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The 8 Best Camping Whiskeys to Drink Outdoors

Best Camping Whiskey 00 Hero
Photo: High West Campfire Whiskey

Let’s face it. Few things out there pair more naturally together than whiskey and camping. Whether it be a little extra kick in the morning coffee (no judgments of course) or a fine nightcap by the fire after a long day on the trail, there’s something about whiskey that just feels so innate to the whole camping experience. Living off the land, spending time in the outdoors, purposefully neglecting your emails. All of this exudes Americana at its finest – as does a cup of whiskey to top it all off. It’s here that we pulled from our own experiences to conjure up a list of the best camping whiskey around.

One thing we noticed during the recollection process is that as much as we love a smooth and aged pull of whiskey, the camping experience isn’t a snooty one – so neither should the booze. Needless to say, a list of reliable but mostly affordable bottles was in order because, let’s face it, this isn’t cocktail hour at the Ritz Carlton. No, instead, these are flask-filling, bottle-drinking vessels of fun and relaxation because guess what, that’s what camping is all about.

Best Camping Whiskey Breakdown

What Makes for a Good Camping Whiskey?

Taste: First and foremost, you’ll want a whiskey that tastes great. It’s up to you what kind of profile you’re looking for. Do you want a spice-filled rye or a sweeter bourbon? Maybe you’ll go for a peated Scotch instead. Or just maybe you’re looking for something totally unique. We’ve included tasting notes below to help you decide.

Smoke: It’s not required, but with all the campfire smoke wafting into your nostrils, you’ll want a dram that can keep up. Most of the picks on this list have some smokiness to them.

Price: You don’t have to go cheap, but typically you won’t want to bring along your expensive bourbon for an ordinary camping trip. However, there may be the occasional outing that calls for a top-shelf pick. Choose wisely and let the nature of the outing and the company you’re traveling with inform your decision.

Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash

Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash

While you could bring along a bottle of Buffalo Trace’s flagship bourbon, we suggest the Kentucky brand’s White Dog Mash. Cheap, unique, and a definite conversation starter around the campfire, this pre-aged moonshine-tribute spirit is an excellent choice if you’re looking to get wild in the wilderness. Each sip boasts a clean, crisp, and syrupy palate experience thanks to its unaged nature. Yes, that means this whiskey is bottled before it hits the barrel. If, however, white lightning is a little too much, this whiskey also serves as a great base for some campsite cocktails.

ABV: 62.5%
Tasting Notes: Bread dough, popcorn, toasted grains, apples, tropical fruit

Tincup American Whiskey

Tincup American Whiskey

Distilled in the Rocky Mountains as mountain whiskey, it was impossible for us not to include Tincup in this roundup. It’s not just their backstory that intrigued us either. In fact, Tincup is a damn fine spirit for outdoorsy folks looking to loosen up under the stars after a long day. Here, we have classic American whiskey, thanks in part to its bourbon-style profile complete with a bold and spicy finish. Additionally, each batch is cut to proof with fresh Rocky Mountain water. And while the Kentucky purists might disagree, that’s one fine way to finish a whiskey if you ask us.

ABV: 42%
Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, vanilla, maple

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Four Roses Small Batch

No doubt about it, if you can survive Prohibition, The Great Depression, two World Wars, and 40 years of exile from the US only to continue producing award-winning whiskey years later odds are you’re onto something special. And that’s exactly what Four Roses has going for it. This is why their Small Batch is a perfect campsite addition for the weekend. It’s smooth, affordable, and oh-so-balanced with a blend of mellow spices, rich fruit, sweet oak, and caramel to round things out.

ABV: 45%
Tasting Notes: Spices, fruit, sweet oak, caramel

Balcones Brimstone Whiskey

Balcones Brimstone

What better way to enjoy that personal campfire than with a little brimstone? Straight from the Texas distillery Balcones, their Brimstone whiskey is a smokey corn spirit that’s uniquely smoked rather than the grain itself – serving as a spearheading trend in the American whiskey movement. What results is a nose full of roasted barbecue notes, a peppery palate with herbal undertones and BBQ sauce, and a finish that alludes to a pepper-rubbed steak cooked over charcoal. Yes, you read that correctly.

ABV: 53%
Tasting Notes: Peppery, herbal, roasted barbecue, pepper-rubbed steak

Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke Bourbon

Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke Bourbon

A lasting legacy of Booker Noe’s small-batch labels from the early ’90s, Basil Hayden has become an 80-proof staple in barrooms and bar carts across the country over the past three decades. Last year, it sought to make an alternative to heavily-smoked bourbons. Rather than smoking the grain prior to distillation, Subtle Smoke pumps smoke from hickory chips into its secondary charred oak barrel for six months. Rather than lingering aggressively on top, the bourbon features its smokiness more immersively in its profile.

ABV: 40%
Tasting Notes: Hickory, vanilla, butterscotch, maple

Westland Peated American Whiskey

Westland Peated Whiskey

Interesting in both its production and flavor profile, Westland’s Peated American Whiskey is a unique variation of their house-style spirit made from a mash of peated malt. The whiskey is then combined with a variety of malt-focused spirits to help balance everything out accordingly but results in a wide spectrum of flavors and smoke you simply won’t find anywhere else on the market. We’re talking notes of nuttiness combined with smoldering moss, flamed orange peel, peat (of course), roasted pistachios, roasted plantains, earthy notes, green herbs, and iodine at the finish. Talk about a flavorful journey.

ABV: 46%
Tasting Notes: Nutty, earthy, orange peel, roasted pistachios, roasted plaintains, iodine

High West Campfire Whiskey

High West Campfire Whiskey

We’re all familiar with High West – the Park City, Utah distillery that truly embraces that age-old frontier lifestyle. Well, fortunately for us the renowned distillers at High West decided to embrace that campfire aesthetic as well with their aptly-named Campfire Whiskey. The difference? How about the world’s only blend of Scotch, bourbon, and rye whiskeys between 5-8 years old? The result is a well-balanced spirit with just the right amount of gentle smoke on the palate to complement those burning embers at your feet. One-of-a-kind that’s for sure.

ABV: 46%
Tasting Notes: Red berries, cacao, wild bush, smoke

Ardbeg Heavy Vapours Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Ardbeg Heavy Vapours Scotch Whisky

Just because you’re heading into the wilderness doesn’t mean you have to roll up with an affordable bottle of whisky. In fact, at under $200, Ardbeg’s Heavy Vapours is still much cheaper than most of the other gear you’ll be lugging with you. Known for its deep range of peated single malts, the Islay icon recently released its first-ever Scotch distilled without a purifier. The result is a nuanced profile of dark chocolate, eucalyptus, cardamom, peppermint, and, of course, a good dose of smoke. Save this one for the most special of occasions.

ABV: 46%
Tasting Notes: Smoke, dark chocolate, eucalyptus, cardamom, peppermint

The Complete Guide to Bourbon Styles

Photo: Buffalo Trace

Do you love bourbon as much as we do? To delve into America’s spirit some more, check out our ultimate guide to bourbon styles.