Whisky Advocate

Whisky Advocate Award: Craft Whiskey of the Year

December 11th, 2013

Few Spirits Rye, 46.5%, $60

Reviewing craft-distilled American whiskeys is still a matter of degrees, especially when the craft distillers venture into the stylistic territory Few Ryestaked out so strongly by the established traditional distillers. The benchmarks of bourbon and rye are well-known, and to openly declare your competition with them is to invite direct comparison. I call it the “Evan Williams Test”: is this craft whiskey good enough that I’d buy a bottle of it instead of yet another $14 bottle of the reliably well-made Evan Williams Black? Only the very best craft whiskeys can stand up to that.

By that test, Few Spirits Rye is clearly in the top tier of current craft whiskeys.

Although it’s young, the whiskey is well-made and clean in character, not funky and flawed, which still counts for a lot these days. As I said in my review (an 89 score), “Straightforward rye crisps out of the glass in no-nonsense style; dry grain, sweet grass, and light but insistent anise almost wholly drown out the barrel character.” It’s backed up on the palate, where you’ll get more rye, some tarragon and dry mint spice, and then some oak in the warming finish.

That light barrel character is hardly surprising in a young rye, and we’re not going to see much but young whiskey out of craft distillers for a while yet. So high marks to Few Spirits for making a very good young rye, one I’ve been using as a benchmark ever since I tasted it. — Lew Bryson

Tomorrow, the American Whiskey of the Year will be announced.

13 Responses to “Whisky Advocate Award: Craft Whiskey of the Year”

  1. Dumb question – Is this the same category as last year’s Artisan Whiskey, just with a new name?

    • Lew Bryson says:

      Not a dumb question at all, Charlie! Yes, it is the same category. Putting a label on it is like putting a leash on the wind. Craft worked for the brewers; we’ll go with that for a while. Sorry for any confusion.

  2. Jill says:

    Wow! Way to go Few Spirits! I’m a huge fan of the Rye and my guests love it. I enjoy introducing it to new people every time I get the chance!

  3. Steve I says:

    Nice! Just a few miles from where I grew up…It’s hard to imagine a distillery in the birthplace of the Temperance Movement! These guys really know their stuff and keep putting out quality whiskeys. The rye is one of my favorites on the market.

    Nice job Paul and well done Whiskey Advocate!

  4. Very well deserved!! Few Spirits – there are few like them, that’s for sure. Great spirits by great guys. Check out my site for more on craft liquors. Cheers!

  5. Curt says:

    Great Job Few Spirits, congrats.

  6. Tim says:

    Congrats Few Spirits, great stuff!

  7. I constantly recommend the Rye when I am behind the bar at Delilah’s in Chicago. Fantastic stuff and well deserved recognition. I always root for the home team and love drinking local. Nice job job Few Spirits!

  8. Lloyd says:

    The Fewer the better!

  9. Dick says:

    Well done FEW…great result!

  10. FEW Rye has always been my favorite of the line – closely followed by FEW Barrel Gin – despite the enduring popularity of FEW Bourbon and it’s most gratifying to have one’s impeccably good taste endorsed by others, is it not?

  11. Turk says:

    Totally disagree on this choice. I have had white lighting that is better than Few. And why did they name it Few? Because few people will enjoy it.

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