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INVENTORY From Everyday Staples to the Bucket List, These Are the Best Whiskeys You Shouldn’t IgnoreJay West from Whiskey Raiders shares some classic standbys and a "try before you die" favorite.

This selection of whiskeys is brought to you by Jay West, Managing Editor and Spirits Critic of Whiskey Raiders, who sifts through the best and the worst the whiskey world has to offer. Here are three of his favorite bottles, each in its own category, that you shouldn’t ignore.

01 MUST HAVE: Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve

Bourbon Whiskey (60% ABV)

Distilled by Jim Beam in the heart of Kentucky, Knob Creek has long been a staple of the company’s wide portfolio. Aged for at least nine years and bottled at a blistering 60% ABV, there is relatively little this bourbon can’t do. Since 1795, when the distillery was started by German immigrant Jacob Beam, the operation has been guided by seven generations of the family. Many common names are found in their catalog, but the one you shouldn’t ever forget is Knob Creek. Widely available in the entirety of the U.S., Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is a bastion of quality, availability, and affordability. You can expect notes of toffee, peanut brittle, sweet oak, and cocoa in this powerful sipper. Not a day goes by at Whiskey Raiders headquarters without a bottle of Knob Creek nearby.

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$45 Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Knob Creek
$80 Barrel Dovetail Barrel Craft Spirits

02 TREAT YOURSELF: Barrell Dovetail

Bourbon Whiskey | (ABV varies, 61.45% sampled)

Barrell Craft Spirits is an operation like no other — skunkworks, mad scientist laboratory, and other eccentric phrases can all be used to accurately describe what happens inside the walls of this bottler extraordinaire. Founded by Joe Beatrice and operated by Tripp Stimson, the bottler does no distilling of their own and instead focuses on sourcing premium products as well as blending and novelty finishing. When you’re looking for a bottle to treat yourself, look no further than Barrell Dovetail. After a year of blending, research, and development, Barrell finally struck gold. This whiskey release is finished in rum, port wine, and cabernet sauvignon barrels and bottled at cask strength for a lush mouthfeel and surprising complexity. The $80 price tag is no fire-sale bargain, but the quality is undeniable.

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03 BUCKET LIST: Whistle Pig 18 Year Rye

Rye Whiskey |  (46% ABV)

The pure definition of opulence, Whistle Pig set out to release a bottling of extra old rye and a twist. Featuring a custom hand-cut, crystal topper, this 18-year rye features a double malt mash bill and flashy box. That said, you can’t drink the packaging. Heavy on the rye, 18 Year delivers potent spice and cream initially on the palate and sweetens over time with the addition of creamsicle, cocoa, and brown sugar as it rests. The $400 price tag is tough to swallow no matter the occasion, but in a world where Rittenhouse 23 Year Rye and every Van Winkle imaginable is impossible to find, this available, decadent rye is perfect for your bucket list.

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$400 Whistle Pig 18 Year Rye Whistle Pig
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Inventory is a weekly round-up of gear, goods, and more that we curate, use, and love. Want to get featured? Email