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Best of the Year

The saying “everything old is new again” couldn’t hold more true when it comes to Leopold Bros. Three Chamber Rye Whiskey. In order to create Three Chamber Rye, Leopold Bros. re-engineered a Three Chamber Still from old manuscripts that they found, and grew the heritage grain Abruzzi rye that was favored by pre-Prohibition distilleries. This allowed the distillery to literally bring back to life a style of whiskey that hadn’t been seen in decades. The end result is a captivating bottled in bond rye that pushes the boundaries of what you think of when a balanced rye comes to mind. Leopold Bros. Three Chamber Rye Whiskey delivers a unique captivating blend of spicy and creamy flavors resulting in a unique sip that tastes like nothing else on the market.

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Willett has made a name for itself over the years for its bourbon and ryes, so it’s no surprise that our interest piqued when Sweet Amber Ventures teamed up with them for a special Blackened Whiskey release. Blackened’s master distiller and blender Rob Dietrich worked with Willett’s master distiller Drew Kulsveen to select a range of Willett’s high rye and low rye rye whiskey barrels. This bespoke blend was then finished in Madeira casks for 14 weeks while undergoing the company’s trademarked Black Noise sonic enhancement finishing process. Blackened x Willett Straight Rye Finished in Madeira Casks delivers a crowd pleasing sip resulting in one of 2021’s most unique finished ryes. The creation process might have been unconventional, but there's no denying that the end result speaks for itself.

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There is an increasing number of new ryes on the market, but few that immediately make an impact and later leave you with a lasting impression. Of that elite group, few are reasonably available at an affordable price. Enter Stellum Spirits, a new brand from the creators of Barrell Craft Spirits. A careful and deliberate blend of ryes from Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky coming in at just over 116 proof, Stellum Rye finds a place between bold and complex that is uniquely its own. The end result will satisfy both whiskey enthusiasts and mainstream consumers alike, working well neat, on the rocks, and in cocktails. An easy feat this is not, especially when you factor in price and availability. Put simply, Stellum Rye is a whiskey that will appeal to just about everyone who encounters it, and should become a mainstay on home bars across the country.

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Kings County Distillery’s bourbon deserves every bit of praise it receives, but the company’s Empire Rye has been quietly making inroads on its whiskey brethren. Combining the company’s Scottish copper pot still and Colin Spoelman’s distilling prowess, has resulted in a rye that stands out from the rye pack. There are very few 2-3 year old ryes on the market that feature the amount of texture and complexity that Kings County’s Empire Rye offers. With each batch offering just enough diversity and contrast from the one before it, you’re rewarded for exploring each. As the company continues to age and fine-tune their Empire Rye, it will be hard for the competition to keep up.

Written By: BB Team

December 15, 2021
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