From Scotland to Japan: How Masataka Taketsuru Crafted Japanese Whisky’s Future

Picture of Dylan Hager

Dylan Hager

Dylan (he/him) is a manager and part of our spirits staff. He finds Kentucky Bourbon and Rye Whiskey particularly riveting, and also keeps a decent amount of beer and too much vermouth in his fridge. He once tore his MCL doing the limbo, and has been to Bonnaroo 29 times.

Japanese whisky traces its origins to the early 20th century, with Masataka Taketsuru playing a pivotal role in its development. Often referred to as the “father of Japanese whisky,” Taketsuru studied organic chemistry at the University of Glasgow and apprenticed at several Scottish distilleries. In 1920, he returned to Japan, armed with extensive knowledge and experience, and was instrumental in establishing the country’s first whisky distillery. 

Then in 1923, Shinjiro Torii, the founder of Suntory, established the Yamazaki distillery near Kyoto, and hired Taketsuru as his first distillery manager. This event marked the official birth of Japanese whisky. Inspired by the techniques and styles of Scotch whisky, Yamazaki aimed to create a product tailored to Japanese tastes. 

Taketsuru left Suntory in 1934 to establish his own company, which would become Nikka Whisky. He founded the Yoichi distillery in Hokkaido, a location chosen for its climate and environmental similarities to Scotland. Nikka’s first whisky, released in 1940, helped cement Japanese whisky’s reputation for quality and craftsmanship. 

Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky - $69.99

Today, Suntory and Nikka remain the two powerhouses of Japanese whisky. Both produce a wide variety of whiskies that are popular not only in Japan but also in the US. Nikka's use of the Coffey still, a continuous column still originally invented by Aeneas Coffey in the 19th century, stands as a hallmark of their whiskey-making artistry. This technique infuses their expressions with a unique character and unparalleled smoothness, showcasing a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation. Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky is a great example of what the Coffey still can bring to the table. Distilled mainly from corn, it’s exotic, fruity and rich. A great Japanese Whisky for a bourbon drinker and a great Father’s Day gift.

Suntory Toki Whisky - $34.99

Japanese whisky highballs have become a beloved classic, offering a refreshing and effervescent way to enjoy the nuanced flavors of Japanese whisky. Typically made with a base of whiskey, soda water, and ice, these highballs are served tall and garnished with a twist of citrus or a sprig of mint. I recommend trying a highball using Suntory Toki Whisky. It’s a fairly light bodied, but well-rounded blend of whiskies from the Yamazaki, Hakushu and Chita distilleries.

It Doesn’t Add(itive) Up

field of agave plants
Picture of Jake Rollin

Jake Rollin

Jake (he/him) can be found primarily working in the Beer and Spirits departments, though he occasionally dabbles in Wine. He loves helping customers brainstorm ideas for new and interesting cocktails (ask him about his Caprese Sour cocktail), and talking all things whiskey. His fridge is stocked with a healthy combination of local hazy IPAs, Belgian beers, and Riesling, and he has an ever-growing whiskey collection.

100% Agave: a term we often see on tequila bottles boasting a product made using only Blue Weber Agave. Here’s the issue: 100% agave tequila can still contain additives. In fact, tequila can contain up to 1% by weight in various additives and still boast 100% agave on the label. 

These additives come in the form of sweeteners, flavorings, and colorings, all to create a product that is more easily marketable to consumers, and ultimately, more profitable.

Additives don’t necessarily make a product good or bad, but do raise the question of “why?” In this blog we’ll dive briefly into what additives are, why they’re used, and what additive free options are available. 

Green & red drawing of an agave plantAdditives have been used in tequila since the mid 1800’s when agave plants suffered a blight that was producing faulted tequila.

Today, only four types of additives can be used, though the concentration of these additives is unregulated. The four types include caramel coloring, oak extract, glycerin, and flavored sugar syrups that are made with both agave nectar and artificial sweeteners like aspartame.

As tequila sits and ages in a barrel, it extracts color (and flavor) from the wood. Caramel coloring is used to make aged tequila appear older than it is. Caramel color allows producers to make their 3-month aged tequila look more like a 12-month aged tequila.

Oak extract can also contribute to color, but mostly helps tobourbon barrel contribute flavors that are generally added to the tequila through the barreling process. If you’re drinking a blanco tequila, which can only be left in oak for a maximum of 60 days, and you get strong vanilla notes, that’s usually a good sign that oak extract is present.

Glycerin is a chemical with a syrup-like consistency and mild sweet taste. It’s used in tequila as a way to add body to the final product. Glycerin can also dull tastebuds by temporarily coating them, thereby hiding harsher flavors, and creating a smoother drinking experience.

Finally, flavored sugar syrups known as “jarabes” can be used to sweeten the final product, as well as add fruit and herb flavors.

I want to stress this again, the use of these additives does not inherently make one product better or worse than any other, it’s just something to note when choosing between products. 

So, what are some additive free options?

Tequila on shelf

Tequila producers can apply to be certified as an additive free product. This means that those tequilas are 100% Blue Weber Agave, and that’s it. We at France 44 have tried to make it as easy as possible for you to find additive free tequila by putting all of the certified brands next to each other. 

Staff favorite brands include Siete Leguas, Mijenta, Arette, G4, and Cimarron. These producers let the agave, terroir, and their own distilling practices speak for themselves. So, next time you’re looking to grab a bottle of tequila, consider grabbing one that’s certified additive free, and see what 100% agave tequila is truly all about. 

The Best Summer Spritz – A Mother’s Day Reflection by Melissa & Tom

Line of aperol spritzes
Picture of Melissa Waskiewicz

Melissa Waskiewicz

Melissa (she/her) is our Systems Manager, Curbside Program Manager, and our resident Cider Pro. She is a Certified Cider Professional, and is particularly interested in ciders that are made with a lot of crab apples. In her spare time, Melissa is an avid reader who is always looking for good book recommendations.

Picture of Tom Schneider

Tom Schneider

Tom (he/him) is on France 44's Spirits Team. He loves doing side-by-side comparisons of different wild agave mezcals. If he wasn’t working at France 44, he’d probably be a bouncer like Swayze in Roadhouse. He and his wife have a three-legged Pitty mix named Pickles. He’s also extremely colorblind.

Make Mom a Spritz this Mother’s Day!

“Mother’s Day is upon us and I’m sure you are looking for ways to celebrate the women in your life. As a Mom, I can assure you that we do not want cleaning supplies! A bottle of wine or bouquet of flowers are fine. Most of us, however, want to have a little fun and drink some cocktails! For a lively celebration and a cocktail that goes GREAT with a home-made Sunday brunch, consider a bubbly spritz! Spritzes come in every shape and size and can be classic, low-alcohol, and no-alcohol. Mothers make the world go ‘round and they should be celebrated accordingly. Below is your guide to spritzes to make sure you give that special person in your life the toast they deserve!” – Melissa 

The Spritz is a quintessential celebratory cocktail. There is no one way to make this classic cocktail, but we do have some simple guidelines and ratios that will allow you to spruce up your Mother’s Day spritzes to help celebrate that special person in your life this weekend! 

The Mimosa

1 Part Orange Juice 

3 Parts Dry Sparkling Wine or Dry Sparkling Cider for a lower ABV option 

The Mimosa is the most classic brunch cocktail. Traditionally made from orange juice and sparkling wine, it’s refreshing and light, perfect for a bottomless brunch. We love to switch up the sparkling wine for sparkling cider, and play around with the fruit juices. Switch to peach juice and you’ve got yourself a classic Bellini, or go with Melissa’s favorite: Chinola Mango Liqueur & Seattle Dry Cider!  

The Aperol Spritz

1 Part Seltzer 

2 Parts Aperol 

3 Parts Sparkling Wine  

The Aperol Spritz is perhaps among the most popular cocktails at the moment. It’s a refreshing balance of bitter and sweet and will transport you straight to a busy Italian piazza. The traditional recipe calls for a 1:2:3 ratio of seltzer : Aperol : Sparkling wine. The While Aperol is a fantastic product, we also like to substitute other aperitivos such as Cappelletti (similar flavor, but wine based), Cap Corse Blanc (a more citrusforward alternative), or a lighter amaro such as Cardamaro to provide a more digestive punch. 

Lastly, if you are looking for an alternative to alcohol, you can substitute club soda or tonic water for the sparkling wine base. Products such as Ghia (an NA Campari alternative) and Giffard Aperitif (an NA Aperol alternative) are also great substitutes!  

The Sláinte Buck

Cocktail in a highball glass sits on a coffee table

🍀 Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style with a cocktail that pays homage to the Emerald Isle’s rich whiskey tradition: the Sláinte Buck. This delightful cocktail combines the smooth warmth of Irish whiskey with the crisp tang of an Apple Rosemary Shrub, topped off with a touch of ginger beer. The result? A refreshing, crushable cocktail that perfectly balances sweet, tart, and spicy flavors, making it an ideal choice for toasting the occasion. So raise your glass and toast to the luck of the Irish! Sláinte!

  • 2oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1oz Sharab Shrubs Apple Rosemary Shrub
  • Ginger Beer to top
  • Rosemary sprig to garnish (optional)
Shake the whiskey and shrub in a cocktail shaker with ice until lightly chilled and diluted, about 5 seconds. Strain into a highball or Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with ginger beer and lightly stir. Optionally, garnish with a rosemary sprig.
With light notes of toffee and dried fruit, Irish whiskey pairs incredibly well with apple. The acidity from the Shrub provides bite, while the ginger beer rounds out this cocktail with a little sweetness and spice. Undertones of rosemary tie the whole drink together and will leave you wanting a second one. Sláinte!

Mardi Gras Cocktail Recipes

Sazerac cocktail site in front of cocktail shaker

“Laissez les bon temps rouler”, let the good times roll. Mardi Gras is coming up, and just because you’re not in New Orleans doesn’t mean you can’t party this weekend. Check out these new Mardi Gras cocktails crafted by our spirits team!

Polar Vortex

The Minnesota Hurricane

Invented in New Orleans in the 1940’s, the Hurricane is known as a booze-forward party cocktail. We’ve decided to mix it up a bit by swapping the rum for coconut aquavit. The caraway profile of the aquavit helps add complexity, while the coconut fits in with the other tropical elements.

Fruity yellow & red cocktail
  • 2 oz Tattersall Coconut Aquavit
  • ½ oz Lime Juice
  • ½ oz Orange Juice
  • ½ oz Liber & Co Passion Fruit Syrup
  • 1 tsp Grenadine

Add the aquavit, lime juice, orange juice, and passion fruit syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until just chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with crushed ice. Add the teaspoon of grenadine over the top. Garnish with a lime wheel.


A New Orleans staple, this Old Fashioned riff tones down the sweetness by swapping bourbon for rye. Bitters bring some botanical and licorice elements to the party, and the absinthe rinse amplifies those notes. The result is a spicy, botanical forward cocktail that swaps some of the classic Old Fashioned elements for new, interesting flavors.

Sazerac cocktail site in front of cocktail shaker
  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • ½ oz Simple Syrup
  • 2 – 4 Dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Optional: La Fee Absinthe to rinse

Add ¼ oz of absinthe to a rocks glass and rotate the glass in hand so that the absinthe coats the walls of the glass. Discard the remaining absinthe. Add the whiskey, simple syrup, and Peychaud’s to a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into the absinthe rinsed glass over fresh ice.

French 44

Our take on the classic French 75

    Though not an invention of the Crescent City, the French 75 become wildly popular in New Orleans. The simple recipe of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and sparkling wine is simple to prepare infinitely riff-able, and astonishingly delicious.

    • 1 oz Citadelle Gin
    • ½ oz Lemon Juice
    • ½ oz Liber & Co Grapefruit Cordial
    • 3 oz Kraemer Blanc de Blancs

    Add the gin, lemon juice, and Grapfruit Cordial to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled. Double strain with a fine mesh strainer into a champagne flute and top with the sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon twist or a raspberry.

    Valentine’s Day Guide to France 44

    Plate of pink macarons

    It’s that time of year again – check out our favorite Valentine’s Day picks below!

    The Valentine's Pairing Box

    Graphic with a heart shaped cheese and bottle of sparkling wine that says "The Valentine's Pairing Gift Box"

    Celebrate Valentine's Day with our brand new Pairing Box! Nothing signifies a special occasion like bubbles, soft cheese, and chocolate, and we're excited to share some of our favorites with you. Enjoy this curated box with a loved one for a perfect Valentine's evening, containing Cowgirl Creamery's Heart's Desire, Argyle Brut Rosé, France 44 crostini, single origin chocolate, and a beeswax candle.

    Wine & Cheese Exploration

    Sign up a loved one by January 31st and they’ll receive their first box the week of Valentine’s Day! 

    Dinner for Two

    Our Valentine’s menu this year features a delicious, hand-made dinner for two – including beef tenderloin, roasted vegetables, macarons, and more! We also have individual desserts and cheeses available for pre-order.

    For the bourbon lover in your life, we have a couple of special bottles in stock that you can’t get anywhere else! A truly one of a kind gift. 

    Romantic Wines by Argyle Vineyards

    Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2021

    Light in color and texture, this Pinot displays pretty watermelon and cherry flavors that ride smoothly over velvety tannins, hinting at mint as this all lingers enticingly.

    Argyle Brut Rosé

    Brut Rose Willamette Valley 2020

    Strawberries and Rainer cherries leap from this Vintage Brut Rosé with zesty acidity, fleshy volume, and strong character. This vintage’s warmth and dryness allowed for us to play with youthfulness through time en tirage, intentionally creating another perspective of approachable Brut Rosé sparkling wine that is ground yet spunky.

    Argyle Brut Willamette Valley 2018

    A light, airy style delivers plenty of pear and pineapple fruit, keeping the balance delicate and fresh. This shows a refreshing balance, and the flavors persist. An incredible deal especially considering it is a vintage sparkling wine!

    The Non-Alcoholic Pineapple Paloma

    Cocktail in a coupe glass sits on a snowy table in front of three bottles

    Welcome to Junuary. Yeah, you read that right. Frankly, it’s going to be COLD this weekend, and we will all need a little pick me up, a little taste of the warm weather to come (hopefully soon!). You don’t need alcohol to create flavorful, interesting cocktails and we’re here with one that emulates summer sun & happiness: The Pineapple Paloma. Pineapple syrup adds a tropical sweetness, which is balanced with the bright acidity of the On The Fly Paloma Mixer. It’ll make you feel like you’re sitting on the beach. So throw on a pair of sunglasses, mix yourself this N/A Paloma, stick a cocktail umbrella in your glass, and enjoy this below zero weekend in style with a summery drink in hand. 

    • 2 oz On The Fly Paloma Mixer: On the Fly elixirs are locally produced by Earl Giles Distillery. The Paloma Mixer, made with juice from ruby red grapefruit and lime, is tart with balanced sweetness and vibrant flavors. 
    • ¼ oz Liber & Co Pineapple Gum Syrup: Cold-pressed pineapple juice makes this syrup a truly tropical delight. The syrup is rich in flavor and sweetness, so even this ¼ oz goes a long way to bring summery flavors to the forefront of this cocktail.
    • ½ oz Lime JuiceBoth the Pineapple Syrup and the Paloma Mixer bring quite a bit of sweetness, and the addition of extra lime juice balances the drink with a bit of extra acidity. Non-Alcoholic cocktails are famously hard to balance and citrus does a great job at leveling the sweetness.
    • 2 oz Topo Chico Mineral WaterLastly, the addition of Topo Chico tops of the cocktail with a bit of texture!
    To a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice, add Paloma Mixer, Pineapple Syrup, and lime juice. Shake well to chill and combine, then pour into either a rocks glass or a coupe and top with Topo Chico sparkling mineral water. Garnish with a lime wheel. 
    *Optional – if you do wish to add alcohol to this cocktail, add 2 oz tequila or mezcal to the cocktail shaker.

    The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide of 2023

    The holiday season is officially here and it’s time to start shopping for the special people in your lives. Between our Cheese & Wine subscriptions, our gift boxes, and our classes, theres something for every food & beverage enthusiast at France 44. Browse below for a taste of what we can offer!

    Don’t see exactly what you’re looking for? Come talk to our staff for inspiration or feel free to fill out this custom gift form. Cheers!

    Gift Boxes

    A few of our exciting gift boxes available this holiday season. 

    Cheese & Wine Subscriptions

    Gift Cards

    France 44 Gift Cards

    Still can't decide? We have gift cards available for use at France 44 Cheese, France 44 Wines & Spirits, St. Paul Cheese Shop, & St. Paul Meat Shop.

    Gift a Class

    Give the gift of education & experience this holiday season with a class at France 44! We have more classes on our calendar than ever before. Coming up early 2024: Wines & Cheeses of Italy, The Art of Scotch, Baguette Making, and more! Not sure which class to choose? No problem. Buy a "Gift a Class" gift card!

    France 44 Holiday Market

    Join us for our first-ever Holiday Market on Sunday, 12/3, from 11am-3pm! This open-house style event will feature a variety of local makers, producers, and artists. Peruse unique handmade gifts and treats while you take in our gorgeous holiday decorations and sip on a hot drink, all within the coziness of the France 44 Event Space. No reservations necessary—just come on up and join the festivities! Here’s a sneak peak at some of the incredible vendors:

    Single Barrel Spirits

    We have a couple of single barrels in stock right now that we’re super excited to share with you! Gift an exclusive taste of spirits this holiday season!

    Bring this true one of a kind bourbon to your feast this year. Aged for 8 years, this could be our best Elijah Craig barrel to date. Rich caramel and vanilla dominate the nose, with subtle notes of apple and cherries following. The palate is bold and oily, starting with cedar wood that evolves into sweet toffee and balancing spice.

    Rittenhouse Rye

    Our second Rittenhouse Single Barrel! Sweet baking spices lead on the nose with caramel, subtle herbaceousness, and hints of black pepper following.  On the palate, bright baking spices evolve in to deeply savory notes of black pepper, black tea, cardamom, and leather. The finish is surprisingly sweet and develops further as it sits. 

    Holiday Wines


    The Brut Tradition is a stable and fruity Champagne. It's a great card to play at any moment : a big celebrations or a cocktail party. The smell brings out hazelnut, fresh almonds, fresh pie. The creamy mouthfeel is balanced by a pleasant liveliness.


    Bursting with aromas of crunchy red berries, peonies, spices and plums, this Beaujolais is medium-bodied, ample, and enveloping, with succulent acids, melting tannins and a pretty, perfumed finish.


    Sleek and slender, but fleshy enough to deliver cinnamon-accented cherry flavors, showing a hint of coffee as the finish lingers. Deftly balanced.

    Holiday Cheeses

    Check out our selection of holiday exclusive cheeses – available in shop only!

    Thanksgiving Beverage Guide 2023

    Thanksgiving is just a few days away, so we wanted to offer you a few suggestions for the big day. Unlike other holidays, Thanksgiving is a long celebration. For some, it may start as early as 4am when the turkey goes into the oven, and for others, it may last well into the night.

    This year, we’ve categorized our beverage suggestions based on different parts of your day. We have something for the football game, something to pair with appetizers, impressive options for dinner, and even a drink to enjoy while digesting the massive meal.

    Whether you’re hosting a traditional Thanksgiving feast or trying something completely new this year, you’ll find something here to enhance your day.

    Beers for the Football Game

    Uffda, these are dangerous! Brewed with finest select malts, this working man’s Pilsner is lavish with flavor. Crisp, light, sessionable, and perfectly balanced with a trusty dry-hop of Citra. It’s the great outdoors, the call of the wild, and the often fresh and cheerful elder. Available in three distinct nature scenes- Deer, Duck, & Pheasant. Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er!⁣ 

    Castle Cream Ale was created while sitting around the kitchen table during our start-up days, and the need for a sessionable beer became clear. Castle Cream is our version of a Cream Ale. Deep gold in color, it has a soft malty aroma, slightly sweet creamy texture with a balanced bitterness, while finishing smooth and clean. 

    Noshing Hour

    A blend of old and new apples only picked from our organic orchard. Including Liberty, Northern Spy, Nova Spy, Keepsake and more. Bubbled naturally with the Charmat Method. All sugars are from the apple, none added. Just Cider. This sparkling hard cider is the perfect way to start out the Thanksgiving meal – festive & bright. 

    France 44 Pointettia

    This festive cocktail is the best of Thanksgiving flavor. The Cranberry Liqueur by Tattersall (local!) adds the perfect touch of sweetness and the brut champagne balances the sweetness and texture beautifully. Add some sugared cranberries and you’ve got yourself a showstopper. 

    Pour 1oz Tattersall Cranberry Liqueur into a flute. Top with 5oz Kraemer Blanc de Blanc Brut. Garnish with sugared cranberries and a sprig of rosemary or thyme. 

    Dinner Time

    Twisted Cedar is a tribally owned and sustainably farmed winery in California. The brand is wholly owned by the Cedar Band of the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah. Their Petite-Petit is a perfect choice to celebrate Native American heritage this Thanksgiving. Juicy blackberry and bold blueberry notes show in this wine, with a vibrancy of color, aroma, and flavor. 

    This deep, ruby colored, mineral driven, California Pinot Noir shows deep savory red fruit tones, shitake mushrooms, and wet stones. A very elegant wine at a very competitive price. This Pinot Noir will pair beautifully with your turkey as well as with roasted butternut squash.

    This is the perfect choice for the white wine drinkers at your dinner. Gustave Lorentz Gewurztraminer Reserve has a clear and pale-yellow color, with an expressive floral and spicy nose. On the palate, it is a warm attack, but the acidity gives it its remarkable length. The wine is complex and rich but still elegant and food-friendly due to its freshness. 


    We just got this new Single Barrel Bourbon last week and we’re so excited to share it with you. Bring this true one of a kind bourbon to your feast this year. Aged for 8 years, this could be our best Elijah Craig barrel to date. Rich caramel and vanilla dominate the nose, with subtle notes of apple and cherries following. The palate is bold and oily, starting with cedar wood that evolves into sweet toffee and balancing spice.

    Our second Rittenhouse Single Barrel! Sweet baking spices lead on the nose with caramel, subtle herbaceousness, and hints of black pepper following. As is breaths, expect sweeter notes of cinnamon and maple to come through. On the palate, bright baking spices evolve in to deeply savory notes of black pepper, black tea, cardamom, and leather. The finish is surprisingly sweet and develops further as it sits. 

    November Spirit of the Month: Rye!

    Picture of Jake Rollin

    Jake Rollin

    Jake (he/him) can be found primarily working in the Beer and Spirits departments, though he occasionally dabbles in Wine. He loves helping customers brainstorm ideas for new and interesting cocktails (ask him about his Caprese Sour cocktail), and talking all things whiskey. His fridge is stocked with a healthy combination of local hazy IPAs, Belgian beers, and Riesling, and he has an ever-growing whiskey collection.

    Like it or not, the holiday season is upon us. With that comes colder weather, and with colder weather comes cold weather cocktails…the Hot Toddy, Irish Coffee, and maybe the most famous of them, the Manhattan. Obviously, vermouth plays a major role in a Manhattan, but the star of the show is whiskey, specifically rye whiskey.  

    The word “whiskey” in America has become synonymous with bourbon, but what if I told you that America’s whiskey poster child wasn’t even the first whiskey we produced here? Let’s go back to Pennsylvania in the year 1750. Rye was the major grain being grown due to its propensity for rapid growth in the Mid-Atlantic climate. Farmers and immigrants who had moved to the North American colonies were longing for the whiskey they were familiar with at home and attempted to recreate it using rye as the grain. The result was a whiskey with rich notes of spice, dark red fruits, and black tea. To this day, many American whiskies are produced with varying amounts of rye in the mash bill to add complexity and depth. 

    These days, bourbon has stolen the spotlight for American whiskey, though without rye, there is no bourbon. But what’s the difference between bourbon and rye? Much like bourbon must contain 51% corn in its mash bill, rye must contain at least 51% rye grain. Here at France 44, we often like to swap out bourbon for rye in cocktails, as the flavor profile of rye tends to be a bit more interesting and holds up better to strong cocktail ingredients, like citrus juice and liqueurs. Check out some of our favorite bottles below! 

    With its mash bill of 51% rye, 35% corn, and 14% barley, Elijah Craig Straight Rye sits right on the lower boundary of what qualifies as a rye whiskey. What that means is that this is an ideal rye whiskey for the bourbon drinker who’s looking to get into rye whiskey. It has much softer spice notes than rye whiskies with higher rye content, but still contains enough to create a complex, rich whiskey that would be great on its own or in cocktails. Try it in an Old Fashioned! 

    Where the Elijah Craig is the bourbon drinkers rye, this is a rye drinkers rye. Stellum uses a 95% rye mash bill, which creates a much more spice forward whiskey. Expect notes of baking spices, spiced apples/pears, black pepper, and black tea. This rye is excellent on its own but also makes one of our favorite Manhattans. 

      This rye is a blend of 4-, 6-, and 8-year-old rye whiskies and bottled at barrel strength. The result is a beautiful whiskey with notes of toffee and mint on the nose. As it opens, expect to smell more apples and cherries along with light baking spice notes. The palate is spiced fruit forward, with rich flavors of cinnamon apple and pear, followed by more nuanced flavors of nutmeg, black tea, and cardamom. The finish is long and warming, perfect for the cooler weather. If you enjoy drinking whiskey straight, you owe it to yourself to give this one a try.