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Video:What Is Top Shelf Whiskey?

with Justin Noel

Turning into a Whiskey connoisseur? In this cocktail video from About.com, mixologist, Justin Noel, showcases three top-shelf whiskeys from behind the bar.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Is Top Shelf Whiskey?

Hi, my name is Justin Noel, proprietor here at 1534 Bar in Nolita, New York, and I'm here today for About.com to discuss what I think top-shelf whiskeys are – your higher priced whiskeys, which are great for sipping, but I like to have a really good top-shelf whiskey that also has the versatility for being very mixable.

Rye Whiskey: Whistle Pig Rye

The first brand I want to talk to you about is the Whistle Pig Rye. Now rye has never really been considered to have a top shelf or a high quality benchmark before. Ten years in oak, it's got a lot of heath in the wood, well-balanced, and it is very versatile in using and making really nice whiskey-based cocktails.

Benchmark Whiskey: Redbreast 15 Year

The second whiskey I want to talk to you today about is Redbreast 15 Year.  Redbreast 15 Year is a mix of malted and unmalted barley that is triple-distilled in copper pot stills in Ireland. Redbreast is from the same family as Middleton, Jameson, Powers. Great history, but if you're talking about a great representation of a high benchmark whiskey, don't look any further than Redbreast 15.

Bourbon: Rip Van Winkle's Reserve 12 Year Special Lot B Bourbon

The final whiskey that I want to talk about today is Rip Van Winkle's Reserve 12 Year Special Lot B Bourbon. When we're talking about whiskey, and we're talking about all the different types: Japanese, Irish, Scotch, Rye, American, Canadian, I think you can't overlook the fact that America produces some of great, great  high benchmark whiskeys, and I think Rip Van Winkle and Pappy Van Winkle Distillery makes some of the best whiskeys out there. It's a very well-balanced, great tasting bourbon, that you can drink straight, on the rocks, or it has a lot of beef in it, so you can use it in a lot of great whiskey cocktails.

A Note About What Top-Shelf Means

So, there you have it: three quality benchmark, top-shelf whiskeys.  Just remember, when we're talking about top-shelf whiskeys, the most deciding factor is going to be price point - and that is all determined by the labor that goes into creating some of these top quality products as well as the amount of time it spends in the wood. So, the more expensive, they tend to age longer.

If you want to know more about whiskeys, please visit About.com, and I'll see you later.

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