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93 points

Barrell 4 year old Cask-Strength Blend of Straight Ryes (Batch 003), 58.35%

There’s much to discover in the depths of this glass, which continues to develop over time. Dark fruit, tobacco, orange pekoe tea, white pepper, leather, dry-roasted peanuts, and varnish unfold on the nose, while the palate is fruity with blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, and orange; it also has dry oak, nuts, tobacco, and a lot of black pepper spice. The finish is leathery and peppery, with cigar and persistent dark berry flavors. A dense, decadent whiskey that makes it all seem effortless. (12,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

93 points

Elijah Craig Kentucky Straight Rye, 47%

A welcome addition to the Elijah Craig family, this rye has rock-solid heft and flavor that doesn’t quit. The nose swells with cooked blackberries and raspberries, fruit leather, iced tea, cola, and stately oak. It’s chewy and viscous on the palate, with more berries and grapes (often jammy), well-integrated oak, dark chocolate, and lush spice. The finish rides a long way on peppery dark fruit, wet walnuts, dark chocolate, and rich oak. Editors' Choice

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

91 points

Hudson Manhattan Straight Rye (Batch 5), 46%

A well-choreographed interplay of rich dark fruit—plums, Luxardo cherries, Concord grapes—and deep spices on the nose, along with hints of wood char and licorice; it turns tropical and nutty when water is added. The palate is richly spiced—cedar, ginger, cloves, allspice—and silky with extra-dark chocolate, grilled plums, espresso beans, and hints of aged cigar. It ends rich and toasty, with lush oak, hookah tobacco, and coffee bean.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

91 points

Sagamore Spirit Calvados Cask-Finished Rye, 50.6%

Mature but lively character; it has dark fruit, black tea, mint oil, fennel seed, and licorice on the nose. The palate is brawny and robust—it practically eats water—and swells with mint, licorice, root beer, black pepper, baking spice, espresso, and grape Robitussin. The lengthy finish is peppery and rich, with oak, herbs, baking spice, tea leaves, and dark chocolate.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

91 points

Wood’s 2 year old Alpine Rye (Batch 16), 49%

From Colorado-based Wood’s High Mountain Distillery. A nose of apple, brown sugar, and blackcurrant, set against jalapeño spice and smoke. The palate offers flavors of cinnamon and burnt espresso beans, with an alluring smoky bitterness and notes of jalapeño, smoked chiles, and black pepper. On the finish, dried dark fruits and bitter chocolate emerge, with a blast of pepper at the end. Rich, brawny, and assertive, but also supple and well integrated.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

89 points

Belfour Spirits Limited Edition Straight Rye, 50%

A nose of lemon drops, tea leaves, light barrel char, and herb-garden notes. The palate is honeyed, with lemon, licorice, herbs, and earthiness, balancing against vanilla cream and spice, all integrating well with the barrel. A lengthy finish is well-textured and spiced, highlighted by notes of tobacco, herbs, and chocolate. Creamy, spicy, and a bit unusual, this whiskey offers spiced complexity and impressive flavor balance on the palate.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

89 points

Blinking Owl Single Barrel Straight Rye (Batch 2), 45%

Is there such a thing as “beach rye?” Wafting breezes carry coconut, almond orgeat, and tropical fruit aromas, along with dried orange rind, chamomile tea, clove, mint, and earthy pecans. The easy-drinking palate has less fruit and more herbs, with licorice, spearmint, and allspice, underpinned by nuts and dry oak. Rounded out with orange blossom water, chai, dark berries, and more spearmint, allspice, and oak on the finish. This should come with a hammock.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

89 points

Saint Lawrence Spirits Rye Knot, 45%

The nose is layered with mature baking spices, cacao nibs, tobacco barn, Cherry Coke syrup, praline, pistachio, and dusty oak. Spiced and herbal on the palate, with bracing oak, coffee with almond cream, roasted nuts, dark chocolate, cinnamon, licorice, and peppermint, all pillowed by a creamy texture. It finishes with minty dark chocolate, espresso, leather, and integrated oak. No need for an after-dinner coffee; this’ll do. (2,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

88 points

Tincup Straight Rye, 45%

Dark berries, cola, iced tea, dark chocolate, toasted oak, white pepper, and lime on the nose, permeated by an earthy character. Strong oak on the palate is kept in check by spice—ginger, cinnamon, pepper—and dark fruit, with notes of black tea and roasted peanuts as well. The finish is nutty and quite spiced, with lingering blackberries and a touch of bitter oak.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

87 points

Old Overholt Straight Rye, 43%

Sweet cherries, bubble gum, and fresh blueberry on the nose, along with nougat, honey-roasted peanuts, and milk chocolate. The palate has flavors of clove-studded orange, spice, and the chewed end of a pencil. It’s light-bodied and verges on thin when water is added, so be judicious. The finish is gentle, with peppery oak, cinnamon, and espresso bean. This is a new higher proof and the whiskey is now non-chill filtered, so don’t be surprised by a little haze if you add water or ice.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

87 points

Rod & Hammer’s SLO Stills Straight Rye, 45%

Lovely, perfumy, fragrant nose: orange and peach blossoms, tea rose, lilacs, apricot jam, and blueberry muffins. It remains floral and sweet on the palate, but with a solid oak backbone surrounded by red berries, orange sherbet, ginger, baking spice, and a fizzy zing that finishes sweet and light, sprinkled with pepper and drizzled with Hershey’s chocolate syrup. (1,000 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

86 points

Pinhook Rye’d On Kentucky Straight (2020 Release), 48.5%

The first whiskey fully distilled at Castle & Key—site of the old Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Distillery—since its revival in 2018. A fragrant, floral nose offers candied orange, lemon, toasted almonds, and banana cream pie. The palate is soft, with notes of creamy vanilla, baking spice, and pepper. A smooth texture characterizes the finish, with notes of banana and almond still emerging. Youthful in profile, but a promising start.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

86 points

Porter’s Small Batch Straight Rye, 45%

A tropical note of lime on the nose, as well as licorice and ginger root, offers youthful but balanced oak. The mouthfeel is creamy, with grapefruit and orange peel on the front palate melding into vanilla cream and underlying flavors of spice and pepper. The finish brings more citrus and creamy vanilla, along with cinnamon and drying oak. It seems young, but the profile is fresh and offers interesting flavors.

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

86 points

Three Chord Amplify Rye (Batch 0015), 47.5%

Piney and grassy on the nose, with fruity aromas of grape Kool-Aid, bubble gum, and grapefruit, as well as new wood. The palate picks up the herbal and pine notes, adding licorice and spearmint, as well as honey, orange, blueberry, grape, and grapefruit oil, with Popsicle stick throughout. Lingering mint, banana bread, citrus oil, and green wood on the finish. (8,400 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)

86 points

Wheel Horse Straight Rye, 50.5%

The nose has gooey butterscotch, pralines, toasted oak, vanilla custard, and blueberry muffin, with pops of green apple and Asian pear. On the full-bodied palate, stewed fruit and oak vie for pride of place, with baking spice, butterscotch, and lemon and orange peel urging restraint. The finish is hot and centers on toasted oak, stewed apples, and nuts; cloying at times. (16,500 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Summer 2020)


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