The 20 Best Westerns of All Time
The Western has been a staple of Hollywood filmmaking for the majority of film history. The love of Westerns still grows strong amongst cinephiles, and the recent resurgence of the genre in film, television, and even video games (such as the Paramount series Yellowstone or hit game Red Dead Redemption 2) has forced the genre back into the public eye.
That said, here is our list of the top 20 best Westerns that you should check out!
1. Unforgiven (1992)
Often regarded as Clint Eastwood’s magnum opus, both as an actor and a director, Unforgiven follows ex-gunslinger and widower William Munny (Eastwood), along with his friend Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman), newcomer “the Schofield Kid” (Jaimz Woolvett), and the over-the-top English Bob (Richard Harris). Plus, Gene Hackman (Superman) plays unforgiving and borderline-sociopathic Sheriff “Little Bill” in a way no one else could.
As one of the greatest Revisionist Westerns out there, Unforgiven digs deep into Munny’s own demons as he works to escape his past and secure a future for his children while wrestling with the implications of his choices. It also serves as Eastwood’s love letter and final farewell to the genre that jump-started his career. It really is that good, and that’s why it ranks at the top of our list.
2. The Dollars Trilogy (1964 – 1966)
Probably the most famous Western trilogy out there, famed Spaghetti Western director Sergio Leone directed three back-to-back Westerns from 1964 – 1966 (also starring Clint Eastwood as “the Man with No Name”): A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, collectively known as the Dollars Trilogy. Eastwood shines as the Man as he stumbles into each respective town looking for trouble, and he certainly finds it.
These films are exceptional. From A Fistful of Dollars tight plot to that shootout at the end of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, the Dollars Trilogy does its best to throw you right into the action and show what it means to be a true gunslinger and a force for justice. Plus, Ennio Morricone’s iconic score is just the best.
3. The Searchers (1956)
In 1956, renowned Western icons John Wayne (True Grit) and John Ford (Stagecoach) released what is often considered the “greatest Western of all time,” The Searchers. Wayne stars as Civil War veteran Ethan Edwards as he searches for his lost niece (Natalie Wood), who was abducted by Comanche Indians. As Ethan and his adoptive nephew Martin (Jeffery Hunter) travel the Wild West in search of Debbie, they find answers they could never have imagined.
The Searchers is not only one of Wayne’s greatest performances, but probably John Ford’s greatest films as well. Praised for its sharp dialogue, impressive performances, and immaculate locations, The Searchers truly is a classic Western in every sense.
4. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
A remake of the 1957 film of the same name, 3:10 to Yuma is directed by James Mangold (Logan) and stars Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) as rancher Dan Evans and Russell Crowe (Gladiator) as outlaw Ben Wade. Evans must get Wade to the 3:10 to Yuma train in order to get the money he needs to save his family’s ranch.
3:10 to Yuma is an impressive Western that takes the basic concept of the original and elevates it to modern times with incredible performances, slick editing, and Marco Beltrami’s Oscar-nominated score. It’s a powerful tale that makes you feel just about every way you could.
5. High Noon (1952)
Gary Cooper (The Virginian) stars as Marshall Will Kane who must decide whether to face a gang of killers on his own or leave town quickly with his new wife (Grace Kelly). It’s a high-stakes, black-and-white Western that still stands up against today’s Westers, with Cooper’s performance as Marshall Kane one of the best on this list.
What makes this film exceptional is that it’s told in “real-time,” meaning Kane only has 85 minutes (less really) to decide what he’s going to do before he becomes a target for the gang of gunslingers. It really drives home the high stakes and forces the audience to wonder what they would do, especially given the political controversy the film inspired at the time.
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6. Tombstone (1993)
Talking about great performances… Tombstone stars Kurt Russell (The Thing) as Wyatt Earp, Val Kilmer (Heat) as Doc Holiday, Sam Elliot (Gettysburg) as Virgil Earp, Michael Bein (The Terminator) as Johnny Ringo, and a host of other phenomenal actors in this gripping film telling the story of Wyatt Earp and the infamous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (a true story by the way).
Other movies told the story of Earp (including Wyatt Earp, released only six months later), but none are as fascinating or action-packed as Tombstone. Add to that Kilmer’s performance as the opioid-addicted Doc Holiday, which is arguably the best performance on his career (“I’m your huckleberry“) and Tombstone is not just a cult classic, but one of the best Westerns of the past 30 years.
7. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is not only one of the best Westerns, but one of the most un-traditional Westerns ever made. Sure, Butch (played by the charismatic Paul Newman) and Sundance (played by the elusive Robert Redford) are on the run from the law, and sure, they’re robbers who run a gang of outlaws, but their plans to escape to Bolivia (South America instead of Mexico) and settle down, as well as their general sense of humor, makes them stand out as regular men.
It’s a shame Newman and Redford only made one other film together (The Sting; it’s great), because the chemistry between these two, their bickering and constant callbacks, is what makes this film one of the greats. While it may not be all-that-traditional, it’s a marvelous time.
8. Once Upon a Time in The West (1968)
Sergio Leone’s last take on the Western, Once Upon A Time in The West, is a classic Western flipped on its head. From the casting of Henry Fonda (Easy Rider) as the villain (a new role for the movie star who traditionally played Western heroes in John Ford pictures) to the obvious influence of classic Westerns such as The Comancheros, Johnny Guitar, Shane, and even The Searchers, it’s a film that is respectful of the past, even when taking the story in another direction.
Once Upon a Time in the West was Leone’s experiment to take all of the general conventions of American Westerns by directors John Ford and Howard Hawks and change their intended meanings; he even went as far as to use the same locations.
9. The Cowboys (1972)
One of John Wayne’s most interesting roles (especially given the ending), The Cowboys is a story about aged rancher Wil Andersen (Wayne) as he works to travel from Bozeman, Montana to South Dakota on a cattle drive. But with no men to help, he turns to a group of nearly a dozen young boys to guide the herd. While it might not sound like the most fun John Wayne film at first glance, we promise it’s worth the watch.
Filled with lots of gunfights, humor, and the harsh realities of life, The Cowboys has more heart and soul than most. Plus, Roscoe Lee Browne plays the group’s cook, Jebediah Nightlinger, who will both make you laugh and scare you straight all at once.
10. The Gunfighter (1950)
In The Gunfighter, Gregory Peck (best known for his Academy Award-winning performance as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird) plays retired gunfighter Jimmy Ringo, who works hard to leave his reputation in the dust and reunite with his wife and son after eight years away. Peck delivers his lines beautifully as Ringo makes it clear he wants nothing to do with these “childish” things.
What makes The Gunfighter such a powerful film (besides Peck’s performance) is the themes about legacy and what kind of mark you want to leave behind. Ringo makes it clear throughout that he has wasted his life, and only wants to start anew with his family. It’s a touching picture that keeps you hooked from the beginning to the end.
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11. Rio Bravo (1959)
Howard Hawks (Sergeant York) decided it was time to put John Wayne and musician Dean Martin (and a young Ricky Nelson) together in a memorable Western that is just a lot of fun. Rio Bravo is about a Texan sheriff who must hold a murderer in jail until the U.S. Marshal arrives, all the while holding off the murderer’s brother’s gang.
Rio Bravo is so good it’s been remade by Hawks twice (with El Dorado and Rio Lobo)! There are also some great musical performances by Martin and Nelson (including My Rifle, My Pony, and Me) that occur pretty naturally throughout the film.
12. The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Magnificent Seven is about (you guessed it) seven gunfighters who are hired to defend a small, poor Mexican village from marauding bandits. The film is actually a remake of the Japanese samurai film Seven Samurai, just in an Old West setting.
Honestly, The Magnificent Seven is just a really good time. Yul Brenner (The King and I), Steve McQueen (Bullitt), Charles Bronson (Once Upon A Time In the West), and Robert Vaughn (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) hold the film together as this group of outlaws does their best to save this poor community.
This film was remade in 2016 with an all-star cast (Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Peter Sarsgaard, and more), but you’re better off sticking with the original.
13. Bone Tomahawk (2015)
Bone Tomahawk is an independent horror Western that features an impressive cast on an incredibly small budget. Kurt Russell (Tombstone), Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring), and Matthew Fox (Lost) star in this gruesome and bloody tale of a small-town sheriff (Russell) who takes a posse to rescue a pair who have been abducted by a clan of indigenous cannibals.
If this film sounds intense, that’s because it is. Bone Tomahawk does its best to shock and awe you while also keeping you invested in the personal lives of our heroes. It’s a really unique take on the Western that sparks new life into a genre that usually says, “yeah, we’ve seen that,” because honestly, you haven’t seen anything like this.
14. The Wild Bunch (1969)
Sam Peckinpah, the father of the nihilistic Revisionist Westerns such as Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid and The Ballad of Cable Hogue, is most well-known for his Western masterpiece The Wild Bunch, which features an aging gang of outlaws on the hunt for their final score. It’s an insane film with lots of blood and shootouts that was controversial at the time because of the amount of violence shown.
The Wild Bunch ends with one of the most climactic gunfights of all time at the “Aqua Verde” that will keep you guessing straight until the end. It’s frightening, intense, and a must-see if you’re a fan of Westerns.
15. Stagecoach (1939)
Stagecoach is one of John Wayne’s first Westerns and one of John Ford’s greatest. The film follows a group of misfits as they travel in a stagecoach (naturally) from the Arizona Territory to New Mexico, outrunning Apaches along the way. It’s an excellent film with a tight script and stand-out characters.
Stagecoach was the first of countless Westerns that Ford shot at the famed Monument Valley, and one of his first featuring Wayne, whom he would become a frequent partner and collaborator with throughout his career.
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16. True Grit (2010)
While this may be a controversial take, the Coen Brothers (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) version of True Grit (based on the original novel) might be better than the John Wayne classic. Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) stars as Rooster Cogburn alongside Hailee Steinfeld (Bumblebee), Matt Damon (Ford v Ferrari), and Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men) in an exciting tale of revenge.
The Coen’s True Grit also manages to be a more faithful adaptation of the source material and has updated the original film to modern times in a way that pays homage while also trimming the fat. The Coen Brothers sure know how to tell an exciting story.
17. Shane (1953)
The closest thing we have to a true classic Western in every sense of the word, Shane is everything you think of when the word Western comes to mind. A skilled, yet laconic, gunfighter with a mysterious past (Alan Ladd). A woman (Jean Arthur) he can never have because she’s married to an honorable man (Van Heflin). A small town plagued by a wealthy cattle baron and his band of outlaws. Shane literally has it all.
But what makes Shane so great is that it’s genuine. Alan Ladd plays the title character perfectly and is a true inspiration for all Western heroes to come. Clint Eastwood starred in a 1985 remake called Pale Rider (the highest-grossing Western of the decade), and Shane went on to directly influence the themes of James Mangold’s Logan, with clips and dialogue from Shane included in the film.
18. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
This dramatic John Ford Western stars both John Wayne and superstar James Stewart (It’s A Wonderful Life) in outstanding performances that are a tribute to each of their respective careers. The film is exciting, dramatic, and compelling as it deals with tough themes and concepts such as truth and legend.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, based on a short story from the 1950s, is one of the most interesting films on this list, as it was released in black-and-white during a time when color film was readily available. If you’re on the fence, know that Wayne and Stewart make the film worth the time and trouble.
19. The Proposition (2005)
An Australian Western directed by John Hillcoat (The Road) and written by screenwriter and musician Nick Cave (Lawless), The Proposition is different from every other film on this list in that it doesn’t take place in the American Old West. The film stars Guy Pearce (Memento) as outlaw Charlie Burns who’s given nine days to track and kill his older brother (Danny Huston) before his younger brother (Richard Wilson) is executed.
The Proposition, which takes place in the 1880s Australian outback, goes through great pains to get the indigenous culture right. Pearce’s performance is uncompromising and an excellent look at the lengths people will go for family.
20. Hostiles (2017)
Ending in the United States, the 2017 film Hostiles also does its best to be respectful to indigenous peoples, at least in terms of historical accuracy. Directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) and starring Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Hostiles is an honest-yet-brutal look at the Old American West at the tail-end of the Union’s war with the Native peoples.
Hostiles features Cpt. Joseph Blocker (Bale) as he takes Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family back to their homeland in Montana. The scenes between Bale and Studi are moving as the film challenges both their presuppositions and racist views along the way. It’s both an incredibly powerful and honest film.
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The 10 Best Grilling Tools for Your Summer BBQ
If you want to be a grill master, you need the right tools for the job. While having a top-quality grill is obviously vital, there are many other things you need to make your life at the grill as easy as possible.
There are plenty of tools out there that will enhance the flavor of your food and allow you to cook your meat and veggies to perfection. We’ve looked at a range of them from meat thermometers and grilling gloves to cedar planks and grill baskets.
While all these tools are different, they’re all great ways to enhance your grilling experience. We’ve searched high and low to come up with 10 that you’ll love. All you need to do is read on and choose the best grilling tools for you. Let’s get started!
1. Kizen Digital Meat Thermometers for Cooking
When cooking on the grill, it can be easy to be a little nervous about whether or not your meat is ready. With this Kizen meat thermometer, you can put those fears to bed and know exactly when your meat is done.
The reading on this thermometer only takes around three seconds, so you’re not going to be waiting around for your results. It’s waterproof and durable. This is a tool you’ll be using time and time again.
It’s versatile too. Thermometers are often required for beverage and candy making, among other things. This tool is perfect for them all and will give you readings to a very high level of accuracy.
It will automatically turn on/off when you take out the prong and there is also a temperature guide written on it. It’s very easy to use and the magnet and handle hole also makes it simple to store.
2. Alpha Grillers Heavy Duty BBQ Grilling Tools Set
You can’t become a grilling master without having a high-quality set of grilling tools. While you can buy them all separately, it makes sense to get a set such as this. It’s brilliant and comes with a spatula, fork, basting brush, and tongs.
All of them are made out of thick steel so you don’t need to worry about them succumbing to the heat. They’re also fitted with silicone grips which keep your skin safe and the tools firmly in your hand.
Their design also makes them very simple to use, including the lockable tongs that allow them to stay compact when not in use. Added to this, all four of the tools have hooks for easy storage.
One downside of grilling tools is needing to clean them after use. With this set, that won’t be an issue. Not only are they easy to wipe down, but they are also dishwasher safe. This is perfect for anyone needing a brilliant set of essential grilling tools.
3. GEEKHOM Grilling Gloves
Your hands are going to be near very hot pieces of metal and you also have the risk of fat spitting onto your skin. For those reasons, it makes sense to invest in a pair of high-quality grilling gloves.
These are made of silicone which can cope with very high heat of up to 446F. On the inside is soft cotton, making the gloves very easy to wear. The material is breathable, so you won’t need to worry about your hands sweating.
The safety of these gloves doesn’t stop at the high-temperature resistance. They also cover your wrists and have a non-slip surface, allowing you to securely grip whatever you’re holding.
Usability is also exceptional as the gloves are non-toxic and machine washable. Five colors are also available, so you can pick ones that suit your style. If you want to grill in safety and comfort, these gloves are a must.
4. Kona 360 Clean Grill Brush
You’ve cooked all your food, everyone’s loved it, and you’ve had a fantastic day. You then look down at your grill and your heart sinks. You know that it’s going to take a long time to clean and you simply can’t be bothered.
If that sounds like you then you need to get the Kona 360 Clean Grill Brush. It will drastically cut down the time you need to clean your grill. It takes minimum effort and you won’t have that dreaded feeling after you’ve finished cooking.
A great aspect of this brush is that it can be used on all grill types. The three-pronged brush allows you to clean three times faster than most other models. It’s also very easy to use with the textured finger grip and 18” handle.
Impressively, the durability is also very high here. You get a limited five year warranty which is no surprise due to its solid construction. It’s going to last for a long time and you’ll enjoy that super-quick clean time and time again.
5. Primal Grilling Premium Cedar Planks For Grilling
For those that want a unique way of cooking their food, using cedar planks is a brilliant way to do it. All you need to do is soak them in water and then grill away. It results in food that is full of moisture and flavor.
These planks are quite thick which means they don’t burn easily at all. You can use them repeatedly before they become too charred to use. They come in a pack of five, which is going to last a very long time.
The natural cedar doesn’t contain any chemicals and is a very natural way of cooking food. It’s particularly good for fish but the planks will also enhance the moisture and taste of any meat, along with any veggies you want to cook.
When you’re finished using your planks, you can pop them in the drawstring bag provided and use them again whenever you want. You’ll love the results and if you’ve never done it before, you should definitely give it a try.
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6. The Seasoned Griller Store Professional Grade Stainless Steel Grill Basket
While we love grilling, there’s no doubt that it can get messy. Veggies can also be very difficult to cook as they are hard to move around with your grilling tools and can easily fall between the gaps.
An ideal solution is to get this grilling basket from The Seasoned Griller. It’s a great way to keep all your cooking contained while heating it perfectly. The holes are big enough to allow the heat in without letting any food out.
It’s made of stainless steel and can be used on almost any grill. It is worth double-checking the dimensions to make sure it’s a good fit for your model. It’s not too big, so it shouldn’t be an issue. While it’s great for vegetables, you can cook anything with this and it makes it exceptionally easy. It saves cleaning your grill and prevents any lost food. It’s a great addition to your BBQ.
7. Victoria Cast Iron Grill Press
When it comes to pressing down your meat, most people will use the back of a spatula. It’s not what it’s designed for and isn’t great for the task. Instead, you should get a cast iron grill press.
It will help to reduce cooking time while also adding excellent flavor to your food. This model is seasoned with flaxseed oil to produce great results. It’s the ideal tool for searing or flattening meat.
It’s also simple to use, thanks to its excellent design. It has a removable cool-touch wood handle along with a textured bottom for a secure hold. It can be used for a wide variety of different meats and is ideal to have while grilling.
8. OXO Good Grips Meat Shredding Claws
Shredded meat can add an extra dimension to your food in both texture and taste. It works brilliantly with pork but you can also get wonderful results with the likes of chicken and beef.
When it comes to shredding meat, most people try to do it with regular forks, which can be extremely difficult. With these meat shredding claws, you’ll find the task to be incredibly easy.
The long handles and interlocking teeth mean that the task will get completed in no time at all. The grips are also comfortable and have a high level of heat resistance. If you want delicious shredded meat, then there’s no better tool than this.
9. Ofargo Plastic Marinade Injector
Adding flavor to your meat can be difficult. One method is to pierce holes into it with a fork or knife and try to rub marinade or seasoning in. The problem with this is that it’s not very efficient and produces mediocre results. With a marinade injector, you can put that flavor directly into the meat. The difference in results is huge.
You’ll find the meat to be much tastier and the flavor to be much more consistent throughout the meat. This injector is perfect for the job. It’s lightweight and compact so you can just place it on your shelf next to the grill, ready to go. It can easily be used one-handed and is food-safe too.
There are two different needles, one for sauce and another for liquid. It’s a great addition to your grill and takes the flavor to another level.
10. Hudson Durable Goods - Professional Grade Chef Apron
Unless you want clothes that are full of grease, food splashes, and charcoal stains, it’s a good idea to get an apron. This one comes in six different colors and they all look stylish. They’re made from heavyweight cotton that is very tough while still being comfortable to wear. Once you’ve finished using it, then you can throw it in the washing machine before using it again.
There are some great features here, such as the back straps which will prevent any neck pain. There are also four pockets and a towel look, for easy use. It’s easily adjustable and can be taken off quickly with the back buckle.
The versatile apron can be used for a lot more grilling and can be used time and time again. The quality is excellent throughout and most importantly. It’ll keep you and your clothes protected.
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Grilling Tools FAQs
At a very basic level, you definitely need a spatula, fork, and tongs. After that, it depends on what you’re cooking and how you want it to be cooked. For safety, an apron and gloves are essential whereas other tools such as cedar planks are a great luxury extra.
Grilling tools need to cope with a high level of heat and need to keep you protected from that heat. They should also be comfortable and allow you to grill with ease. Once they tick those boxes, it’s all about how they make your life easier or improve the taste of your food.
This is difficult to answer as there is a vast range of brands that make a wide array of high-quality grilling tools. We think it’s more important to focus on the quality of the product if the tool meets your needs and the customer reviews. All the tools we looked at here get our seal of approval.
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The Difference Between Bourbon and Whiskey
The difference between bourbon and whiskey is as clear as mud when you’re trying to choose between brands and bottles. Bourbon needs to be American-made, aged in oak for four years, and have at least a 51% mash bill, while other American Whiskeys are made using wheat and/or rye or utilize other variations in the distillation process.
Whiskey was a term first employed during the late 1800s to differentiate Irish Whiskey and American liquor from Scotch whisky and Canadian whisky (which everyone called rye). The in-vogue Japanese whisky also went with the Scotch spelling (click here for the full breakdown of whisky versus whiskey).
The following article defines what mash bill is needed to make bourbon, but also identifies the other major American whiskey styles, bottled-in-bond, Tennessee whiskey, and single malt varieties that are beginning to become more prevalent in the US.
What Makes a Liquor Bourbon?
A frequent refrain that can be heard in Kentucky is: “Not every whiskey is a bourbon, but every bourbon is a whiskey.” To be called bourbon:
The liquor needs to be crafted from at least a 51% corn fermented grain mash bill that has been stored in charred oak barrels for four years. The spirit must have been distilled within the United States.
95% of the bourbon whiskey bottled in the U.S. is distilled in the state of Kentucky.
Is All Bourbon From Kentucky?
Kentucky is considered bourbon country, and your home bar is most likely to be stocked with expressions from the Bluegrass state. The majority of bourbon has been distilled in Kentucky since American whiskey production was drawn from the corn-producing farms of the 1700s.
Despite this, other regions – such as Tennessee, Colorado, California, and even New York – are beginning to craft and/or bottle amazing bourbon expressions. Just like with peat and barley malt for Irish Whiskey and single malt and blended Scotch in the British Isles, your liquor of choice comes from the source material.
Finding the best Kentucky bourbon is like finding the best single malt Scotch – it’s entirely subjective and based on a wide variety of factors including flavor, taste, aroma, price, and accessibility.
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Wheated bourbons are those made with a large proportion of the mash bills secondary grain being wheat, in addition to the mandated 51% minimum corn. Wheat as the secondary grain provides subtlety and contrast, adding a creaminess and gradual sweetness to the spirit than that derived from the majority corn, malted barley, or rye recipe.
Wheat is also useful during oak barrel aging, with a tendency to age much better than many traditional bourbons (up to around the 20 year mark).
Best choice: Maker’s 46 Wheated Bourbon
Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon and Whiskey
The Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 was a set of legal regulations created by the U.S. Government to standardize and authenticate the quality of American distilled alcoholic beverages, especially bourbon, wheat, and rye whiskey.
Prior to the time the Bottled-in-Bond Act was legislated, the American whiskey market was being decimated by inferior quality, unregulated booze. Bottled-in-bond is a whiskey label that adheres to a set of legal regulations contained in the United States government’s Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits.
The regulatory jargon breaks down as follows:
- The whiskey must be the product of a single distillation season
- The distilled spirit must be made by one distiller at one distillery
- The distilled spirit must be at least four years old
- It must be stored and aged in government bonded warehouses
- The whiskey must also be at least 100 proof (50% ABV)
- Only water may be added to the mash bill
If you purchase a bourbon whiskey or rye labeled bottled-in-bond the regulations from the Act must be met.
Best choice: New Riff Straight Bourbon Whiskey
American Rye Whiskey
For a spirit to call itself American rye whiskey, the grain mash must be made up of at least 51% actual malted rye cereal grain.
Certified rye whiskey’s initial alcohol content can’t be higher than 160 proof, or roughly 80% alcohol before it’s distilled down and eventually bottled.
Aside from the straight rye whiskey, you’ll find some rye mash bills filled out with brown sugar, corn, or malted barley, or have the wooden barrel finish in wine, rum, or brandy casks to add another flavor dimension.
Best choice: WhistlePig Rye 10 Year
American Single Malt Whiskey
Single malt and blended whiskey expressions made from malted barley are becoming more popular craft spirits in the U.S.
With Scotch whisky at its highest popularity level of all time and the emergence of Japanese whisky as a power player in the billion-dollar market for blended malt whisky, there’s an opportunity for local distillers to make quality single malt. While it lacks the cultural cachet of Scotch, American malt whisky is meticulously crafted and caters well to craft distillation.
Best choice: Westward American Single Malt
There’s a simple, yet important distinction between Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey which makes a huge impact on the taste and what goes on the label. The crucial difference is that Tennessee whiskey is filtered through sugar maple charcoal as part of the Lincoln County Process, a charcoal filtration method in which fresh whiskey passes through charcoal chips and is then put in oak casks for maturation.
For a whiskey to attain the Tennessee label, it must go through the charcoal mellowing stage, in the state of Tennessee.
Best choice: Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Whiskey
To be called bourbon, your whiskey needs to be distilled in America for a minimum of four years in oak barrels, with a mash bill of at least 51% corn. If it’s predominantly rye, wheat, or malt grain-based, then by law the spirit can’t be called bourbon.
Figuring out what constitutes whisky or whiskey is a lot simpler than in the past when nobody really knew what was going on. The simplest way to remember is If the country of origin has an “e” in it, then spell it whiskey. See, clear as mud!
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The 10 Best Jordans of All Time
Even if you are not a sneakerhead and don’t know all the nitty-gritty details of every pair of kicks on the market, you’re sure to recognize a pair of Jordans when you see them. Or not. I can spot a pair from a mile away; however, I have a friend that doesn’t know the difference between a pair of Nike Jordans and a pair of Adidas Gazelles, which is upsetting, but I digress…
One of the most classic and iconic sneaker styles ever, Jordans have been around for over 30 years and continue to be a part of rare and exclusive collaborations, making them a collector’s dream, with some pairs going for $12k or more. So get your wallet and credit cards out because you may just max them out as you go through this list.
1. Jordan 1 Retro Chicago (2015)
Undoubtedly the most popular style and colorway of all time as far as Jordan’s go. Last released in 2015, this iconic high-top silhouette has become the staple for street ballers, basketball fans, and sneakerheads alike. Since the airing of The Last Dance, the white/varsity red-black Chicago colorway has skyrocketed in popularity, but for the right price you can still get your hands on a pair.
2. Jordan 3 Retro Black Cement (2018)
To celebrate Mr. Jordan’s 55th birthday in 2018, the Jordan 3 Retro emblazoned sneakers feature the original “Nike Air” branding on the black cement for the first time since 2001. This mid-top kick has a black-based leather upper with cement grey, fire red, and white accents. Finished off by the iconic elephant print detailing, it’s one of the most iconic Jordan’s around.
3. Jordan 6 Retro Black Infrared (2019)
The Air Jordan 6 Retro “Infrared” is a 2019 re-release of the OG colorway. The shoe’s black nubuck upper includes a reflective 3M layer with perforations throughout for breathability. The heel, tongue, and lock sport Infrared accents, with the color also featured on the signature midsole detailing. Visible Air in the heel provides cushioning, while the translucent sections continue down onto the outsole for traction.
4. Jordan 1 Retro High OG Shadow 2.0
This very rare OG colorway has hit shelves only three times in the 30 year history of Jordans, making these a must-own for any AJ1 collector. The shoe features a black and grey leather upper with original “Nike Air” branding on the tongue tag and insoles, along with a white midsole and black outsole. It should be noted that the grey leather panels found on the “Shadow 2.0” are lighter in color than the original grey leather on the first “Shadow.”
5. Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG Shattered Backboard
Released in 2015, the “Shattered Backboard” Air Jordan 1 High is inspired by a 1985 exhibition game in Italy in which Michael Jordan broke the glass backboard after a dunk. Constructed in high-quality tumbled leather in the original high top silhouette, the orange, black, and white colorway is taken from the team uniform MJ wore during the game and modeled after the OG “Black Toe” AJ1 color block. Highly limited upon its initial release, the “Shattered Backboard” Air Jordan 1 disappeared quickly and is now one of the most sought after pairs of not just Jordans, but of sneakers, in general.
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6. Air Jordan 1 Retro Royal (2017)
An original colorway of Michael Jordan’s first signature shoe, this 2017 re-release receives an upgrade in regards to the quality of materials used and its shape, which is truer to the actual 1985 release. The Varsity Royal blue paneling appears in tumbled leather on the toe box, Swooshes, heel, and ankle.
Black premium leather covers the remainder of the upper to complete the classic color blocking. A clean, white midsole balances out the shoe, maintaining the iconic motif along with the Varsity Royal outsole.
7. Jordan 13 Retro Low Chutney
Putting a spin on the iconic Jordan 13 design, Tinker Hatfield designed the Chutney as a stand out in the Air Jordan family. And stand out they do.
The difference between this chutney design and a traditional 13 lies in the cut. These retros replace the classic high top style with a mid top and feature a tan suede upper.
8. Jordan 1 Retro High Dior
If you happen to have $10k-12k burning a hole in your pocket then here is a place for you to spend it. One of the most highly anticipated launches, The Dior x Air Jordan 1 High sneakers are the first collaboration between the luxury brand and sneaker giant.
Featuring a premium white leather upper with wolf grey overlays and the classic Dior logo on the swoosh, this version of the iconic high-top silhouette is a stand-out. The collar has also been altered, stamped with a special “Air Dior” logo.
9. Air Jordan 1 Retro High Rust Pink
Again, if you happen to have $6+ grand just waiting to be spent, first, what do you do for a living, if I may ask, and second, please buy these shoes. These Jordan 1 Retro High Rust Pink kicks were released in early 2017, adding a coral pink “Rust Pink” hue to the two-tone color blocking previously seen on other classic AJ1 silhouettes.
The black paneling features a premium tumbled leather construction, while the midsole appears in white.
10. Air Jordan 5 Retro SP PS “Off-White - Sail
Every sneakerhead remembers when Nike teamed up with Virgil Abloh for the now iconic “The Ten” collection. Abloh added a second colorway to his Jordan 5 collaboration with the Jordan 5 Retro High “Off-White Sail.” This release pays homage to the first pair of Jordans that Virgil ever owned, the Air Jordan 5.
In signature fashion, Virgil has reimagined this classic silhouette with his own recognizable style. This Jordan 5 consists of a sail textile mesh upper with translucent netted panels and circular window inserts throughout the shoe. 3M reflective tongues, fire red Jordan branding, and an aged translucent outsole completes the design.
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