Rye whiskey is a type of American whiskey that is made from at least 51% rye grain. It is an important ingredient in a number of classic cocktails, such as the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned.
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Rye whiskey has a characteristic spicy kick that can come from savory spices like caraway and black pepper, or from sweet baking spices like cinnamon and cloves. In this article, we will recommend the best rye whiskey brands that you should try.
How Rye Whiskey Is Made?
Rye whiskey is made by distilling rye grain that has been mashed and fermented. The mash bill must be at least 51% rye, but the remaining percentage can be made up of other grains like corn or barley. Once the grain has been distilled, it is then aged in charred oak barrels. The length of aging will depend on the distillery, but most rye whiskeys are aged for at least 2 years.
Rye Whiskey Is the Cousin of Bourbon
Rye whiskey gets its characteristic spicy flavor from the inclusion of rye grain in the mash bill. The spice can take on many forms, from savory spice, like caraway and black pepper, to sweet baking spices, such as cinnamon and cloves. The flavor of rye whiskey also depends on the other grains that are used in the mash bill and the length of aging.
Rye whiskey is often darker in color than other types of American whiskey because it is usually aged for a longer period of time. The longer a whiskey is aged, the more color it will develop from contact with the oak barrel. Rye whiskey that has been aged for a shorter period of time will be lighter in color and have less flavor than older rye whiskeys.
Rye Whiskey Is Crucial in The Creation of A Handful of Classic Cocktails
Rye whiskey is vital for any properly made Manhattan or Sazerac. Manhattan’s are traditionally made with sweet vermouth and bitters, while Sazeracs use absinthe or pastis as a rinse before adding rye whiskey, bitters, simple syrup, and a lemon twist.
Rye competently takes the place of bourbon in an Old Fashioned. It should be noted that many distilleries have been forced to source from or contract distill their rye at external facilities due to high demand and limited production capacity.
Here is a list of our favorite Rye Whiskies. Don’t forget to check our recommended Scotch whiskies too!
Alberta Premium Rye Whiskey
Alberta Distillers is a Canadian company that produces Rye Whiskey. The company uses a recipe of 100 percent unmalted rye. The key to its production is a cocktail of proprietary enzymes. The company’s products are available in Canada and the United States.
The key to its production is a cocktail of proprietary enzymes. The company’s products are available in two sizes: 750 ml and 1 L. The product is also available in a gift set that includes a glass and two coasters.
Alberta Distillers’ rye whiskey has a spicy aroma with notes of black pepper and cloves. The flavor is intense and fiery, with hints of vanilla and maple syrup. The finish is long and warming. If you’re looking for a delicious, high-quality rye whiskey, look no further than Alberta Distillers.
Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whisky
Rye whisky is having a moment and Rittenhouse is leading the charge. This straight Rye whisky from Heaven Hill Distillery is 50 percent ABV and made in Kentucky. It’s a high-rye whiskey, which means it uses at least 51 percent rye grain in the mash bill (the recipe of grains used to make the whisky). Let’s see how it stacks up.
Nose: Caramel, toffee, baking spices, clove, oak
Taste: Caramel, baking spices, white pepper, oak
Finish: Medium-long with lingering sweetness
Overall: Rittenhouse is a delicious and well-balanced straight Rye whisky. Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whisky is a delicious example of a high-rye bourbon. It’s well-balanced with sweet and spice notes that make it perfect for sipping or for mixing into cocktails.
Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskey
If you’re a fan of rye whiskey, you’ll want to check out Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskey. This new offering from Heaven Hill is 47-percent ABV and features flavors of butterscotch and cherry.
Rye whiskey is known for its spicy flavor profile, and Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskey is no exception. This whiskey gets its spiciness from the rye grain that it’s made from. In addition to the rye, this whiskey also contains barley and wheat. The combination of these three grains gives Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskey its unique flavor profile that’s sure to please even the most discerning of palates.
In addition to its flavor, another thing that makes Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskey stand out is its alcohol content. At 47-percent ABV, this whiskey is on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to alcohol content. This means that it packs a punch and is sure to give you a warm feeling on a cold day.
Tattersall Distilling Straight Rye Whiskey
This unique spirit is unlike any other and Tattersall Distilling does it best. From Minnesota, this distillery gives their 100 percent rye (85 percent unmalted, 15 percent malted) whiskey two runs through a pot still before aging it for a minimum of two years. The result is a distinctively flavored whiskey that is sure to please even the most discerning of palates.
This whiskey has a bold nose with hints of cloves, anise, and freshly cut grass. There is also a slight sweetness that is reminiscent of honey. Overall, the nose is inviting and provides a good indication of the flavor profile to come.
As expected based on the nose, this whiskey is very rye-forward. The unmalted rye gives it a bit of spice while the malted rye provides some sweetness and body. The flavors are well-balanced and complex, making for a very enjoyable drinking experience.
The finish is long and lingering with hints of vanilla and oak. The flavors from the palate dissipate slowly, leaving you wanting more.
Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Woodford Reserve is one of the most respected names in the world of bourbon, and their rye whiskey is every bit as good as their flagship bourbon expression. Distilled from a 53-percent rye mash bill, this rye shows gentle spice and exceptional balance across nose and palate. The distillers at Woodford Reserve have outdone themselves with this outstanding rye whiskey.
Nose: creamy vanilla, toasted oak, gentle spice
Palate: rich and full-bodied, with flavors of toasted oak, dark chocolate, and mild spices
Finish: long and lingering, with a perfect balance of sweetness and spice
Woodford Reserve’s Distiller’s Select Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is an outstanding example of a high-quality rye whiskey. With its beautiful balance of sweet and spicy flavors, it’s sure to please any fan of American whiskey.
Valentine Distilling Co. Mayor Pingree Orange Label Rye
alentine Distilling Co. is well-known for its delicious spirits, and Mayor Pingree is no exception. This rye whiskey is triple pot distilled and then left to rest in a barrel for at least four years. The result is a smooth, well-rounded flavor that is perfect for any occasion.
The triple pot distillation process helps to bring out the natural flavors of the rye, while the extended rest in barrel allows those flavors to mellow and round out.
Despite its relatively short time on the market, Mayor Pingree has already made quite a name for itself. If you’re looking for a smooth, well-rounded spirit, Mayor Pingree is definitely worth trying.
Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Knob Creek’s rye whiskey is a top-notch option for whiskey lovers who want a spirit that delivers on both flavor and potency. At 50 percent ABV, this rye is no joke, but it’s also incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Whether you’re sipping it neat or on the rocks, Knob Creek’s rye is a great option for anyone looking for a high-quality rye whiskey.
On the nose, Knob Creek’s rye whiskey has a spicy aroma with hints of cloves and peppers. The taste is equally spicy, with flavors of cloves, ginger, and black pepper coming through. The finish is long and dry, with lingering notes of black pepper and oak.
New York Distilling Co. Ragtime Rye
New York Distilling Co.’s Ragtime Rye is a high-rye whiskey that features a mash bill of 72 percent New-York-grown rye. Bottled at 45.2 percent ABV, the whiskey has aromas of red berry, cinnamon, and sumac.
Ragtime Rye is a deep amber color with a slight reddish hue. On the nose, I immediately picked up on aromas of red berries, cinnamon, and sumac. There was also a faint hint of oak in the background. The first thing I noticed when tasting this whiskey was the high alcohol content. It was very spicy with flavors of cinnamon and cloves upfront, followed by a long finish of oak and vanilla.
Overall, I enjoyed New York Distilling Co.’s Ragtime Rye. It’s a nice change of pace from other high-rye whiskeys on the market, which tend to be much more assertive in terms of flavor and aroma.
Stellum Fibonacci Blend #1
One of the things that makes the Stellum Fibonacci Rye Whiskey Blend #1 so unique is the fact that it is made up of six different rye whiskeys. Each of these whiskeys brings something different to the table, contributing to the overall flavor and complexity of the blend.
Εach rye whiskey in the blend brings something different to the table in terms of both aroma and flavor. One thing that ties all 6 whiskeys together is the fact that fruit remains a common theme throughout the blend.
Citrus fruits, stone fruits, berries, tropical fruits…all are represented in this delighful cask-strength whiskey. The fruitiness helps to balance out the other flavors present in the blend, resulting in a well-rounded and enjoyable experience from start to finish.
Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey
Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey is a Maryland classic that has been produced by Heaven Hill since 1987. This rye was first distilled in Maryland and has been a favorite of whiskey enthusiasts for many years. The unique flavor profile of this rye is achieved through the use of hand-selected grains and a special aging process.
In 1987, Heaven Hill acquired the rights to Pikesville Rye Whiskey. Since then, Heaven Hill has continued to produce this rye using the same methods that have been used for over 100 years. The unique flavor of Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey comes from the use of hand-selected grains and a special aging process.
Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey is perfect for enjoying neat or on the rocks. It can also be used in cocktails calling for a rye whiskey. This whiskey has a complex flavor that is enjoyable for both novice whiskey drinkers and aficionados alike.
Cascade Moon 13 Year Old Rye Whisky
The Tennessee-based distillery has been pushing the envelope since it was founded in 1870, experimenting with different types of whiskey and aging processes to create unique, one-of-a-kind spirits. Their latest release, Cascade Moon, is a 13 year old rye whisky that’s sure to delight any fans of the craft.
What makes Cascade Moon so special? For starters, it’s distilled and aged for four years in oak barrels, giving it a deep, rich flavor. It’s then transferred to a second set of barrels made from American white oak for an additional nine years of aging. This double barrel aging process gives the whisky its distinctive amber color and unique flavor profile.
The resulting spirit is unlike any other rye whisky on the market today. It has a complex flavor that’s at once sweet and spicy, with notes of vanilla, honey, and cinnamon. The finish is long and smooth, with just a hint of oak tannins lending it a drying quality.
Russell’s Reserve 6 Year Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Russell’s Reserve 6 Year Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is a fruit-forward and rich whiskey, with just a hint of prickly spice. The whiskey is made using a proprietary yeast strain that adds a unique flavor profile to the final product. The 6 year aging process allows the flavors of the rye to married together perfectly.
Appearance: The whiskey is a deep amber color with golden highlights.
Nose: The nose is full of ripe fruit, with hints of vanilla and oak. There is also a faint hint of spice in the background.
Taste: The taste is very smooth, with a sweet fruitiness up front followed by a slightly spicy finish. The oak is present throughout, but it is not overpowering.
Overall, Russell’s Reserve 6 Year Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is an excellent rye whiskey. It has a complex flavor profile that is well-balanced and incredibly smooth.
Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
This whiskey is aged for a decade in newly charred, American white oak barrels. Bottled straight from the barrel, Michter’s 10 Year Single Barrel Rye is non-chill filtered which allows it to retain all of the natural flavors imparted by the extended maturation process.
The quality of this whiskey is unquestionable. A distinct cherry aroma meets sweet and intense herbs on the nose. Add in nuanced notes from oak and maturation and the spirit’s silky texture creates a rye whiskey experience like no other.
This small batch whiskey is produced using a unique mash bill that results in a flavor unlike any other rye whiskey on the market today. The high percentage of rye in the mash bill gives this whiskey its signature spiciness while the addition of barley malt provides sweetness and balance. The end result is a rich and complex spirit that is perfect for sipping neat or enjoying in your favorite cocktails.
Hughes Bros. Belle of Bedford
This rye whiskey was distilled at the MGP distillery and selected, proofed, and bottled by Pennsylvania’s Hughes Bros. Distillers. Keep reading to see what we thought!
Nose: Citronella, cherrywood, lemon oil, and peppermint represent just a few of the aromas.
Taste: The flavor is well-rounded with prominent notes of cherry and oak. The rye spice is present but not overwhelming, and there’s a nice sweetness that lingers on the palate.
Finish: The finish is long and pleasant with a hint of mint.
We enjoyed this whiskey neat as well as in cocktails. It’s a versatile spirit that would make a great addition to any home bar. If you’re a fan of rye whiskey, we think you’ll enjoy Hughes Bros. Belle of Bedford!
Corbin Cash 1917 Merced Rye
Corbin Cash 1917 Merced Rye is a unique and flavorful rye whiskey that was carefully crafted using the best ingredients available. This attention to detail results in a smooth, complex whiskey that showcases the best of California’s terroir.
Very dark for a rye whiskey; closer to a bourbon in color. There’s a thick meniscus, and it legs take their sweet time forming.
Nose: A bit of ethanol greets you at first blush, but it quickly dissipates to reveal an intensely floral bouquet with prominent rose petals, joined by baking spices and ripe red fruits.
Palate: The palate entry is semisweet, spicier and more intense than the nose predicted; midpalate tastes feature clove, anise and very ripe cherry flavors. Concludes semisweet, minerally and astringent.
Overall, this is a delicious rye whiskey that will appeal to fans of bolder styles. The high proof is well integrated, and the powerful flavors are perfectly balanced. If you can find a bottle, it’s well worth picking up.
Pinhook ‘Rye Munny’ Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
This is a great whiskey to sip on its own. The flavor profile is well-rounded and complex, making it enjoyable to drink neat. If you’re someone who typically adds water or ice to your whiskey, we recommend trying it neat first to see if you like it. You may find that you don’t need anything else!
Add it to a cocktail: Rye whiskey is known for being versatile in cocktails. It can be used in classic recipes like the Old Fashioned or Manhattan, or in more modern concoctions. If you’re looking for something different, try adding Pinhook ‘Rye Munny’ to a Boulevardier or an Vieux Carre.
Old Overholt Bonded Straight Rye Whiskey
America’s oldest whiskey brand has undergone a bit of a formula shake-up, and the results are impressive. The core expression of Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey has gained a few extra proof points, making it even more enjoyable than before. Let’s take a closer look at this iconic whiskey and see what makes it so special.
Old Overholt is aged for a minimum of two years in charred oak barrels, which gives it a deep amber color and robust flavor. The recent formula change has resulted in a slightly higher alcohol content for the core expression of Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey. It is now bottled at 40% ABV (80 proof), up from the previous 38% ABV (76 proof). This higher proof gives the whiskey a bit more of a kick, but does not sacrifice any of the smoothness or flavor that made Old Overholt famous in the first place.
Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
The rye is balanced, with an overall sweet profile accented by fresh herbs and faint savory spices. The herbal notes start out as a top note, with the menthol coming through first.
The mid-palate is where the sweet notes of honey and vanilla come through, before the rye spices take over on the back-end. The finish is long and lingering, with the rye spiciness slowly fading away. Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey is a delicious example of a well-made rye whiskey.
Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey
The Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey is produced at the Buffalo Trace distillery in Kentucky. The distillery is known for its high quality and unique whiskeys. The Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey is made with a mash of rye, corn, and barley. It is aged in new oak barrels for a minimum of four years.
On the nose, it has aromas of vanilla, oak, and rye. On the palate, it is medium-bodied with flavors of honey, rye, and oak. The finish is long and dry with notes of oak and rye. The Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey is a high quality whiskey that is perfect for sipping neat or on the rocks.
It has a complex flavor profile that will appeal to whiskey lovers. If you are looking for a unique whiskey to add to your collection, the Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey is a great option.
Old Forester Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Old Forester Rye was first laid down by Master Distiller Chris Morris in 2003 using the same yeast strain as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye. The whiskey then spends a minimum of six years maturing in new, charred oak barrels before being bottled at 90 proof.
On the nose, Old Forester Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey offers aromatic notes of clove and allspice with a hint of fresh mint. On the palate, flavors of orange zest and vanilla give way to a long, warming finish with just a touch of oak tannins.
Rye whiskies are known for their distinctively spicy flavor profile, and our new Old Forester expression is no exception. If you’re looking for a rye whiskey that delivers on flavor without being overpowering, this is the perfect bottle for you.