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: 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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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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