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: Barrell Foundation Bourbon and Rye Batch 004

By Drew Beard | December 3, 2023 |

What would bourbon season be without a few new releases from the prolific blenders at Barrell Bourbon? While Jonathan is hard at work tasting the new Cask Finish Series duo (more amburana!), today I’m checking out two somewhat a-typical offerings: Foundation, Barrell’s very first non-cask strength whiskey, and a new cask strength rye. Thoughts follow.…

Read More
Bhakta 1928

Review: Bhakta 1928

By David Tao | December 2, 2023 |

Best known for their highly-aged brandy, Raj Bhakta’s eponymous spirits brand is making moves into other categories, including whiskey. They released an Armagnac-cask finished bourbon earlier in 2023, and they’ve also dabbled in rum. Now, they’re mixing up something different altogether: a blended spirits that’s 60 percent rye whiskey, 30 percent Calvados, and 10 percent…

Read More

Drinkhacker’s 2023 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 23, 2023 |

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some festivities in the form of holiday revelry. Naturally, the holidays mean gift-giving time is nigh, and you’re going to want recommendations for what to wrap up and stash under the tree. As always, this year we want your gift-giving to make a statement, but we…

Read More

Review: Catoctin Creek Hot Honey Rye

By Drew Beard | November 18, 2023 |

This fall, Catoctin Creek released Hot Honey Rye, the first permanent addition to the small craft distillery’s core range in over five years. First introduced as a limited Barrel Select offering in 2022, this flavored whiskey is now slated for the big leagues with distribution to all of Catoctin Creek’s mid-Atlantic markets, as well as…

Read More

Tasting Report: Jack Rose Premier Drams 2023

By Drew Beard | November 7, 2023 |

After a bit of back-and-forth on the date, whiskey mecca Jack Rose Dining Saloon finally landed on October 2nd for this year’s Premier Drams festival. We would have honestly rescheduled a liver transplant to make it, and after the embarrassment of brown water riches on offer this year, we just might have to in 2024.…

Read More

Review: Michter’s US-1 Toasted Barrel Finish Rye 2023

By Christopher Null | November 4, 2023 |

Did you know: Michter’s pioneered the toasted barrel craze back in 2014, and it’s been at it ever since. This is the first expression of the distillery’s US-1 Toasted Barrel Rye we’ve seen since 2020, and again it undergoes the operation’s unique aging process, which we’ll remind you about here: Michter’s Master of Maturation Andrea…

Read More

Review: WhistlePig “The Boss Hog X: The Commandments” Rye Whiskey 2023

By Christopher Null | October 27, 2023 |

There’s no more exciting time in whiskeydom than when WhistlePig drops its latest Boss Hog. Now in its tenth installment, the aggressively experimental whiskey series takes a new step into craziness, finishing its rye whiskey with truly Biblical flavors. There’s really no other option than to let WhistlePig explain The Commandments to you: A testament…

Read More

Review: Rossville Union Straight Rye 6 Years Old

By Monica Uhm | October 21, 2023 |

You know Ross and Squibb even though the name may not quite ring a bell. It’s the new name for MGP which followed after the merger with Luxco. Ross and Squibb remains a workhorse contract distiller for a lot of names that ring lots of bells. They recently launched Rossville Union as one of their…

Read More

Review: Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2023 Edition

By Christopher Null | October 18, 2023 |

It’s hard to believe but this is our 16th round with Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection, which we’ve been reviewing annually since the site got its start. As has been the case for every year but one, the collection spans five whiskeys — three bourbons and two ryes — all of which are highly allocated and…

Read More

Review: Doc Swinson’s Whiskeys, 2023 Releases

By Christopher Null | October 11, 2023 |

Doc Swinson’s came out of nowhere a few years ago, and since then the brand (using all sourced stock) has absolutely exploded. What began as a handful of sourced whiskeys is now a bazillion different bottlings, filed into various series. We recently received a care package of five of these expressions, so let’s get right…

Read More