While bourbon is considered America’s native spirit, rye was actually the favored whiskey among her earliest colonists and continued to be popular well into the 1800s, especially in northeastern states like Maryland and Pennsylvania. George Washington even famously distilled rye at his Mount Vernon estate in Virginia. By U.S. law, rye whiskey must be made from a mash of at least 51% rye (with corn and malted barley typically rounding out the remainder of the mashbill). Rye must adhere to the same production standards as bourbon: aged in new, charred oak containers, distilled to no more than 160 proof, entered into barrel at no more than 125 proof, and bottled at a minimum of 80 proof. A straight rye whiskey must be aged for at least two years. Rye whiskey production largely ceased in the U.S. after Prohibition, despite its popularity with America’s nascent cocktail culture at the time — although rye has always been popular in Canada, and rye remains a major component in many Canadian whiskeys today. The resurgence of American whiskey in the late 1990s and an explosion in the popularity of craft cocktails around the same time has launched a revival in rye whiskey production — and consumption — in America.

Top Rye Whiskey Posts:

Knob Creek Rye
WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey 10 Years Old
Woodford Reserve Rye

Review: Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey 114 Proof

By Drew Beard | May 16, 2022 |

Jim Beam’s Old Overholt lineup saw a major refresh back in 2020, along with the introduction of two limited editions available, at the time, only in Ohio and Pennsylvania: an 11-year-old offering (that still eludes us) and this bottle, Old Overholt 114 Proof. The release was in celebration of the 210th anniversary of Abraham Overholt’s…

Read More

Review: Michter’s US-1 Barrel Strength Straight Rye 2022

By Drew Beard | May 15, 2022 |

The absence last fall of George T. Stagg, a perennial favorite in the annual Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, left the world’s bourbon-obsessed with one less unicorn to chase. In March of this year, Michter’s added to the misfortune with its announcement that the distillery would be holding back its beloved 10-year-old bourbon until 2023 to…

Read More

Review: Elvis Whiskey – The King Rye and Tiger Man Tennessee Whiskey

By Christopher Null | May 8, 2022 |

Yes, that Elvis. Charleston, South Carolina-based Grain & Barrel Spirits is producing this Elvis Presley inspired duo of whiskeys, joining numerous other brands in the G&B lineup, including Chicken Cock Whiskey, Dixie Vodka, and Virgil Kaine Lowcountry Whiskey. The two expressions of Elvis are sourced from two different distilleries in different states — neither in…

Read More

Review: Whiskeys of Starlight Distillery: Carl T. Bourbon and Old Rickhouse Whiskeys

By Drew Beard | May 5, 2022 |

Starlight Distillery in Indiana, just across the Ohio River from Louisville, is one of the more unique craft distilleries I’ve encountered. It’s the latest innovation to emerge from Huber’s Orchard, Winery, and Vineyards, a 600-acre farm now in its 7th generation. If you looked up “agritourism” in the dictionary (remember those?), I imagine there’s a…

Read More
Castle and Key Bourbon

Review: Castle & Key Small Batch Bourbon Batch 1 and 2 and Restoration Rye 2022 Batch 1

By Rob Theakston | May 4, 2022 |

Now for the moment some of us have been waiting for since first signs of re-awakening appeared at the abandoned Taylor distillery off McCracken Pike. After several years of patience, time, and change, the inaugural batches of Castle & Key’s bourbon have been delivered. The first round of Restoration Rye went live in early 2021,…

Castle and Key Bourbon Read More

Review: Castle & Key Restoration Rye Single Barrel and Batch 3 (2021)

By Drew Beard | April 16, 2022 |

Early last year, Rob covered the first two Restoration Rye releases out of Castle & Key, one of Kentucky’s newest and most talked about distilleries painstakingly resurrected from an iconic and historic site (for that backstory, see Rob’s review). In 2021, the distillery debuted three new batches of Restoration Rye in limited quantities over the…

Read More

Review: Redwood Empire Grizzly Beast and Rocket Top Bottled in Bond

By Drew Beard | April 13, 2022 |

In 2019, Sonoma-based Graton Distillery revamped their offerings with three new whiskeys under the Redwood Empire label, all named for ancient Redwood trees. Last year, the distillery broadened its portfolio further with the addition of a new bottled in bond bourbon and rye, its oldest whiskey releases to date, both of which are also named…

Read More

Review: Great Jones Bourbon, Four Grain Bourbon, and Rye

By Robert Lublin | April 11, 2022 |

Opened in 2021, Great Jones Distillery is Manhattan’s first and only legal distillery since Prohibition. Being so new, they aren’t yet bottling their own whiskey. Their products are currently distilled, aged, and bottled at Black Dirt distillery in upstate New York. Today we will be trying three of their whiskeys, but only the standard bourbon…

Read More

Review: Stoll & Wolfe Keystone Rosen Rye Whiskey 2 Years Old

By Christopher Null | March 28, 2022 |

Back in 2020 we got a first look at Stoll & Wolfe’s Rosen Rye — as an unreleased white whiskey made from Pennsylvania-grown heritage rye of the rosen variety. Now that whiskey has spent two years in the barrel and is finally available, albeit only as a 100-bottle ultra-limited release that’s surely sold out by…

Read More

Review: Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye, Distiller’s Edition, and Cask Proof

By Drew Beard | March 24, 2022 |

While we’ve covered several special releases from Virginia’s Catoctin Creek, including the bizarre and bold Ragnarok Rye and a Bottled in Bond commemorating their first decade of distilling, we’ve never actually looked at the distillery’s core portfolio. Today, we correct that. Outside of a gin and several small production brandies, the standard lineup at Catoctin…

Read More