Best Celebrity-Owned Whiskey Brands | Observer

collage of three bottles of whiskey
These are the celebrity whiskey brands worth adding to your liquor cabinet.

It seems like everyone is getting into the liquor game as of late, with plenty of A-listers debuting or investing in spirits. The world of whiskey, however, has drawn its own specific type of celebrity. Feel like bending it with Beckham? If your soccer skills aren’t up to par, his single grain scotch may be the closest you’ll get. Want to do a little woodwork with Nick Offerman? Do some work on his Lagavulin charred oak cask, which carries the scent of those oak barrels in every sip.

Even Matthew McConaughey got in on the whiskey game, with his own bottling of Wild Turkey Longbranch Bourbon, a Texas tribute to his native state. His 8-year aged small batch Kentucky bourbon, distilled by Eddie Russell, was filtered through Texas mesquite wood to play to those smoky notes and still retain the signature Wild Turkey flavor profile with a bit of cinnamon and body and a bright, citrus note at the end. While McConaughey did end the partnership by the beginning of 2023, bottles are still available which is pretty alright, alright, alright.

There are so many different styles of whiskey. While the origins of whiskey can be traced back to Ireland and Scotland, those versions still rely on the crops that were readily available, which include some mix of rye, wheat and barley. Bourbon replaces at least 51 percent of that grain mash with corn, which is where a lot of the flavor and texture differences come into play especially once they rest in a new American oak cask. Point being, there are plenty of whiskey varieties, and each of the celebrities below has chosen a spirit that represents their roots and interests in a carefully unique and crafted way. Not every celebrity-backed brand is up to par, though, so we’ve done the hard work for you and found the best A-list whiskeys worth knowing and adding to your liquor cart.

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Beckham holding whiskey with the bottle next to him.
Haig Club.

Beckham’s Haig Club Clubman is a light, unpeated Scotch whisky that aims to  win over newcomers to the spirit. This single grain scotch is distilled in Scotland at Diageo’s Cameronbridge distillery. The twist, or should we say, bend? Beckham’s spirit spends time maturing in ex-American bourbon barrels, which give it something a little different from your classic Scotch whisky. The residual char helps add to that light amber flavor and smooth lightness like salted caramel. The bottle, as well, is nothing short of a standout, and will certainly look great on any bar cart.   

A whiskey bottle with a cocktail next to it.

Irish whiskey is always a good call, and with Sláinte, Schreiber’s new line of whiskey, a rousing good time will surely commence. The name, pronounced “slahn-cha,’  means “to your health,” and is the traditional Gaelic word used to cheer others on (and make a toast, of course) on the Emerald Isle. Liev Schreiber teamed up with accomplished industry specialist Richard Davies on this liquid, and this bottling represents a new-ish category in Irish whiskey: double aging. The liquid first rests in old bourbon American oak barrels, and then finishes off with a rest in sherry casks. That sherry finish gives bigger, rounder and richer notes to the liquid, which play up very well in a spirit-forward cocktail like an old fashioned, or even a whiskey sour.

A whiskey bottle with people in the background.
Proper No. Twelve.

A proper Irish bottle for a proper Irish celebrity? It’s just too fitting. Proper No. Twelve is an Irish whiskey blended from single malt and grain; this is an accessible, drinkable bottle with some vanilla and plenty of toasted wood, created by UFC champ Connor McGregor and distilled by David Elder. The spirit is triple-distilled, with sweeter notes and an easy finish. 

A man in plaid drinking whiskey.
Charred Oak Cask.

Lagavulin is known for high-end peated whisky, and Nick Offerman’s Charred Oak Cask is a  true collaboration of the two sensibilities. With tons of bold woody and smoky flavors, this one takes a moment for the palette to adjust. Once it does, the richness of a backyard BBQ shines through, in a highly compelling way. Drink neat for a post dinner sip, or experiment with a few drops of water and see what happens as the flavors open.  

A black whiskey bottle.
Blackened American Whiskey.

Metallica’s Blackened American Whiskey isn’t just a cleverly-branded bottle. The musicians already have decades of experience rocking out at colosseums, and with Blackened American Whiskey, they’re ready to make some noise you can taste. During the resting process, the Blackened American whiskey was exposed to sound waves from a low-hertz playlist curated by Metallica. Sound-wave whiskey isn’t completely unheard of, and has been used in recent years because the sonic waves actually push the whiskey deeper into the barrel’s wood grain. There, the liquid is exposed to the wood in a deeper way, which can make for a very flavorful spirit with lots of allspice, cinnamon and honey.

Simerhalder and Wesley drinking whiskey on a fence.
Brother’s Bond.

The bond between Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley initially formed while playing onscreen vampire brothers on The Vampire Diaries. After the CW show ended, the duo’s friendship endured, and eventually evolved into a partnership based around their mutual love of bourbon: Enter Brother’s Bond, inspired by the, well, bonding sessions they shared over the spirit. They brought on CEO Vincent Hanna to help them realize their vision, and the result? A column distilled bourbon featuring four grains, made for approachability and sipping. The high rye liquid has plenty of baked notes, with lots of banana bread and spice. With one percent of every sale going being reinvested into regenerative farming, that bond tastes even sweeter.

A bottle of whiskey with a light color.

In Scottish Gaelic, sassenach means “outsider” or “nonconformist.” On the Starz series Outlander, Sam Heughan’s 18th century character, Jamie Fraser, uses it as an affectionate name for his on-screen love interest. Offscreen, Heughan’s  blended Scotch whisky, named as a cheeky tribute to the show, is a love letter to the Scottish Highlands. The Scottish actor launched the whisky in 2020, in collaboration with Master Blender Michael Henry of Loch Lomond Distillery. Their version of The Sassenach is a rich, gold liquid with lots of citrus, allspice, cinnamon and butterscotch notes. By blending only single malts that have aged between 9 and 20 years, and then again blended with a 20-year-old organic single grain whisky, Michael Henry has the ultimate say in the richness and complexity of each batch. The mixture is then finished in Madeira wine barrels, which only enhances that smooth honey finish and helps the spirit come across as extremely well-balanced.

The Celebrity Whiskey Brands That Are Actually Worth Drinking

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