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: Belfour Special Edition Straight Rye Whiskey

By Christopher Null | May 21, 2021 |

Belfour Spirits — founded by hockey player Ed Belfour — has launched a fourth expression of whiskey, a custom version of Belfour Rye which pays homage to the Fighting Sioux, which is the former name of the hockey team of the University of North Dakota. (After a controversy over the name of the team and…

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Review: Milam & Greene Port Finished Rye and Single Barrel Bourbon

By Drew Beard | May 15, 2021 |

Last year, we took a look at Milam & Greene’s Triple Cask Bourbon, a blend of sourced stocks and the distillery’s own bourbon distilled in Blanco, Texas. That younger, in-house bourbon is also now its own limited release, dubbed Distillery Edition, but the rest of the broader Milam & Greene portfolio relies heavily on sourced…

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Review: Kozuba Potato Vodka, Triple Sec, and Rye 6 Years Old

By Christopher Null | May 10, 2021 |

The Kozuba & Sons Distillery was born in Poland in 2005, and 2014 the company made what you might say is a major move: Picking up stakes and replanting in St. Petersburg, Florida. Now a respected operation in the States, Kozuba produces a range of spirits, including multiple expressions of vodka (naturally), various liqueurs, and…

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Review: Mic.Drop Rye L20-01 4 Years Old

By Christopher Null | May 7, 2021 |

The latest Mic.Drop release from PM Spirits isn’t a bourbon but a rye, another young gun at 4 years old, sourced from Wilderness Trail Distillery in Danville, Kentucky. Mic.Drop L20-01, which was released late last year, is drawn from just 5 casks of rye distilled in 2015 and bottled in 2020, made from a mash…

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Review: Saint Liberty Bourbon, Rye, and Four Grain Bourbon

By Christopher Null | May 6, 2021 |

Saint Liberty is sourced whiskey, but not what you’re thinking. It’s distilled in all sorts of places and bottled in even stranger locales (Colorado, Montana) — with two of its three whiskeys hailing from Texas. None of its products are distilled in Indiana or Kentucky. And the company itself is based… in Austin, Texas. The…

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Review: Coalition Rye Barrel Proof

By Drew Beard | April 24, 2021 |

Coalition Rye is a spanking new brand from Kentucky Artisan Distillers (KAD) in Crestwood, Kentucky. You may know KAD as the spiritual home of Jefferson’s Bourbon, although to date only special finishes and wood experiments occur there while the whiskey used in Jefferson’s releases is distilled elsewhere. KAD does distill inhouse, however, and the Coalition…

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Jackie Zykan

Diversity, Data, and Change in Bourbon: An Interview with Old Forester’s Jackie Zykan

By David Tao | April 23, 2021 |

Old Forester’s Jackie Zykan is one of Kentucky bourbon’s most recognizable names. During her six-year tenure with the brand, Zykan has been equal parts whiskey maker and whiskey educator, giving numerous interviews and social media looks into her day-to-day as Old Forester’s Master Taster. And she’s notched more than a couple important milestones along the…

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Review: Lost Lantern Single Cask #3: New York Distilling Rye Finished in Apple Brandy Cask

By Christopher Null | March 11, 2021 |

Lost Lantern got its start by putting together a wild blend of American craft distillery whiskeys, but lately it’s setting its feet further afield, offering single cask releases of non-blended stock from a variety of distilleries. Today we’re looking at the third release in Lost Lantern’s lineup, which got its start as a straight rye…

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Review: Five Mile Mountain Rye 105

By Drew Beard | March 9, 2021 |

The hip little mountain town of Floyd, Virginia (famous for the annual FloydFest music festival) has a storied moonshining history. It sits next to Franklin County, dubbed “the moonshine capital of the world,” but according to the owners of Five Mile Mountain Distillery, Floyd was actually the larger producer during Prohibition. The distillery even gets…

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Review: The Clover Single Barrel Bourbon and Rye

By Drew Beard | February 27, 2021 |

Last summer, we introduced you to The Clover, a line of sourced single barrel whiskeys named for famed golfer Bobby Jones and the good luck charm he wore in every tournament. We were impressed with the 10-year-old Tennessee offering, but the lineup also includes a sourced bourbon and rye expression (presumably from MGP). Read on…

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