cedar ridge american single malt whiskey bottles

Cedar Ridge, which was founded in 2005, has the distinction of being the first licensed distillery to open in Iowa since prohibition. Since 2010 it’s been putting out bourbon made from 100% Iowa corn, and has also expanded its range to offer a single malt whiskey made from two-row pale malted barley. 

Cedar Ridge American Single Malt pours an attractive light-to-medium gold in the glass and has a malty nose characterized by big stone fruit aromas. Apricot is chief among these, though it also encompasses plums, peaches, and pears. Said aromas sync with the earthy quality of its malt, granting the impression of a fruitful orchard, soil and all. 

It’s that stonefruit note that touches off the tasting experience, leading with sweet dark cherries in syrup alongside plums and pears. Earthy malt appears at the center, coupled to a dry note of chocolate that had me thinking of powdered cocoa mix. Towards the back, the malt flavor really takes over with a fresh-from-the-soil quality that feels akin to chewing on the raw ingredient itself (for those who haven’t had the experience, raw malted barley is a surprisingly tasty snack). 

The finish sees this agricultural malted barley note joined by oak and light, sweet peat, adding more complexity to a conclusion that also sees stone fruits and chocolate return for another go. 

Cedar Ridge provides another excellent case for recognizing American Single Malt as its own category. Because yes, it’s a single malt, but it delivers a singular experience unlike anything you’d encounter from a single malt made in Scotland, or anywhere else, for that matter. 


–46% ABV

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