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

Jaywalk Straight Rye Whiskey

Review: NY Distilling Co. Jaywalk Straight Rye

By David Tao | February 23, 2024 |

Brooklyn’s NY Distilling Co. recently announced the release of three different rye expressions, all using a unique grain that harkens back to 17th-century New York State. Jaywalk Rye utilizes Horton Rye, a grain smaller in size than traditional rye used for whiskey making. NY Distilling’s Allen Katz and Tom Potter partnered with Cornell University to…

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Review: Basil Hayden Malted Rye

By Christopher Null | February 17, 2024 |

Late last year, Basil Hayden dropped its latest edition, which will be a permanent part of the Basil Hayden lineup going forward. Basil Hayden Malted Rye is made with 100% rye grain that has been malted, which partially germinates the grain before it is dried and made into a mash that is fermented. As it…

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Review: Union Horse Distilling Rivalist Single Malt and Reunion Rye

By Christopher Null | February 12, 2024 |

You’ll find Union Horse Distilling in Lenexa, Kansas (near Kansas City), where it’s been putting out whiskeys of all stripes — bourbon, rye, single malt, and more — for 14 years (plus vodka). This is our first encounter with the operation; today we look at two of the company’s current five releases. Bottles are hand-numbered…

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Review: Filibuster Dual Cask Rye

By Robert Lublin | February 3, 2024 |

Filibuster Distillery, located in Maurertown, Virginia, has made it their signature process to age whiskey in more than one cask, often to amazing effect. Their Filibuster Dual Cask Rye, accordingly, starts in new American oak and then is finished in French oak barrels. When the rye was first released, it was sourced whiskey, but now…

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Review: Lost Lantern Fall 2023 Single Cask Releases

By Christopher Null | February 2, 2024 |

Indie bottler Lost Lantern‘s latest set of releases focus on old friends from America, with four distilleries returning to the fold. Alongside sequels from Balcones Distilling (TX), Smooth Ambler (WV), New Riff (KY), and Corbin Cash (CA) is a new bottling from what Lost Lantern says its most-requested new partner, Andalusia Whiskey Co. (TX). All…

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Review: Barrell Rye Private Release from The Podcaster Yak Attack

By Christopher Null | January 24, 2024 |

Media mavens are increasingly getting into the private whiskey release biz, but this release is one of the most ambitious we’ve seen to date. Two podcasters — the Whiskey Ring Podcast and This is My Bourbon Podcast — collaborated on a single private barrel of Barrell Craft Spirits Rye which was finished in an Armagnac…

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Review: Catoctin Creek Ragnarok Rye Oderus Edition

By Christopher Null | January 24, 2024 |

The world’s least expected booze collaboration — between Virginia’s Catoctin Creek and shock/thrash metal band GWAR — is back with a second edition: Ragnarök Rye: Oderus Edition. Curious? Here’s some errata: This year marks the tenth anniversary of the passing of Oderus Urungus, and to commemorate his immortal spirit, together with GWAR we are releasing…

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Review: Nelson Bros. Rye Whiskey and Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey Cask Strength

By Christopher Null | January 12, 2024 |

Out Nashville buddies the Nelson brothers recently released two new whiskeys — one, a sourced rye bottled under the Nelson Bros. brand, the other a cask strength Tennessee whiskey made by the Nelsons directly, bottled to celebrate the recent completion of the distillery’s renovation (which no includes a restaurant on site). Let’s dig in to…

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Review: Eda Rhyne Rare Grain Rye Single Barrel and Fernet Barrel

By Drew Beard | January 10, 2024 |

Since they first started distilling in 2018, Asheville’s Eda Rhyne has built a portfolio of spirits unique among most craft distillers. Their first bottlings focused solely on amari instead of the more typical vodka and gin (although they got around to the latter eventually). That approach was rooted in a desire to spotlight the Appalachian…

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Review: Samuel Maverick Straight Triticale Whiskey Bottled-In-Bond

By Christopher Null | January 2, 2024 |

Maverick Distilling’s new triticale-based whiskey was born from a mistake. After ordering a batch of rye, the distillers discovered they had been sent the similar-looking triticale, a hybrid of rye and wheat. What the hell, the San Antonio-based operation decided, let’s make into whiskey anyway and see what happens. It’s an uncommon grain to use…

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