with the smells of a county fair—candy apples, peanuts, caramel, spiced cookies, and old barn boards, redolent with maturity and complexity. More childhood favorites appear on the palate: cinnamon Red Hots, grape soda, blackberry candy, chocolate-covered caramels, candy apple, and roasted corn, with lush oak rounding out into a peppery finish of cherry cola and roasted pecans. Given the barrel proof, this takes water well. Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery bottles the Belle Meade line of bourbons, sourced from MGP Distillery. Each batch of Cask Strength Reserve averages around 1,000 bottles; ABV varies between 55% and 60%. —Susannah Skiver Barton