Review: Frey Ranch Rye

Review: Frey Ranch Rye

We were pretty up on Nevada-based Frey Ranch Distillery’s inaugural bourbon earlier this year. Now we’re back with the inevitable follow up, a straight rye, made “grain to glass” on Frey Ranch’s estate. It’s a bonded rye, made from 100% winter rye, that carries a 5 year old age statement (at least in this batch, the first production batch running 3000 bottles).

As a reminder, Frey Ranch is a totally legit craft distilling operation:

Located in Northern Nevada’s Lake Tahoe Watershed, Frey Ranch Distillery grows, malts, and distills 100% of its whiskey grains on-site for consistent quality as a point of pride. The Frey family has a history of farming in the region that dates back to 1854 and lives on today through Frey Ranch CEO, Co-founder, and “Whiskey Farmer,” Colby Frey, who started the distillery in 2006 with his wife and Co-Founder, Ashley. The Freys work closely alongside Master Distiller and Certified Crop Advisor, Russell Wedlake, to carefully oversee each stage of the production process, “from ground to glass.”

I’ll say up front I like the bourbon a lot better; I think there’s simply more going on there. The nose starts off brightly enough, a pleasing but straightforward mix of spice, butterscotch, and a significant amount of wood. There’s a classic rye character here that melds herbal notes with black pepper, again pushed through the lumberyard on a wheelbarrow.

The palate is a bit on the thin side, and hotter than expected. Loads of granary notes lead the way, followed by a big rush of chocolate. I catch some acetone character shortly after, before the finish takes hold with notes of mint and lacings of black pepper.

The end result is perfectly credible as a rye, but it lacks the excitement and complexity of the more interesting Frey Ranch Bourbon.

100 proof. Reviewed: Batch #1.

B / $60 /

Frey Ranch Rye




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. BocaSlim on September 13, 2021 at 10:44 am

    I doubt that Mr. Null ever had a bottle of Frey Rye in his hands to even taste it. Citing the proofage as “90” or 45 ABV proves my belief. The bottle states “Bottled in Bond.” Does not Mr. Null know what that means? For one thing, it means that the whiskey inside the bottle isn’t 90 proof…

    • Christopher Null on September 13, 2021 at 11:10 am

      The typo has been corrected, BocaSlim. Thanks for pointing it out. I can assure you the whiskey was tasted and in fact the bottle is still in hand should you desire further evidence that I didn’t pull this review entirely out of my nether regions. (Which would be a pretty insane thing to do.)

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