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: Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Special Release 2020 – Barrel Proof Rye

By Christopher Null | December 11, 2020 |

A new Single Barrel Special Release has arrived from Jack Daniel’s, and this 2020 offering is a little different than what JD usually puts out. Namely, it’s not a Tennessee Whiskey but rather a rye, bottled straight from the cask in a single barrel format. A previous version of the Heritage Barrel Release series hinted…

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Review: WhistlePig “The Boss Hog VII: Magellan’s Atlantic” Rye Whiskey 17 Years Old 2020

By Christopher Null | November 28, 2020 |

We’re seven years into WhistlePig’s “Boss Hog” releases, and they keep getting stranger. If you thought Boss Hog 6 — distilled using sake-like fermentation techniques and finished in umeshu wine barrels — was something different, get a load of this: The Boss Hog VII: Magellan’s Atlantic is aged for 17 years in American oak, finished in…

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Review: One Eight Distilling District Made Single Barrel Cask Strength Rye

By Drew Beard | November 27, 2020 |

This year, Washington, D.C.’s One Eight Distilling added to their in-house portfolio of “District Made” spirits with two new rye whiskey additions, a bottled-in-bond rye and this bottle, an extremely limited single barrel offering bottled at cask strength and available only at the distillery. Here are the deets from One Eight: This first release District…

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Review: Old Overholt Straight Rye and Bottled-in-Bond Rye (2020)

By Christopher Null | November 20, 2020 |

One of the most venerable names in rye whiskey has received a major refresh: Old Overholt has been rebranded, relabeled, and reproofed, now hitting 86 proof instead of 80, as it has been for years. Per the company, “Bottles will now feature a grumpier likeness of our creator Abe Overholt, a red cap like the…

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Review: Rabbit Hole Founder’s Collection Boxergrail Cask Strength Rye (2020)

By Drew Beard | November 17, 2020 |

We’ve been following Louisville’s Rabbit Hole Distillery since they first hit the crowded American whiskey scene a few years back. The original core lineup included a rye whiskey, dubbed Boxergrail, and now a select few barrels (just seven, in fact) have been chosen for bottling as the distillery’s first ultra-rare Founder’s Collection release. The standard…

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Review: Coppercraft Bourbons, Rye, and Gin

By Christopher Null | November 3, 2020 |

Holland, Michigan-based Coppercraft has had its sights set on being a “grain to glass” distillery since 2012, and today the operation makes at least 8 products. Coppercraft is still working to get there, though, as there’s still plenty of sourced products in the mix, including some that are blends of house-distilled and sourced spirits. Today we…

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Review: Chattanooga Whiskey 99 Rye

By Christopher Null | November 2, 2020 |

Tennessee-based Chattanooga Whiskey continues rolling out expressions, its latest — a permanent addition to the company’s lineup — is Chattanooga Whiskey 99 Rye Malt (aka Chattanooga Whiskey Tennessee Rye Malt). This is distilled by Chattanooga, not sourced, and is aged for more than 3 years in 53 gallon barrels. Some additional info: Chattanooga Whiskey 99…

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Review: 4 Whiskeys from Pinhook, 2019-2020 Releases

By Christopher Null | October 25, 2020 |

I’m not going to lie: The flood of releases, both bourbons and ryes and all named after race horses, is daunting and confusing. There were at least 6 special editions in 2018, and 4 so far in 2020. Keeping track of what’s what isn’t easy. Today we look at 4 releases from Pinhook, all of…

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Review: Old Carter Rye Batch 5

By Drew Beard | October 22, 2020 |

We’ve already checked out a single barrel and small batch bourbon expression from Old Carter, so now it’s time to check out their straight rye whiskey. There haven’t been any single barrel rye expressions yet from the Carters, but as of this writing, they’ve released six different batches of straight rye since starting the brand…

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Review: Buzzard’s Roost Single Barrel Straight Rye

By Drew Beard | October 12, 2020 |

Buzzard’s Roost Sippin’ Whiskey is yet another addition to the seemingly unending line of non-distilling producers crowding the whiskey shelves today. The brand was started by Bourbons Bistro founder Jason Brauner, who personally took part in more than 100 barrel selections over his career and supposedly pioneered the idea of private barrel picks for restaurants.…

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