As summer fades and autumn finally begins to cool things off, many bourbon and rye enthusiasts start the countdown to the fall releases.
The Pappy Van Winkles, William Larue Weller, Eagle Rare 17, Thomas H. Handy Sazerac and the rest, all represent the chance to pay top dollar for libations that can be had at a fraction of the price. While it’s nice to snag one of these rare bottles, you can get just as much pleasure with these familiar labels.
For bourbons, our favorites have different textures and flavors determined by long-standing house recipes, but all have one constant — 51 percent corn in the blend — which, combined with “barrel char,” time in the barrel imparts the sweet flavors and savory aromas.
Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
Subtle smoke, warm spice flavor and nice length on finish.
Angel’s Envy Bourbon
Finished in port wine barrels for 6 months. Hints of vanilla and spicy chocolate.
Woodford Double cask Bourbon
Finished in a second oak barrel with heavy char imparting sweet oak, dark caramel and hazelnut.
For rye, same long standing house recipes and barrel char, except 51 percent rye in the blend.
Aged 6 years. Peppermint spice, honey, and cinnamon.
High West Double Rye
A blend of two rye whiskeys from two different distilleries, each aged a minimum of two years.
Woody caramel spice, eucalyptus, and cinnamon.
Whistle Pig 10-year Rye
Big powerful spice bomb with caramel, cinnamon and a long satisfying finish.
Jamie McNeely is president and general manager at Our Market and Vineyard Wine Shop in Oak Bluffs and Your Market in Edgartown.