The Spirited Buzz

As the weather turns cooler we switch our refreshing whiskey sours for richly satisfying Manhattans or even straight-up spirits. And we see more brands of whiskey all the time, especially in the ever-growing lineup of rye. Here are some top picks.


Bulleit 95 Rye Frontier Whiskey

This American rye whiskey uses 95 percent rye mash, producing a buttery nut brittle aroma with notes of cherry and vanilla that leads to peppery, spicy flavor. $25.05; 90 proof


Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

Made with 90 percent rye whiskey from Canadian rye grain, this is a classic with its warm, nutty, orange zest aroma and smooth, silky mouth feel. $29.95; 90 proof


Templeton Rye Whiskey

When Prohibition hit, not every distillery closed up shop. Distillers in a small town in Iowa disregarded the new law and continued to produce Templeton Rye – illegally. It became a staple among the contraband liquors controlled by gangster Al Capone, and according to his niece, it was his personal favorite whiskey. Today, Templeton Rye is produced according to the Prohibition-era recipe. Its clove aroma leads to a smooth flavor with toasty, nutty notes and a touch of cinnamon and fig. $39.99; 80 proof


High West Whiskey Son of Bourye

High West Distillery in Park City, Utah, claims to be the first distillery in the state to open since 1870, and the only “ski-in gastro-distillery in the world.” This whiskey is a blend of straight bourbon and rye whiskeys aged a minimum of five years. With its caramel, toffee, dried fig, sweet smoke aroma it tastes just like it smells, with a generous punch of alcohol and a spicy orange-peel finish. $???; 92 proof


High West Whiskey Double Rye!

This blend of straight rye whiskeys is powerful but balanced, with pine, clove and lemon zest aromas and an herbal, citrus flavor. $???; 92 proof


Clyde May’s Whiskey

Clyde May was an Alabama moonshiner with a perfectionist’s palate. He experimented with his hooch until he came up with just the right flavor, and that involved dried apples and a touch of cinnamon in the barrels. The result became known as “Alabama style.” Today’s Clyde May’s Whiskey has that same unusual aroma of apple and hazelnut. The apple follows through in the rich, smooth flavor along with some sweet spice notes. Delicious. $35; 85 proof


Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey

Made in Oregon, this whiskey is distilled from the sweet wort of Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale and then “ocean aged in oak barrels for one month.” No details given, but presumably it’s similar to the process used for Jefferson’s Ocean, in which the whiskey is aged on a ship, where it sloshes happily and absorbs some of the ocean air and brine. This does indeed have a delicate touch of brine, along with some apple and smoke. Earthy and peaty, it’s almost scotch-like – and definitely perfect for any salty dog. $??? 85 proof


New Stuff and Other Stuff

Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12-Year Jamaica Rum

Forget about mixing this with anything and just put it in a nice snifter. Rich, nutty and spicy, it’s full of vanilla, plum, caramel and toasted pecan flavors. $36.99; 86 proof


Art in the Age Rhubarb (tea)

This highly original product from California is an organic neutral spirit flavored with rhubarb, lemon, beets, carrots, vanilla, cardamom, pink peppercorn, coriander, petitgrain and cane sugar. Based on an old Philadelphia recipe from the late 1700s, it has an interesting, unusual aroma with hints of flowers, peach, anise. It’s mildly sweet with a big fruity flavor of stone fruit and – yes – rhubarb. $29.99; 80 proof


The Bitter Truth EXR Bitter Liqueur

Produced in France, this is a flavorful – albeit more assertive – substitute for sweet vermouth in cocktails as well as a traditional after-dinner drink to be consumed neat. The pine needles nearly crunch in the glass, along with big notes of anise, sage and clove. It’s quite bitter, so be prepared for it to change the character of your cocktail if you use it as a mixer. $??? ; 60 proof


The Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters

This is only one of a wide range of all-natural flavorings for cocktails produced by The Bitter Truth. (Others include orange, chocolate, celery, grapefruit and peach.) Fresh tasting and suitably bitter, they make a high-quality addition to many drinks. The lemon is clean and sour, with a bright lemon-zest aroma. $??; 78 proof


Prices may vary.

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