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: Lost Lantern Spring 2023 Single Cask Releases

By Drew Beard | May 5, 2023 |

Indie bottler Lost Lantern continues its focus on unique American craft whiskeys with its latest single cask collection. The four bottlings comprising the Spring 2023 cohort feature some of their oldest offerings yet from the likes of Westland, Watershed, and Corbin Cash, all bottled without filtration and at cask strength. A bit about this bunch…

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10 Top Whiskeys Under $100

By Christopher Null | April 27, 2023 |

Drinkhacker readers: We’ve heard your cries. Our top ten lists regularly feature whiskeys that are impossible to get, much too expensive, or both. With this feature, we’re diving deep into 10 bottlings you can readily obtain from our partners at Coasters, with none costing more than $85, and half of them under $50. Best of…

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Review: Still Austin Straight Rye “The Artist”

By Christopher Null | April 16, 2023 |

First there was The Musician. Now there’s The Artist, Still Austin’s rye that follows up its straight bourbon. Like Still’s other bottlings, this is made from 100% Texas grains — this one entirely rye, with no other grains in the mash. Aged at least 2 years, let’s delve into the experience of The Artist. Shocker…

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Review: Sagamore Spirit Rye 8 Years Old (2023)

By Drew Beard | April 4, 2023 |

For their Spring 2023 Reserve Series release, Sagamore Spirit is bringing back a well-received and well-aged rye that originally debuted in 2021 with limited distribution. While some of the distillery’s core products, like the Bottled in Bond, have been made with entirely house-distilled spirit, this 8-year-old rye is a product of the Baltimore distillery’s earlier,…

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Review: Square 6 High-Rye Bourbon and Rye

By Christopher Null | March 27, 2023 |

Square 6 is a new brand from Heaven Hill, produced at its new artisanal distillery on Louisville’s Main Street. Some background: Square 6 designates the original plot of land where Evan Williams built Kentucky’s first commercial distillery in 1783, sharing the same block on Louisville’s Whiskey Row where the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience first opened…

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Review: Peg Leg Porker Tennessee Rye 8 Years Old

By Christopher Null | March 17, 2023 |

After years of toiling in the bourbon trade, pitmaster cum whiskey magnate Casey Bringle is off to the world of rye, dropping this 8 year old expression of Peg Leg Porker as his first entry into the category. Made with the classic 95% rye, 5% malted barley mashbill — but in Tennessee, not Indiana —…

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Review: Kentucky Owl Mardi Gras XO Cask Rye

By Drew Beard | March 16, 2023 |

First St. Patrick’s Day and now Mardi Gras. What holiday will Kentucky Owl celebrate next? (Arbor Day! -Ed.) Kentucky Owl Mardi Gras XO Cask debuted late last fall, alongside another pricey bottling, Batch 12 Bourbon, and well in advance of the Big Easy’s famous Carnival season. It’s been several years since Stoli offered a Kentucky Owl…

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Review: Smooth Ambler Founders’ Cask Strength Series – Bourbon 2022 and Rye 2021

By Christopher Null | March 6, 2023 |

Smooth Ambler is one of the OG craft distilleries, and like many it started with sourced stock while it got its own in-house production up and running. The company is one of the few that has successfully finished that transition in total, and while it still offers sourced products — they call them “procured whiskeys”…

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Review: Bardstown Bourbon Origin Series Bourbon, Bottled-in-Bond, and Rye

By Drew Beard | February 27, 2023 |

The wait is finally over. Fans of Bardstown Bourbon Co. can now partake in whiskey distilled and aged entirely at their state-of-the-art distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky. This wasn’t exactly a surprise. BBCo. has been sharing small amounts of its estate-distilled bourbon since 2019 via the recently retired Fusion Series, which saw sourced whiskey married with…

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Review: Ryes of the Robots Straight Rye Whiskey

By Christopher Null | February 21, 2023 |

Filmland Spirits aims to combine those who have a passion for whiskey with those who have a passion for the movies. Makes sense. You’d be crazy to miss out on either one. The brand has three whiskeys hitting the market, including two bourbons (one a cask strength version of the other) and this rye, Ryes…

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