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.

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Jack Daniel's Special Release Heritage Barrel Rye bottle

Review: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Special Release 2023 – Twice Barreled Heritage Barrel Rye

By Frank Dobbins | September 20, 2023 |

Jack Daniel’s whiskey is hardly ever difficult to find, but the brand’s annual Single Barrel Special Release collection is so highly allocated and fervently sought after that it defies those expectations. It also treads the road less traveled in that, aside from their Distillery Series, Jack Daniel’s Special Releases have represented some of the wildest…

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Jack Daniel's Bonded Rye Whiskey

Review: Jack Daniel’s Bonded Rye

By David Tao | September 17, 2023 |

It seems Jack Daniel’s is capitalizing on momentum after successful releases of their Bonded and Triple Mash whiskeys in 2022, both of which carried bottled-in-bond designations. While on a recent trip to their Lynchburg, Tennessee distillery, company reps told me both releases received better-than-expected responses from consumers and critics alike. Now, the Brown-Forman owned whiskey…

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Review: Ezra Brooks 99 Straight Rye and Bourbon Cream (2023)

By Christopher Null | September 9, 2023 |

Lux Row’s Ezra Brooks brand is getting the glow-up treatment, with new and reformulated versions  of two of its entry-level products, Ezra Brooks Straight Rye and Bourbon Cream. Both are changing proof, recipes, bottles, and labels, so let’s dig in and see if these changes are for the better. Ezra Brooks 99 Straight Rye (2023)…

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Review: Parker’s Heritage Collection Cask Strength Rye 10 Years Old (2023)

By Christopher Null | September 5, 2023 |

We’re 17 years in on one of the most unicorny of whiskey unicorns, the Parker’s Heritage Collection. For 2023, you’re getting a 10 year old rye at cask strength, a vatting of distillate barreled in August, October, and December 2012, made from a mash of 51% rye, 35% corn, and 14% malted barley. Like the…

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Tasting Report: Virginia Spirits Expo 2023

By Drew Beard | August 8, 2023 |

Now in its second year, the Virginia Spirits Expo is expanding to include four different events across the state. I attended the first of these in Charlottesville over the summer where more than two dozen Virginia distillers were on hand to share their labors of love. It was unseasonably warm at Ix Art Park that…

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Empire Rye Doc Poster

“Fire, Water & Grain: The Story of Empire Rye” — How a New York Spirit Got Its Own Documentary

By David Tao | August 6, 2023 |

Whiskey is (usually) a slow business. New categories develop only sporadically as distillers explore corners of the market while introducing consumers to new flavor profiles. While emerging categories like American Single Malts and Indiana Rye are creeping into our drinking vocabularies, one relatively new category is getting its moment in the sun with a new…

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Review: Clyde May’s Cask Strength Rye 9 Years Old

By Monica Uhm | July 28, 2023 |

The Official State Spirit of Alabama, Clyde May’s of Conecuh Ridge Distillery, continues to release new expressions with a steady clip, with the latest rye whiskey coming fast on the heels from several 2022 releases that Drinkhacker recently dipped into. We’ve seen greater ambition and more boldness with each release, but their impression on us…

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Review: Hemingway Rye 1st Edition

By Christopher Null | July 18, 2023 |

Hemingway Whiskey Company is a new project from the people variously behind Angel’s Envy whiskey, Papa’s Pilar rum, and The Old Man and the Sea. There’s plenty of credibility behind the bottle, but what’s inside is mostly MGP: 94% 9 year old Indiana straight rye plus 6% 4 year old Kentucky straight rye distilled by…

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Review: Diageo Orphan Barrel Project Scarlet Shade Rye 14 Years Old

By Christopher Null | July 15, 2023 |

Diageo’s Orphan Barrel Project continues its run with its first ever straight rye — a 14 year old bottling from Indiana that was aged in Kentucky and bottled in Tennessee. There’s no mashbill information provided, but based on my tasting, it’s safe to assume this is made from MGP’s 95% rye, 5% malted barley mash.…

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Review: Michter’s Single Barrel Straight Rye 10 Years Old 2023

By Drew Beard | July 14, 2023 |

Last year, Michter’s fans had to settle for only one of the brand’s coveted 10-year-old single barrel releases. Luckily, it was an exceptional rye whiskey, one of Chris’s favorites in the lineup to date, but Michter’s has since emphasized that they are taking steps to avoid that shortfall in the future. The press release accompanying…

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