For the 2nd straight year, Barleycorn faced off its Spring and Fall Competition Top Spirits to determine the Best Of 2023.

This blind-tasting combat was judged by Barleycorn Society members, including Clay Risen, Wayne Curtis, Zach Johnston, Susan Reigler, and John McCarthy. It proved to be a raucous smackdown.

Broken ties, runaway winners, and surprising new up-and-comers emerged to take top honors, and it was such a pleasure discovering so many amazing spirits from producers from around the world this year along the way.

But the votes are tallied and it’s a pleasure to present our JOHN BARLEYCORN BEST SPIRITS OF 2023.

Large Distillery of the Year

Heaven Hill Distillery

Small Distillery of the Year

Cedar Ridge Distillery

Company to Watch

Rock Town Distillery

Rising Star

A.M. Scott Distillery

Craft Distillery Of The Year

M&O Spirits

Blender of the Year


Marketer of the Year

Partners + Napier

Spirit Of The Year

Ernest by Papa’s Pilar Rum

Hemingway Rum Co.

Director’s Choice Awards

The Donn - The Craft Irish Whiskey Co.

Rolling Fork Spirits 9 Year Single Cask Barbados Rum

Casoni Amaro del Ciclista

Best Bourbon

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof B523

Heaven Hill Distillery

Best Single Barrel Bourbon/ Tennessee Whiskey

Rock Town Column Still Collection Single Barrel Straight Bourbon

Rock Town Distillery

Best Rye Whiskey

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. Small Batch Rye Whiskey

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co.

Best Single Barrel Rye

A.M. Scott Distillery Barrel Proof Rye

A.M. Scott Distillery

Best Irish Whiskey

Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength Series


Best American Whiskey

15 STARS Sherry Cask Finish

15 STARS Bourbon

Best Rum

Ernest by Papa’s Pilar Rum

Hemingway Rum Co.

Best Luxury Whiskey

The Devil’s Keep 2023 Edition

The Craft Irish Whiskey Co.

Best American Single Malt

The QuintEssential First Fill Sherry Single Cask

Cedar Ridge Distillery

Best Vodka


Dutch Craft Distillery

Best Gin

Highclere Castle Gin

Highclere Castle Spirits

Best American Brandy

Starlight Distillery Bottled-In-Bond Single Barrel Estate Apple Brandy

Starlight Distillery

Best Cognac

Courvossier XO


Best Flavored Vodka

Distillery of Modern Art Peach Flavored Vodka

Distillery of Modern Art

Best Tennessee Whiskey

Jack Daniel’s 12-Year-Old Tennessee Whiskey

Jack Daniel’s Distillery

Best Wheat Whiskey

Bernheim Original Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey Barrel Proof B923

Heaven Hill Distillery

Best Corn Whiskey

Abasolo Mexican Corn Whiskey

Casa Lumbre

Best American Craft Spirit

M&O Spirits Black Bourbon Whiskey

M&O Spirits

Best Scotch Whisky

Chivas XV Scotch Whisky

Strathisla Distillery

Best World Whiskey

Rampur Indian Single Malt Asava

Radico Khaitan

Best Canadian Whisky

Black Velvet Reserve

Black Velvet

Best Flavored Whiskey

King’s Family Distillery Chocolate Whiskey

King’s Family Distillery

Best Tequila

Quintaliza Reposado Tequila

Quintaliza Tequila

Best Mezcal

Ojo de Tigre Joven Mezcal

Casa Lumbre

Best Flavored Tequila

Madam Paleta Tequila (Tamarind)

JOBU Beverages, LLC

Best Soju

Bībā Soju

Golden Beaver Distillery

Best Liqueur

Victus Amaro

Rock 12 Distillery

Best NA Spirit

MIXOLOSHE Premium Non-Alcoholic Gin Alternative


Best Ready To Drink Cocktail

The Glenlivet Twist & Mix Old Fashioned

The Glenlivet Distillery

Best Ready To Drink Hard Seltzer

Deep Eddy Vodka + Peach Tea

Heaven Hill Brands

Best Non Alcoholic Cocktail Mixer

Jordan’s Skinny Mixes Natural Spicy Margarita

Jordan's Skinny Mixes

Best Specialty Product

Whipshots Vodka Infused Mocha Whip Cream

Starco Brands

2023 Taste Competition


2023 Marketing Competition