Conecuh Ridge Distillery Clyde May's Straight Bourbon $35 - 94 Points

At a time when the trend of high-end bourbons seems to reach for the extremes of citrus-fueled spiciness and ultra-brightness, a return to basics is a welcome reset. A shocker of a value, this Alabama bourbon serves up a large rocking chair's worth of easy sipping. The only trouble is restraining yourself to just sipping. Deep-hued amber and throwing off wafts of straightforward toasty bourbon aromas, the goods of this spirit are all in the mouth of it. Drinking like it's got eight or so years in the barrel, the Clyde May's is generous in a southern hospitality manner without crossing into caricature territory. Balanced, rounded, and soft, this friendly whiskey delivers plenty of spicy corn-forwardness, vanilla framing, and an orange peel and cream-lined finish smoother than a diplomat's handshake. Throughout it offers a warming sensation that embraces like an old favorite sweater. A delicious bourbon for the bourbon skeptic and the wandering imbiber curious for an entry point into this crowded category. Here's the real kicker: the neighborly price tag of just $35. 

There is an embarrassment of riches in my liquor cabinet, yet lately this is the focus of my affections. And $35? Really?? (Guessed it to be $55.) Well done, indeed. 94 points.