Review: American Metal Is a Whiskey Born From Car Culture

How a sought-after car and motorcycle shop crafted a unique bottle

January 11, 2024 6:45 am
A man holding an American Metal Whiskey bottle near a motorcycle
Custom car and bike culture meet whiskey with American Metal.
American Metal Whiskey

What we’re drinking: Two releases from the just-launched American Metal Whiskey

Where it’s from: Aimed at motorcycle and hot-rod enthusiasts (and, natch, whiskey drinkers), American Metal Whiskey serves as an extension of American Metal Customs in Danbury, CT, a popular custom car and motorcycle shop led by former Orange County Choppers TV star Josh Allison.

Why we’re drinking these: While we’re not usually into celebrity spirits or brand extensions, we met the American Metal team during the week of WhiskyFest and dug what we tried (so did others; the first release already earned 92 points and a Chairman’s Award Finalist designation at the 2023 Ultimate Spirits Challenge). So we wanted to get a bit more background on how a custom car/motorcycle shop branches into whiskey. 

“It’s all based off of the shop,” Allison tells InsideHook. “The shop is an all-inclusive one-stop shop covering the automotive and bike industry. We build high-end cars and motorcycles. We take the craft very seriously. And so we wanted to create this to embody the spirit of the shop and the industry and the culture.”

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Helping out with the process is industry vet Randy Carlson, now the CEO of American Metal Whiskey and Vermont Spirits, who formerly held an innovation role with Diageo. “To make this, we took 30 samples from 30 different distilleries,” Carlson says. “Then to eight, then to four, and then had those four send second batches to check on consistency.”  

Their flagship release, American Metal, ended up being a whiskey distilled in Tennessee that was then aged for some additional time in Vermont for a total of five years (it was also proofed down with water from Vermont and underwent a two-step filtration process). 

Overall, the guys behind the shop said they saw a lot of symmetry between their craft and the world of whiskey. “It’s so similar to what Josh does and what he builds,” says Chris Bishop, American Metal founder and chairman. “There’s the aspect of craftsmanship and artistry. And it’s important, in both fields, to have an authentic story.”

Let’s try it out.

American Metal Whiskey releases
The first two releases from American Metal Whiskey.
American Metal Whiskey

How they taste:

  • American Metal Whiskey: A 90-proof whiskey aged five years. You’ll get a lot of butterscotch on the nose. On the palate, there’s a bit of nuttiness along with notes of toasted oak, honey, cherry, crème brûlée and orange peel. A solid pick for fans of both Tennessee whiskey and bourbon, with a nicely rounded profile and mouthfeel.
  • 10 Year Single Barrel: A special limited-edition run of a 96-proof, 10-year single-barrel whiskey in hand-numbered bottles that also underwent a bit of additional aging in Vermont, this single barrel is a standout. It’s bright and full of caramel, dark fruit and oak spice. If the single-barrel picks are this good, keep an eye out for future releases. 

Fun fact: The American Metal team taste-tested their whiskey with people closer to their field of expertise. “We literally poured thousands of samples at bike shows,” says Allison. “You might get 30,000 or 40,000 people at one of those. It was a cool, organic way to introduce it into the culture and get feedback.”

Where to buy: You can buy American Metal Whiskey for $50 and the 10 Year Single Barrel release for $214 at the company’s website


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