Wait a minute… Crown Royal took top honors somewhere? With who? A Crown employee tasting? What? In Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible (http://whiskybible.com)? That’s a joke or sponsored result, right? Back when I was behind the bar, Crown was seen as an ever so slight step up from the rail and -nobody- drank it without also saying “and coke.” Now its thought of as best of breed? 96 points? What world is this?

I’m a sucker for good design.  This bottle caught my eye immediately when I saw it on the shelf at Binny’s while looking for a gift for a friend’s birthday.  The distillery is located a few blocks from where I used to live in St. Paul, MN which clinched the purchase. I bought the bourbon and we enjoyed it, reminiscent in many ways of FEW’s bourbon.  The next time I was shopping for myself, I decided to try the Rye and, this time, actually write it up for the good folks of WhiskeyRatings.

When I travel, I like to try brands I don’t often see at home, so I was more than happy to listen to Brian at Enoteca (http://www.winedisciplesenoteca.com) who suggested I try the Roundstone Rye from Catoctin Creek out of Virginia. While I am glad I tried it, I can’t say I agree with other reviewers about the quality. Those reviewers must like really peaty Scotches and dirty river water. To each his own, but I didn’t care for it neat and I liked it less in a Manhattan. To say I didn’t like it doesn’t capture the visceral reaction I had when I tasted it and I’m sure I must have looked like one of those toddlers trying lemons for the first time. Obviously, it wasn’t my ideal flavor profile.

Oh. My. Goodness. High West’s Double Rye is good. It has to be the best rye I’ve had neat.

Get a bottle and pour yourself a bit of this medium dark amber joy. The nose is a bit strong in alcohol at first but it calms quickly. Leaving a dark and woody flavor which is appropriately rich in rye grains.