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: 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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Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Barrel Proof Rye

Review: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Rye Barrel Proof

By Frank Dobbins | July 9, 2023 |

After making an initial splash into the cask strength rye arena back in 2020, Jack Daniel’s is back making waves with a new ongoing expression – Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Barrel Proof Rye. This brand new barrel proof rye marks a permanent extension of Jack Daniel’s increasingly crowded single barrel collection which also contains a…

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Review: Traverse City Finishing Series Whiskeys – Port, Sherry, and Cab Franc Barrel Finish

By Christopher Null | July 8, 2023 |

Michigan’s Traverse City recently dropped a trio of new whiskeys, all made from its own distillate and each finished in a different type of wine cask. The focus on all three is decidedly on the finishing cask: These don’t even indicate the type of whiskey they’re made from on the front of the bottle; you’ll have…

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Blending Whiskey Traditions: An Interview with Keeper’s Heart’s David Perkins

By Drew Beard | July 1, 2023 |

I probably don’t need to tell you who David Perkins is, but here goes. A true craft whiskey pioneer, he founded High West Distillery in Park City, Utah way back in 2006, practically an eternity ago in the craft distilling world. Over the course of ten years, he built High West into one of the…

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Review: Pinhook Tiz Rye Time Rye Vertical Series 7 Years Old 2023

By Drew Beard | June 16, 2023 |

Our coverage of Pinhook’s Vertical Series has come in fits and starts over the years, but we’ve managed to follow the ‘Tiz Rye Time’ rye whiskey line the closest. As a reminder, this is a rye whiskey distilled at MGP from their well-known 95% rye and 5% malted barley recipe. Small batch blends have been…

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Review: Sagamore Spirit Rye Bottled in Bond 5 Years Old

By Frank Dobbins | June 10, 2023 |

Maryland’s Sagamore Spirit is an exemplar of America’s craft whiskey scene. Having begun their whiskey production journey with sourced distillate, they’ve recently turned the corner and begun releasing products they distilled themselves. Sagamore Spirit’s new 5 year-old bottled in bond rye whiskey is a blend of two rye mashbills that showcases what the future will hold…

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Tasting Report: Texas Whiskey Festival 2023

By Christopher Null | May 20, 2023 |

It was a warm but overcast day in the Texas Hill Country just a few weeks ago, but an altogether perfect setting for a stroll through Star Hill Ranch to sample the wares of some 35 Texas whiskies at the 6th annual Texas Whiskey Festival. A veritable who’s who of Texas whiskeydom, if there are…

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291 All Rye

Review: 291 All Rye Colorado Whiskey

By David Tao | May 18, 2023 |

Based out of Colorado Springs, Distillery 291 has built their reputation on bourbon, rye, and unaged distillate releases, and their aged products are often finished with toasted aspen staves. (We’ve reviewed a number of their rye and bourbon expressions before.) With a new limited release, the company is exploring a 100% rye malt mash bill…

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Review: Buzzard’s Roost Smoked Barrel Straight Rye

By Christopher Null | May 6, 2023 |

Buzzard’s Roost continues to pump out new whiskeys, this latest one a sourced rye made from 95% rye and 5% malted barley, aged four years, then finished in new American oak barrels that were toasted and then lightly smoked. It’s not my favorite expression from the brand, the heavy spice and grassiness of the rye…

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Knob Creek Straight Rye Whiskey

Review: Knob Creek Rye 7 Years Old (2023)

By David Tao | May 5, 2023 |

It’s been over a decade since we last reviewed Knob Creek’s flagship rye whiskey, and there’s ample reason to revisit it now. As of March 2023, the previously non-age stated rye now carries a seven year age statement, the first since its national launch in 2012. That’s a noticeable change for a widely available and…

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