Review: John A.P. Conoley Limited Reserve Rye Whiskey Barrel Proof

DSR – NC – 021: John A.P. Conoley Limited Reserve Rye Whiskey Barrel Proof

Company/Distillery: Bogue Sound Distillery

Location: Bogue, North Carolina

Mash Bill: Roughly 55-66% rye and 10% malt

Age Statement: No Age Statement; Confirmed 2 Years Old

Proof/ABV: 113 Proof/56.5% ABV

Color: This A.P. Conoley Limited Reserve Rye from Bogue Sound Distillery presents dark mahogany in the bottle. From the tasting vessel, this whiskey is tawny in color. Tilting the glass to the side, streaky oily legs appear quickly and glide down the sides effortlessly. A medium viscous line is left that forms into droplets that slowly begin to trickle. 

Purchase Price: $59.95 for 750 ml bottle at the NC ABC Store in Boone, NC

Bottle Label Information:

Front Label

“John A.P. Conoley Limited Reserve Rye Whiskey”

“Barrel Proof”

“Bogue Sound Distillery – Crafting Quality Spirits”

Back Label

“This Bourbon Whiskey is distilled from locally sourced grains. Named for John A.P. Conoley and crafted in the United States, this fine whiskey’s journey began when John’s father-in-law transported a still from Scotland to America to produce whiskey and brandy to provide for his family. The still was housed in John and Sara Conoley’s barn until it was stolen, later confiscated by a local sheriff, and ultimately donated to a museum in Raleigh. John A.P. Conoley American Bourbon Whiskey is rich in history and smooth in taste.”

“Cheers! Thanks for choosing our spirits. Richard Chapman”

“Produced and Bottled by: Bogue Sound Distillery, Bogue, NC 28570 “

“Batch No. 1”

Distillery Background

Bogue Sound Distillery

Bogue Sound Distillery, located just across the Bogue Sound and Emerald Isle, was formally opened in May 2018 by Richard and Margaret Chapman. Mr. Chapman, a member of the North Carolina State University Wolfpack football team from 1965-1968, enjoyed a successful career in textiles, construction, and real estate prior to launching the distillery.

One thing that becomes instantly clear upon researching Bogue Sound Distillery is that they have a great passion and zeal for sharing and celebrating their family history of distilling. On site at the distillery, Mr. Chapman has a museum built to showcase stills from the 1700 and 1800’s, a 1923 Ford Model-T pickup used to run moonshine, and a grist mill from 1900.

Bogue Sound Distillery prides itself on being a self-sustaining process. “The whole process, from grinding the grain to bottling and labeling takes place right here at Bogue Sound Distillery. Our quality spirits are free of sugar and made from only the best grains available. We practice safe-distilling using methods like low-pressure steam cooking. And we work to be environmentally friendly through process improvements like utilizing rainwater to cool all of our equipment.”

In addition to John A.P. Conoley Limited Reserve Rye Whiskey, Bogue Sound also distills its John A.P. Conoley Bourbon Whiskey, Vitzellen Vodka, Bombshell Gin, John A.P. Conoley Salted Caramel Spirit, and John A.P. Conoley Carolina Peanut Butter Whiskey. Additional information on Bogue Sound Distillery and their offerings can be found at

A Special thank you to Mr. Chapman for taking the time out of his day on a busy Saturday to share about his distillery and specifically, the John A.P. Conoley Limited Reserve Rye Whiskey – Barrel Proof.

John A.P. Conoley Limited Reserve Rye Whiskey – Barrel Proof

Rickhouse Ramblings contacted distillery owner, Richard Chapman, to find out more about this special release offering by Bogue Sound Distillery. John A.P. Conoley Limited Reserve Rye Whiskey is made using a mash bill of 55% to 66% rye. Water is run through a reverse osmosis system prior to being used in the distillation process. Chapman distills his spirits “slow and easy” ensuring the process is not rushed and producing the highest quality distillate possible. The rye whiskey is aged for 2 years in 53-gallon new American oak barrels, using char #3, made by West Virginia Great Barrel Company. At Bogue Sound Distillery, the barrels rest standing upright in the barrel house on location in Bogue, North Carolina.

For Additional information about John A.P. Conoley, Vitzellen, and the stolen still from Scotland visit the Bogue Sound Distillery history archives.

Tasting Notes

Tasting Date/Vessel: May 1, 2022 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; Then with a few drops of distilled water.


Christian: In the bottle, Bogue Sound A.P. Conoley Limited Reserve Rye Whiskey Barrel Proof bursts forth from the neck with copious amounts of grandpa’s moist coarse-cut pipe tobacco. This has a very rich and robust sweetness to it – just like the color I see in the bottle. In my Glencairn glass, the nose on this pour is different from many other rye offerings I have tried. Bogue Sound’s Limited Reserve Rye is vibrant and sweet. There is a woodsy characteristic that reminds me of a cedar plank and warm pine sap. A gentle swirl and continued nose offers gentle aromas of light honey, rye grain, mulling spices, and cranberries. Man, this really reminds me of Christmas. It should be noted that at 113 proof, the level of ethanol is surprisingly low and unassuming in the glass, something that is honestly unexpected. Adding distilled water really allows a strong sweetness of smoked butterscotch, brown sugar, and an additional butteriness to take front and center on the nose.

Mike: As I nose this rye from the bottle, warm notes of pipe tobacco and heavy oak emanate from its long neck. It almost acts as a pipeline of exquisiteness! From the glass, a bouquet of maple syrup and brown sugar rises from inside with a subtle hint of crisp coniferous needles.  A gentle swirl produces a quick charge of ethanol, which is surprisingly forgiving despite the high proof, then ends with fleeting notes of black pepper spice and delicate honey.


Christian: This rye whiskey offers a nice textured feel that is a little bit thicker, almost syrupy, on the tongue. Instantly, my tongue is rushed with beautifully bold and sweet flavors. Big pronounced oak flavors are accompanied by grandpa’s moist pipe tobacco, much like what I experienced in the nose. Immediately, I think of flavors that are reminiscent of a double oaked product. A nice rye spiciness develops quickly before giving way to sweet molasses, vanilla, clove, and real leather. This whiskey offers fantastic flavors that are both complex and deep. The added water really changes the taste profile on this one. The oakiness turns a bit bitter while the baking spices pick up steam. Not nearly as sweet but still bold and flavorful.

Mike: My first sip of this Bogue Sound rye explodes with flavors of fresh chewing tobacco. A second pass collects silky undertones of sweet maple syrup and traditional baking spices. Becoming semi-dry mid-palate, tones of vintage leather swell towards the back of the palate. A snappy bite of rye pecks the back of the throat then closes with a trace of dried maple syrup.   


Christian: Bogue Sound A.P. Conoley Limited Reserve Rye Whiskey offers a medium to long finish that is expected in a pour proofed at 113; but make no mistake, this is not abrasive or overwhelming at all. A nice deep warmth rises from deep in my chest and hangs around. This pour is loaded with rich tobacco and canned pears in thick syrup. A nice spearmint quality wells up on the palate later, long after the spirit has been enjoyed. You even get a bit of the cool mouth sensation. Surprisingly, the distilled water ramps up the baking spices here with cinnamon and clove really standing tall. Neither the warmth or finish are disturbed by the water being added. Pear really comes in late and is quite prevalent.

Mike: I’m blown away by the finish from this Limited Reserve Rye. It’s nearly, if not absolutely, perfect. For a 113-proof whiskey, it provides the drinker with an impeccably balanced and soothing warmth from the middle of your throat down into your chest. You are left with a soft mint freshness and a gentle bitterness on the palate.

Our Rating

Final Thoughts

Christian: Ok, I am going to throw this out there. This is easily one of my top two rye samplings we have reviewed for this website. The robust, sweet, bold flavors are absolutely incredible! There are baking spices present, but they are so gentle and unassuming. It still allows just enough of a hint of Christmas to dance through my mind. It is insane how well this pour drinks at such a stiff proof of 113. Yes, I am gushing over this a little bit but only because I absolutely dig it! The pour is well-balanced, complementary in its flavors, approachable, and overall just a damn good North Carolina craft whiskey. The only thing I am disappointed in is that we only have 1 bottle and that it isn’t a full time offering! Cheers to you, Mr. Chapman and your topnotch team–your A.P. Conoley Limited Reserve Rye Whiskey gets a standing ovation from me!! Bottoms up, y’all!

Rating: 4.00 Rickhouses

Mike: WOW! I wholeheartedly love this rye from Bogue Sound. This is one of the best, if not THE BEST, rye I’ve ever tasted. Packed with flavor and tremendously well-balanced, this is another sleeper craft distillery making an exceptional product that can compete with the “Big Boys” in Kentucky. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to review this whiskey and share its deliciousness with our readers, and we paid for this bottle (as we do all of our bottles, haha)!  Find it if you can, in North Carolina, and then slowly relish it. This is a gem of a product coming out of eastern North Carolina. Well done, Bogue Sound Distillery! Keep up the amazing work!

Rating: 4.25 Rickhouses


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