The history of Peanut Butter Whiskeys started in 2018. Steven and Brittany Yeng decided to create this exceptional flavor combination. The idea was to bring the famous Peanut Butter and Whiskey shot Steven served at this bar into a spirit. The result is a sweet and intensely flavored liquor based on Whiskey.
But opinions were, and still are, divided. Discerned Whiskey drinkers mostly detested the new spirit due to its sweetness and lack of Whiskey notes. But others, mainly non-Whiskey drinkers, loved the sweet and easy-to-drink liquor. But let us put opinions aside and focus on facts. Skrewball was an immediate success. And not only did the brand sell many cases of their peanut butter-flavored Whiskey, they unintentionally created a whole new niche in the liquor market.
In the past few years, various Peanut Butter Whiskeys have been released by other brands. And here is a list of the options currently available.
Best Peanut Butter Whiskey brands
It all started with Skrewball. But by now, there are so many Peanut Butter Whiskeys on the market. I start this list with the original and then cover the other brands, making this the ultimate list of Peanut Butter Whiskey brands.
Produced by: Skrewball
The idea for making Skrewball came from Steven Yeng. As a true peanut butter lover, he created a mixed shot he sold at his bar name "Peanut Butter Whiskey". It quickly became a crowd favorite - by far. Encouraged by this success, he developed a peanut butter flavored Whiskey with the help of his wife, Brittany.
Legally, Skrewball isn't a Whiskey as it is too weak. The liquor only contains 35% ABV and would need at least 40% to be officially classified as Whiskey. It has the sweet taste of peanut butter, toffee, and caramel. And due to this sweetness, it feels like drinking a liqueur rather than a real Whiskey.
SQRRL Peanut Butter Whiskey
Produced by: Beam Suntory
SQRRL sounds like a fancy brand created by newcomers to conquer the Peanut butter Whiskey market. But there is a lot of tradition behind the company behind this hip and trendy liqueur: SQRRL Peanut Butter Whiskey is produced by Beam Suntory. And if that doesn't ring a bell, Suntory is very famous for its excellent Japanese Whisky. And the Beam part is coming from Jim Beam, the prominent American Whiskey.
So they know what they are doing, at least on the Whiskey part. And indeed, SQRRL certainly is one of the better options. The amber-colored spirit produced in Illinois is less sweet than most alternatives and has a more complex taste. And the taste of peanut butter gets complemented by notes of roasted nuts and chocolate.
That SQRRL is taking a step back from the overpowering sweetness and peanut butter flavor may sound counter-intuitive. But actually, it is a clever move.
Produced by: Universal Brands
Skatterbrain is distilled and distributed from Minnesota by Universal Brands. Looking at the branding and the product, it seems rather obvious that they tried to mimic the branding and positioning of Skrewball. The design, name, and also product are eerily similar. But I am not here to judge their marketing. I want to talk about their product.
Skatterbrain is also a low ABV whiskey-based liqueur, just like Skrewball. It was released in 2020 and is priced slightly lower than its main competitor. The taste is even sweeter, almost artificially sweet. Also, there isn't much of a Whiskey note in it, but you get a harsh alcoholic bite in this sweet liqueur. To me, this is not as good as the original, so only buy it if you can't get your hand on the better options.
Produced by: Sazerac
Sheep Dog is another Peanut Butter Whiskey brand that was released in 2020. The Whiskey is owned and sold by the Sazerac company that produces the Sazerac de Forge Cognac and Sazerac Rye Whiskey. However, It appears like Sheep Dog is only there to secure a share in the growing Peanut Butter Whiskey market.
The product homepage is a simple one-page site with only the most basic info on the spirit. Also, the bottle and label design look like they could profit from slightly more attention to detail. The liqueur itself is sweet like most other Peanut Butter Whiskeys. However, the taste is a bit different.
Sheep Dog Peanut Butter Whiskey has a more evident Whiskey note. But unfortunately, this positive aspect is overshadowed by another. It has quite a sour, acidic bite to it. I can't put my finger on it, but something makes this liqueur taste somewhat unpleasant.
Ole Smoky Peanut Butter Whiskey
Produced by: Ole Smoky
Ole Smoky is more famous for their Moonshine, but lately, they started offering a large selection of flavored Whiskeys. Besides the Peanut Butter Whiskey, they also have Mango Habanero Whiskey, Salty Caramel Whiskey, Root Beer Whiskey, and many more creative takes on flavoring Whiskey.
The base for these liqueurs is a two years barrel-aged corn Whiskey. Opening the bottle, you can immediately smell notes of peanut butter. And there are also hints of popcorn, honey, and cookies.
The spirit is super smooth with intense notes of peanut and vanilla. You can also taste some oaky notes from the barrel and even hints of licorice. And even though the liqueur contains less alcohol than most other Peanut Butter Whiskeys, it tastes a bit more refined.
Hard Truth Peanut Butter Whiskey
Produced by: Hard Truth Distilling
The dark golden-colored Hard Truth Peanut Butt Whiskey is based on straight Bourbon. And this classy base is also reflected in the flavor of the liqueur. Aromas of oak, vanilla, and caramel define the nose of Hard Truth PB Whiskey.
The taste is rich with strong notes of roasted peanuts and honey. Then, the omnipresent vanilla and oak are perceivable together with a distinctive salty note. This change in flavor from sweet to salty enhances the peanut butter character.
Hard Truth's version of a Peanut Butter Whiskey comes across as more mature. Less sweetness, more complex flavors, and oaky notes from barrel-aging make this liqueur more approachable for seasoned Whiskey drinkers. Usually, it is hard to find. However, if you do, I recommend buying it.
Barrel & Banter Peanut Butter Whiskey
Produced by: Barrel & Banter
This take on a Peanut Butter Whiskey is particularly polarizing. Lovers of sweet representatives find Barrel & Banter Peanut Butter Whiskey too strong and alcoholic. And also, sweetness and the Peanut Butter flavor are far less pronounced.
The result is a better-balanced Whiskey that may, however, not be agreeable with the folks loving leading brands of peanut-butter-flavored Whiskey.
This liqueur is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks. That way, you can taste the different flavors and enjoy the smoothness of this sip. You may even notice a unique flavor coming from the grains used to make the base spirit. Barrel & Banter pride themselves on only using local grains - for this expression, but also for their other products.
Blind Squirrel Peanut Butter Whiskey
Produced by: Universal Brands
Blind Squirrel is from the same company that produces Skatterbrain. It is slightly cheaper than Skatterbrain but similarly sweet. The aroma of this liqueur is heavy on Whiskey and roasted peanuts. And when you let it sit in the glass and swirl it around for some time, you can also smell vanilla and hints of cinnamon.
What you also see is that the consistency is very thick and syrupy. The taste is also quite sweet with notes of vanilla, cinnamon, syrup, and salted peanuts. Altogether this flavor profile tastes like deconstructed peanut butter with too much sugar. It even has a slightly artificial taste of saccharin to it.
Overall, it's an affordable alternative for a sweet version of Peanut Butter Whiskey. So if you like Skrewball and are looking for a budget-friendly alternative, give this one a go.
Two Trees Peanut Butter Whiskey
Produced by: Two Trees distillery
Just like Ole Smoky, Two Trees produces many different flavored Whiskey. They have nine different flavors in total, with Peanut Butter Whiskey being one of them. The other versions include a Salted Caramel Whiskey, Carolina Peach, Michigan Cherry, Crisp Apple.
The process they use to create their Whiskey is quite innovative. Instead of aging it in wooden barrels, they mimic the process artificially. What usually would take years, they try to achieve in just one day. Furthermore, Two Trees does not distill their Whiskey themselves. They only toast and char wood which they then use for treating the spirit.
The resulting product is more on the dry side. Rather a Whiskey with notes of peanut butter than a Peanut Butter Whiskey liqueur. You can taste classic Whiskey notes, vanilla, and oak. But you also get sweet notes of peanut butter, brown sugar, and caramel. And yes, you can taste that the spirit does not mature for a long time. Yet, the sugar combined with the flavoring masks it well.
Coastal Creek Peanut Butter Whiskey
Produced by: Total Wine & More
Like Ole Smoky, this is another low-ABV Peanut Butter Whiskey. Coastal Creek is a private label product exclusively sold by "Total Wine & More". The base is a slightly aged Bourbon, and the spirit ages for six months before being blended with a natural peanut extract.
The first impression of Coastal Creek Peanut Butter Whiskey is dominated by a strong peanut butter fragrance. And the taste is also quite peanut forward but complemented with vanilla, molasses, and caramel. The finish is also strong on peanut flavors with a subtle hint of Bourbon Whiskey.
Copper Still Chocolate Peanut Butter Whiskey
Produced by: Copper Mountain Beverages
Although this is not a full-on peanut butter flavored spirit, I decided to include it in the list. The base spirit is an Indiana-produced Bourbon of 45% ABV blended with dark chocolate and natural peanut butter flavoring.
The aroma is full of roasted peanuts, caramel, and chocolate. By letting it sit in the glass for a while and swirling occasionally, you can also detect a spicy cinnamon note as well as toasted oak. The taste is rich and sweet with vanilla, caramel, peanut butter, and chocolate notes. However, the liquor has a harsh burn to it from the Whiskey. That also leads to a sour taste in the peanuts and some hot cinnamon burn.
Shepherd’s P’Nutty Peanut Butter Whiskey
Produced by: K.D. Distilling Co
After all the hype about Peanut Butter Whiskey, many large and famous companies started producing their own ones. And while K.D. Distilling might not ring a bell to you, I believe Buffalo Trace might. Buffalo Trace owns the oldest continuously producing distillery in the United States and was operating since 1775. In 1992, though, the distillery was sold to the Sazerac company.
And if you now think that you read Sazerac before in this article, you are right. They produce two other Peanut Butter Whiskeys. The first one is Sheep Dog, and the other is Rams Point. I can only guess why they put out three products in a niche market. But to me, it feels that their first shot, Sheep Dog, was just a product to participate in the market immediately. That also would explain the lack of attention to detail I mentioned before.
Shepherd’s P’Nutty is my personal favorite of the three. Unlike many other Peanut Butter Whiskeys, the peanut flavor isn't omnipresent. Instead, it carries well-balanced flavors of vanilla, caramel, and peanuts. It's still a sweet spirit with a thick consistency, but it is pleasant. Therefore, among the sweeter representatives, Shepherd's P'Nutty is one of the top choices.
Bird Dog Peanut Butter Whiskey
Produced by: Bird Dog
Bird Dog is known for its different flavored Whiskeys. So, it did not come as a surprise when they finally launched their Peanut Butter Whiskey back in 2020. In total, Bird Dog sells thirteen differently flavored spirits. But as this list is about PB, I only talk about that one here.
The base of this liquor is a Bourbon made from corn, barley, and rye. After aging in white oak barrels, the spirit is infused with flavoring (including genuine peanuts) to achieve the iconic peanut butter taste.
Bird Dog's version is a rarity as it comes at 40% ABV. Almost all other Peanut Butter Whiskeys out there are either 30% or 35% ABV. No wonder this one also has a slightly stronger Whiskey burn than most others. But not in an unpleasant way. And, don't worry, it still has the sweet and sugary taste of peanut butter in it.
PB&W Peanut Butter Whiskey
Produced by: Old Elk Distilling
PB&W is one of the early contenders of the original Skrewball brand. And for a change, it's one of the few brands that do not use animal-related branding. The Old Elk distillery, located in Fort Springs, Colorado, also produces blended straight Bourbon Whiskey and Dry Town Gin. -But if they used their own product as a base for PB&W is unknown. In general, they provide little information on the base spirit. All I can find is that the base is a blended premium Whiskey.
The peanut flavoring of PB&W Peanut Butter Whiskey is complex, consisting of three different peanut flavors. When poured, the aroma reminds of roasted peanuts, vanilla, and caramel with some sweet Whiskey notes shining through. The consistency is thick and syrupy, like with most Peanut Butter Whiskeys. PB&W is sweet with typical caramel and vanilla notes, accompanied by an intense salted peanut butter flavor and a hint of apple.
Rams Point Peanut Butter Whiskey
Produced by: Sazerac
Rams Point is the third product distributed by the Sazerac company. And next to never finding Rams Point and Sheep Dog in the same store indicates that those two should serve a similar market. And indeed, both liqueurs are in the very same price category at $15.
The aroma is a bit more complex and balanced when compared to Sheep Dog. You can taste notes of vanilla, butterscotch, peanuts, caramel, and even coconut, and even find more delicate flavors like honey and orange or orange marmalade in it.
Overall, it's a good and affordable alternative but not the best one from Sazerac. So, if you can, go for Shepherd's P'Nutty instead.
Peanut Butter Whiskey is not a traditional Whiskey. It's more like a sweetened and flavored liqueur with more or less of a Whiskey base. But even though the market for Peanut Butter Whiskey is young and growing, there's already heavy competition. Led by the success of the original inventor, Skrewball, this niche has potential.
If you prefer the sweeter versions, try the Shepherd's P'Nutty or SQRRL brand and compare it with Skrewball. If you think you are more into a Whiskey forward interpretation, start with Hard Truth's Peanut Butter Whiskey or the one from Two Trees distillery.