Rye

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: Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2014 Edition

By Christopher Null | September 15, 2014 |

Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection needs no introduction, I’m sure — this is one of the most well-respected and sought-after annual whiskey collections on the market. Closely allocated and tough to find, you’re best off starting your hunt now. These releases formally hit the market in late September/early October. Thoughts on the 2014 lineup follow. Sazerac…

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Review: Tap Rye Port Finished Canadian Rye Whisky

By Christopher Null | August 20, 2014 |

Astute readers might recall Tap 357 Maple Rye Whisky — made with maple syrup, natch — which we reviewed a few years ago. Now Tap is back, ditching the 357 for its second product, a Canadian rye that’s been intriguingly finished in Port wine barrels. Limited production information is available. This is a blend of pot-distilled Canadian…

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Review: Willett Family Estate Straight Rye Whiskey 2 Years Old

By Rob Theakston | August 11, 2014 |

With Willett’s renaissance running high, people have been waiting with anticipation for the first 100% rye offering from master distiller Drew Kulsveen’s new operations at the distillery.  Thankfully, patience has paid off and the whiskey was worth the wait. This small batch rye is like a rookie baseball player stepping up to the plate and hitting a…

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Review: Journeyman Distillery Whiskeys: Silver Cross, Ravenswood Rye, and Featherbone Bourbon

By Christopher Null | August 9, 2014 |

With over a dozen spirits on offer, Three Oaks, Michigan-based Journeyman Distillery has a specific focus on craft whiskeys, bottling six expressions of the stuff in its permanent lineup. Here we review three — all young and punchy, and all worth sampling at least once. Thoughts follow. Journeyman Distillery Silver Cross Whiskey – Made from a mash…

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Review: Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whisky Bottled in Bond

By Christopher Null | June 30, 2014 |

One of the classic examples of this spirit, Rittenhouse is a 4-plus-year-old, 100 proof bottled-in-bond rye. The winner of all sorts of accolades and awards, the Heaven Hill-produced Rittenhouse Rye Whisky (the company’s spelling) recently updated its packaging with a “1930s inspired” label. (Fun fact: the brand was known as Rittenhouse Square Rye at the time.)…

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Review: Wigle Rye Whiskey Deep Cut and Barrel-Rested Ginever

By Christopher Null | June 26, 2014 |

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Wigle (aka Pittsburgh Distilling Company) is an up-and-coming craft distiller that makes loads of products including, in a page taken from the Tuthilltown/Hudson Distillery playbook, a wide range of different whiskeys — seven of them at current count. Today we look at two of the company’s products, a rye and an aged “ginever,”…

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Review: New England Distilling Gunpowder Rye

By Christopher Null | June 20, 2014 |

Based in Portland, Maine, craft distillery New England Distilling is likely the easternmost distilling operation in the United States (correct me if I’m wrong). It’s a producer of several spirits, including this increasingly popular and available rye. We’ve got more NED reviews in the works, but meanwhile take a gander at Gunpowder, reportedly “inspired by” a…

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Review: High West A Midwinter Nights Dram 1.1313 and The Barreled Boulevardier

By Christopher Null | June 11, 2014 |

We’re finally getting around to reviewing High West’s latest products, a new rye and a second barrel-aged-and-bottled cocktail. These have both been around for a few months, so please forgive our tardiness! High West A Midwinter Nights Dram 1.1313 – Never mind the typo (it should be “Night’s,” no?) and never mind that I’m reviewing…

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Jack Daniel's Rested Rye - bottle shot

Review: Jack Daniel’s Rested Tennessee Rye

By Christopher Null | April 10, 2014 |

Hey, remember a couple of years ago when Jack Daniel’s decided it was going to make a rye whiskey? Give Jack credit: Rather than simply buy someone else’s rye and put their label on it, Jack decided to make its rye itself, legit. The catch: Making whiskey takes time, so in 2012, when the rye…

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Review: Hudson Whiskey Maple Cask Rye

By Christopher Null | December 16, 2013 |

Aka Hudson Maple Rye, this limited edition bottling is the latest from New York’s Tuthilltown Spirits, one of the original and most iconic craft distillers in the U.S. Hudson Maple Cask Rye is born from a deal the company has with a nearby maple syrup maker: They send old bourbon barrels to the syrup guys,…

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