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: Sagamore Spirit Rye 8 Years Old

By Drew Beard | August 1, 2022 |

The release last year of Sagamore Spirit’s first bottled-in-bond rye, made entirely in-house at their Baltimore distillery, somewhat overshadowed the release of this whiskey, an eight-year-old Reserve Series offering distilled on contract in Indiana. While the distillery’s Reserve Series has typically focused on unique finishes like tequila and calvados, Sagamore kept things simple with this…

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Review: Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea Voyage 26 Double Barrel Rye

By Drew Beard | July 24, 2022 |

With 25 different “voyages” across the globe, Jefferson’s Ocean Aged at Sea has varied from release to release due likely as much to the different mashbills, proofs, and sources of the whiskey in each release as to the extreme fluctuations in temperature and motion experienced while plying the seven seas. The one thing they all…

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Review: Lost Lantern Summer 2022 Single Cask Releases

By Drew Beard | July 23, 2022 |

Independent whiskey bottler Lost Lantern has been busy of late. We already covered their spring releases for 2022, which comprised four different bottlings, but for their summer collection, Lost Lantern is offering a whopping seven different single casks from six different distilleries, their largest collection to date. And there are quite a few winners in…

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Review: 4 Buzzard’s Roost Whiskeys, 2022 Releases

By Christopher Null | July 17, 2022 |

Buzzard’s Roost got a quiet start in 2020, and now the Louisville-based brand is on a tear, with at least eight expressions of bourbon and rye now available. In late 2021, bottling, aging, and finishing operations moved to Bardstown Bourbon Company; all spirits however are still sourced from MGP in Indiana. We recently received a…

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Review: Rossville Union Straight Rye Barrel Proof (2022)

By Monica Uhm | July 14, 2022 |

Rossville Union is a straight rye whiskey in Luxco’s growing category of house brands is and produced out of Lawrenceburg, Indiana. If this makes you think MGP, you would be right. Luxco recently renamed the producer of its house branded spirits Ross & Squibb Distillery, formerly included under the overall MGP distillery umbrella. (MGP continues…

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Review: New Riff Malted Rye Sherry Finish

By Drew Beard | July 12, 2022 |

New Riff Distillery hasn’t been slowing down one bit. They recently completed a significant expansion at their Newport, Kentucky distillery, increasing production capacity by 50%, and they’ve added the necessary barrel warehousing at a nearby site. They also increased their distribution footprint to include whiskey-hungry Florida and Illinois. And they remain, as ever, dedicated to…

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Review: Alias Straight Rye Whiskey

By Drew Beard | July 4, 2022 |

MGP had a busy 2021. It began the year with the acquisition of Luxco and its impressive family of spirits producers which now manage the George Remus and Rossville Union whiskey brands. Then they finished the year with a wholesale renaming of their campus in Lawrenceburg, Indiana where those brands are produced. While the new…

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Review: Whiskeys of Clyde May’s, 2022 Releases

By Christopher Null | June 27, 2022 |

We’ve checked in with Alabama’s Clyde May’s Whiskey on numerous occasions dating back to 2013, and recently we received a passel of samples from the brand, including fresh bottlings of the three whiskeys that comprise its core — rye, bourbon, and Alabama style whiskey — plus a pair of much older, limited edition releases. Let’s…

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Review: Rabbit Hole Cavehill, Dareringer, and Boxergrail (2022)

By Drew Beard | June 20, 2022 |

Forever ago, back in 2019, when we reviewed Rabbit Hole’s Heigold Bourbon, we updated you on the distillery’s rebranding earlier that year in which the original bourbon, rye, and PX finished bourbon each received some new duds along with a brand-new name. At a recent sit-down with Rabbit Hole’s founder, Kaveh Zamanian, we tasted through…

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Review: 7 Whiskeys from Broken Barrel (2022)

By Christopher Null | June 19, 2022 |

In 2019, one of our favorite vodka producers, Infuse Spirits, branched into whiskey. The results were, well, not the best, and eventually the line was scrapped and rebranded, with no mention of Infuse on the label at all. Recently, a revamped Broken Barrel re-emerged on the scene and, given our rather tough assessment of its…

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