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: Rod & Hammer’s SLO Stills Distiller’s Reserve Rye Whiskey

By Christopher Null | June 13, 2021 |

The SLO in Rod & Hammer’s SLO Stills Rye isn’t a typo, it’s a (widely used) acronym for San Luis Obispo, the anchor city in California’s Paso Robles region. The produces four different whiskeys — two ryes and two bourbons; today we’re looking at its Distiller’s Reserve Rye, which is distilled from a mash of…

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Swilled Dog Sherry Cask Bourbon

Review: Swilled Dog Bourbons and Rye

By David Tao | June 11, 2021 |

Launched in 2016, Swilled Dog is a family-owned cider and spirits company based out of West Virginia. What started as a family basement operation has since grown into an independent cidery and tasting room in Upper Tract, WV, where they offer everything from tastings to craft exhibitions and a regular series of “Yoga & Cider”…

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Review: Distillery 291 “M” Colorado Whiskey

By Christopher Null | June 10, 2021 |

Several years ago Drew introduced us to Colorado’s Distillery 291. Now we’re back with a look at its latest whiskey, which starts as 291 Colorado Rye Whiskey, aged in new American white oak barrels and finished with aspen staves. From there, the whiskey is finished for four months in barrels previously used to barrel-age Wisconsin…

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Review: Tattersall Rye, Amaro, and Fernet

By Christopher Null | June 5, 2021 |

Minneapolis-based Tattersall produces a monstrous line of craft spirits — all of which is produced in house from grains and other produce (apples, berries, etc.) from Minnesota and nearby states. The operation recently sent us three of its offerings for review, including a rye whiskey and two bitter liqueurs. Let’s dig in. Tattersall Straight Rye…

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Review: Mad River Revolution Rye, Rye Finished in Silver Oak, and Old Fashioned

By Christopher Null | May 31, 2021 |

Our coverage of the products of Vermont’s Mad River Distillers — a grain to glass operation that produces bourbon, rye, rum, and apple brandy — has been scattershot, as new products have been released over the years. Today we turn our attention to two rye whiskeys and a bottled cocktail made with the same. Normally…

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Review: Jefferson’s Rye Finished in Cognac Casks

By Drew Beard | May 30, 2021 |

Jefferson’s has plenty of bourbons in its stable, from Very Small Batch to the Ocean series and a variety of wine finishes and special releases, but the company has only once, in 2008, released a rye whiskey. Owner and blender Trey Zoeller is giving rye another go with this latest release, but this time, the…

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Review: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Tasters’ Selection – “Twin” Blend

By Christopher Null | May 26, 2021 |

This 7th entry in JD’s Tennessee Tasters’ Selection is one of its simplest concepts: Tennessee Whiskey (a type of bourbon) blended with Tennessee rye. 50 barrels total were used for this release — 30 rye, 20 Tennessee whiskey. All of them were distilled on May 19, 2014 (14E19, per the code on the label), then…

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Review: Catoctin Creek “Life’s a Peach” Barrel Select Rye Whisky

By Christopher Null | May 25, 2021 |

Catoctin Creek‘s latest special edition rye is “Life’s a Peach,” a highly limited expression (547 bottles produced) of its 100% Virginia rye whiskey that is finished for one year in Short Hill Mountain Peach Brandy barrels. It’s the first time Catoctin — which is known for unusual special editions and weird finishes like this one…

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Nashville Barrel Company

Review: Nashville Barrel Company Small Batch Rye Whiskey (Batch 2)

By David Tao | May 23, 2021 |

Nashville Barrel Company is a new brand, and as with many upstarts, they’re relying on sourced products to get the company up and running. Unlike some other upstarts, they don’t seem to have immediate aspirations of opening their own distillery (at least for now). Instead, they’re focusing efforts on a brick-and-mortar tasting room, bottling center,…

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Review: Stellum Bourbon and Rye

By Drew Beard | May 22, 2021 |

It already seemed like Barrell was sitting on a large supply of whiskey, what with its rapid-fire bourbon releases and frequent special editions, but now comes an entirely new whiskey line from Barrell Craft Spirits, dubbed Stellum. What does Stellum mean? Apparently, it’s a derivative of the latin word for star. So, there’s that. The…

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