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: Castle & Key Restoration Rye Single Barrel and Batch 3 (2021)

By Drew Beard | April 16, 2022 |

Early last year, Rob covered the first two Restoration Rye releases out of Castle & Key, one of Kentucky’s newest and most talked about distilleries painstakingly resurrected from an iconic and historic site (for that backstory, see Rob’s review). In 2021, the distillery debuted three new batches of Restoration Rye in limited quantities over the…

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Review: Redwood Empire Grizzly Beast and Rocket Top Bottled in Bond

By Drew Beard | April 13, 2022 |

In 2019, Sonoma-based Graton Distillery revamped their offerings with three new whiskeys under the Redwood Empire label, all named for ancient Redwood trees. Last year, the distillery broadened its portfolio further with the addition of a new bottled in bond bourbon and rye, its oldest whiskey releases to date, both of which are also named…

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Review: Great Jones Bourbon, Four Grain Bourbon, and Rye

By Robert Lublin | April 11, 2022 |

Opened in 2021, Great Jones Distillery is Manhattan’s first and only legal distillery since Prohibition. Being so new, they aren’t yet bottling their own whiskey. Their products are currently distilled, aged, and bottled at Black Dirt distillery in upstate New York. Today we will be trying three of their whiskeys, but only the standard bourbon…

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Review: Stoll & Wolfe Keystone Rosen Rye Whiskey 2 Years Old

By Christopher Null | March 28, 2022 |

Back in 2020 we got a first look at Stoll & Wolfe’s Rosen Rye — as an unreleased white whiskey made from Pennsylvania-grown heritage rye of the rosen variety. Now that whiskey has spent two years in the barrel and is finally available, albeit only as a 100-bottle ultra-limited release that’s surely sold out by…

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Review: Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye, Distiller’s Edition, and Cask Proof

By Drew Beard | March 24, 2022 |

While we’ve covered several special releases from Virginia’s Catoctin Creek, including the bizarre and bold Ragnarok Rye and a Bottled in Bond commemorating their first decade of distilling, we’ve never actually looked at the distillery’s core portfolio. Today, we correct that. Outside of a gin and several small production brandies, the standard lineup at Catoctin…

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Review: Lost Lantern Spring 2022 Single Cask Releases

By Christopher Null | March 20, 2022 |

Lost Lantern is a fairly new independent bottler of American whiskeys, and it lately seems to have really hit its stride. For Spring 2022, it’s dropping four new single cask whiskeys, some with some truly unusual finishing applied. We were fortunate enough to get the full quartet — none of which yielded more than 272…

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Review: High Plains Rye

By Christopher Null | March 13, 2022 |

This simply bottled whiskey, purporting to be a “blend of straight rye whiskeys” would probably be easy to gloss over were it not for what comes next on the label: “selected and blended by Jim Rutledge.” Jim, as many readers know, is the former distiller at Four Roses and is now making a name for…

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Review: Templeton Rye 4, 6, and 10 Years Old (2022)

By Christopher Null | February 25, 2022 |

Templeton Rye has been with us since the dawn of the “non-distillery producer” — and the backlash that came along with them. (We first reviewed Templeton way back in 2009, none the wiser and well before people were talking about NDPs in earnest.) Templeton had a lot of street cred when it first launched and…

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Review: Chicken Cock Cotton Club Rye 20 Years Old

By Christopher Null | February 19, 2022 |

Grain & Barrel Spirits, the company behind the Chicken Cock brand’s revival, continues to push the brand upmarket, releasing limited expressions of all kinds of (sourced) whiskeys, revolving around bourbon and rye. This latest expression is a doozy: A 20 year old Canadian rye named in honor of Harlem’s Cotton Club, where the original Chicken…

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Review: Blue Run Golden Rye and High Rye Bourbon 4 Years Old

By Christopher Null | February 7, 2022 |

Blue Run hit the scene with a splash in 2020, a collaboration between Jim Rutledge, the famed former master distiller at Four Roses, and Nike brand designer Devon McKinney. Since then, a smattering of whiskeys have been released by the brand, but they’ve all had a catch: All were sourced, none had any of Rutledge’s real…

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