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What Is The Best Rye Whiskey

Best Rye Whiskey Brands Under $50

Ultimate Rye Whiskey Battle Finale! What is the Best Rye Whiskey?

Last Updated on August 22, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Rye is a lighter American whiskey made with a high-rye mash bill. It gives a more intense and distinct flavor. If youve never had rye, youre missing half of your life. With so many different types of rye whiskey out there, you no longer have any excuses to pass up on this beverage.

Dont worry some spirits wont break your bank. Here are our top picks of the best rye whiskeys under $50.

Russells Reserve 6 Year

Aged in charred no. 4 barrels, and then hand-selected by Wild Turkey Master Distiller Eddie Russell , this 6-year-old statement might very well represent the epitome of rye whiskey itself, despite a mash bill of just 51% rye. Specifically, the celebrated spirit serves up ample notes of spice, and often gets compared to rye bread. Balancing out those grainy flavours are smooth notes of molasses and oak. This wont necessarily be the best rye whiskey you ever try , but it will easily rank among the most consistent, dependable, and affordable.

Proof: 90 Proof

Woody Creek Colorado Rye

This whiskey is made from 100% Colorado rye by Woody Creek Distillery. It has a complex and very smooth relish. Its aged in the new American white oak barrel for around two years and bottled at 90 proof. Hints of oak and honey follow the white pepper and sour fruit note on the nose.

As you taste this rye spirit, the spice is balanced and brings out the flavors of caramel, oak, and pine. Woody Creek Colorado rye whiskey is well-rounded and incredibly smooth, with a spice balance.

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Best For Sazeracs: Sazerac Rye

Region: Kentucky | ABV: 45% | Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Citrus, Candied spice

As its name suggests, this rye whiskey is the best pick for Sazeracs. Packed with notes of baking spices, orange and lemon zest, and a hint of vanilla, it’s bright and vibrant. This rye harmonizes beautifully with the classic New Orleans cocktails Peychauds bitters and absinthe, plus it can handle a little dilution from some ice. When using it to make a Sazerac, dont forget the lemon zest garnish. The rye brings out even more of the candied citrus notes in the whiskey, marrying everything together.

Colonel Eh Taylor Straight Rye Whiskey

Best Rye Whiskey Brands Available

Buffalo Traces Colonel E.H. Taylor is a name that needs no introduction, as its various branded bourbon expressions have quickly become some of the more sought-after whiskeys on the market. The rye weve featured here is no exception its all but impossible to find. However, assuming you can get your hands on a bottle, its worth every penny. Aged for around nine to 10 years and made using Buffalo Traces high-rye mashbill, its herby up front, smokey in the palate, and characteristically fresh through the finish. Truly a great sipper to relax and enjoy.

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Q: How Long Does Rye Whiskey Last After Being Opened

Rye whiskey has an indefinite shelf life. Its high proof keeps it from spoiling, but keep the bottle out of sunlight. If youre a collector who stores bottles in boxes or even a storage unit, applying cling wrap around the caps can keep the air from getting in and rye leaking out.

Every product is independently selected and vetted by editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.

Woodford Reserve Kentucky Rye

If youre looking for an all-encompassing rye whiskey, Woodford Reserve is it. Delivering complexity in its flavors yet familiarity in its aromas, the pairing is perfect for a standard Manhattan.

Expect blended notes of tobacco, spice, fruit, and floral, finishing as a complete and balanced Rye for any desire whether neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail of choice.

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Willet Family Estate Small Batch Rye

Led by Drew Kulsveen, Willett is a fantastic distillery. The family, which has distilled for 120 years, reopened their still in 2012 and their made-on-premise rye batches have been just as promising as their older ryes which they purchased from MGP. The younger ryes which are four and five years old at this point have a distinct taste, and drink nicely neat or on ice.

Proof: Varies

Little Book Chapter : The Invitation Blend Components

Best Rye Whiskeys 2021

Cass Anderson

I was fortunate enough to travel to Kentucky and do an in-person tasting with 7th generation master distiller Freddie Noe for the release of Little Book Chapter 5. You can read my full review on it here.

  • 2-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon: this bourbon came off the still at a lower barrel proof , and delivers an almost creamy mouthfeel with a complexity rarely seen from a young age bourbon such as this. Clocks in at 123.6 proof
  • 3-Year-Old Malted 100% Rye Whiskey: Freddie described this mashbill innovation as creating an all-out s**t show in the distillery that had fermenters blowing the tops open, the first time Freddie had ever seen that in his life, until they got the recipe just right. It has a very distinct taste and aroma, and the toasted grain almost adds some nuttiness to the peppery Rye. This is their first mashbill innovation with brown rice. This liquid is 112 proof and went in the barrel at 125-proof. Portions of it were stored on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th floors
  • 5-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon: this 5-year Straight Bourbon bridges the gap between the older and younger whiskeys in Little Book Chapter 5. Freddie made this one within his first three months of officially being a distillery team member and its a special choice for that reason. Theres a strong cream of corn sweetness to be found on the nose
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    Heavens Door Bootleg Vol Iii

    Just in time for the years end, Heavens Door Bootleg Vol. III has arrived. This is the third expression in Bob Dylans Bootleg award-winning bourbon series and its as exclusive as ever.

    There are only 3,949 bottles of Heavens Door Bootleg Vol. III out there and if you find one youll then have to pay $545 for the pleasure of tasting this rarest of whiskeys. It is a cask-strength 13-year-old Kentucky Burboub thats finished in Vino de Naranja Casks from Southern Spain.

    Heavens Door Bootleg Vol. III clocks in at 60.6% ABV and is bottled inside a ceramic bottle featuring Bob Dylans Sunday Afternoon painting. The whiskey has a rich amber color and its smooth across the palate with a complex finish. This is a great gift for any diehard Dylan fan or whiskey lover. Pre-order at ReserveBar by following the link below!

    Features To Keep In Mind When Shopping For Rye


    Reading the label is the best way to decipher whats inside a rye bottle. Straight means that the whiskey is made from 100 percent rye grain. Single barrel refers to the fact that the bottle youre holding contains whiskey from a single cask chosen for its exceptional flavor, not a few casks that have been blended together, and single-barrel is always going to be more top-shelf than its blended counterparts. Barrel proof, unlike most whiskeys which are proofed down with some water before bottling, means how strong the whiskey came out of the barrel is how strong it is in the bottlein other words, higher proof than the average bottle of whiskey.

    Rye Grain Percentage

    Aroma and Flavor

    Rye can vary in its nose , but will almost always have notes of cinnamon and baking spice, a whiskey tasting term that can mean a combination of anything from clove to nutmeg or any other flavors you consider when thinking of apple pie or coffee cake. The spice notes are often accompanied by those of graham cracker, caramel, cherry, and even baking bread. And there can be flavors of dill, says Gillespie, which might show up in the nose, too. Theres a bit of controversy around that. Some distillers like the flavor of dill, and others find it a fault.

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    What Makes Sazerac The Best Rye Whiskey

    There are many reasons why Sazerac Rye is considered the best rye whiskey. For one, it is made with a high percentage of rye, which gives it a unique flavor that is both spicy and citrusy.

    Sazerac is also distilled in small batches, ensuring that each bottle is of the highest quality.

    Additionally, Sazerac Rye is aged in new, charred oak barrels, which helps to give it a deep, rich color. Finally, the distillation process used to create Sazerac Rye results in a smooth, clean finish that is perfect for sipping neat or using in cocktails.

    The multiple expressions also aid in the argument that Sazerac is the best rye on the market.

    Lock Stock & Barrel 16 Year Rye

    Best Rye Whiskey Brands Available

    Another whiskey from the Great White North, Lock Stock & Barrels 16 Year is an option thats great for those who are after big, bold flavors and want to splurge. Double distilled from a 100% Canadian rye mashbill and aged in charred American Oak barrels, the result is a spirit that pours a warm amber color with a sweet-yet-herbal nose and a palate that really brings some richness in the form of brown sugar, toasted pecans, and vanilla.

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    The Best Rye Whiskeys You Need To Try In 2022

    It’s funny how a drink’s popularity goes in cycles. For the first few centuries of our nation’s history, rye was the spirit of choice for all discriminating drinkers. While nearly all alcoholic beverages went underground during Prohibition, rye unlike other spirits somehow never fully recovered after the repeal. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, it was seen as the kind of beverage you drank in your Chevy at the levy with a bunch of good old boys … emphasis on the old.

    Enter the 21st century and with it, hipsters, foodies, and aficionados of all things artisanal. While millennials may have been blamed for killing many aspects of culture, they made up for it by bringing others back from the brink, including classic cocktails and the spirits with which to make them. At long last, rye was having a well-deserved moment. What’s more, according to The New York Times in 2015, it was even considered to be “a young person’s drink” .

    A decade or so into the Rye Revolution, we are practically spoiled for choice when it comes to high-quality options. We couldn’t possibly name all of the good ryes on the market today, but these are a few of our current favorites.

    The 30 Best Rye Whiskey Brands

    Looking for our list of the best ryes for 2020? Head over here!

    If youve only encountered rye whiskey in passing, you may still be familiar with two common descriptions of the spirit: that its bourbons spicier sibling, and that its crucial in the creation of a handful of classic cocktails. While these statements ring true, they also benefit from further elaboration.

    The inclusion of rye in any mash bill indeed lends a spicy kick, but that characteristic can take on many forms, from savory spice, like caraway and black pepper, to sweet baking spices, such as cinnamon and cloves. Another distinguishing factor that defines many rye whiskeys is fresh, herbal notes think dill and mint. Though not always present, these notes complement the grains signature spice, but it would be a stretch to define them as spicy by nature.

    On the cocktail front, its true that rye is vital for any properly made Manhattan or Sazerac, and competently takes the place of bourbon in an Old Fashioned or Boulevardier. But were it not for the revival of those cocktails, theres a high chance that rye would have continued down its path of dwindling popularity to reach near extinction by this point. In short: Rye is essential in these drinks but the drinks themselves are just as important in the whiskeys modern history.

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    What Makes For Good Rye Whiskey

    Being that few palates are exactly the same, asking what makes for good rye whiskey is something of a superfluous question. Nevertheless, the top rye whiskeys will usually go down smooth, and deliver a distinctive tier of character, while the worst ones will yield significant burn, and leave a foul taste behind. Beyond that, its usually a matter of preference. For instance, some drinkers prefer an overly spicy rye, while others like rye that balances notes of spice and sweetness. Meanwhile, cheaper rye whiskeys are usually best served in a mixed drink , as theyre probably going to retain some heat or bitterness due to lack of aging.

    What Are Brands Of Rye Whiskey

    OF COURSE this is the #1 voted “classic” RYE whiskey.
  • Michters US*1 Kentucky Straight Rye.
  • A review of Redemption Rye Whiskey on
  • Straight Rye Whiskey from Rittenhouse, made with 100% Rye.
  • The Whistle Pig 10 Year 100 Proof Rye Whiskey
  • Is a Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey produced by Woodford Reserve.
  • The Sagamore Spirit Signature Rye Whiskey is a smooth and smooth whiskey.
  • It is a straight rye whiskey produced by Sazerac.
  • Whiskey made from Wild Turkey Rye.
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    The 15 Best Rye Whiskeys That Will Make Your Taste Buds Sing

    No liquor cabinet is ever complete without a rye whiskey or two!

    No matter how much Scotch and bourbon you stock, nothing could ever truly replace rye whiskey. Without it, you cant have a proper Sazerac, Manhattan, or Brooklyn cocktail.

    Theres just something wonderful about the grassy, peppery flavors of rye whiskey, the higher hints of spice, oak, and smoke that makes for an elegant drinking experience.

    So of course were here to help you stock your cabinet with all the best rye whiskeys around.

    Take the time to peruse our list below, even test out a few options for yourself. Youll find that having a bottle or two of rye whiskey on hand can make all the difference next time you want a glass of something strong and tasty of an evening!

    Why Rye Whiskey?

    You might be wondering, Whats so great about rye whiskey? Why should I choose it over other whiskeys?

    Im so glad you asked!

    Rye whiskey is made with a majority of rye in the mash. In the U.S., that means it needs to be made with at least 51% rye. Canadian rye whiskey doesnt need to adhere to that standard, though, and can have an unspecified amount of rye.

    The great thing about rye whiskey is that the high content of rye gives it a spicy, peppery, grassy flavor that pairs beautifully with the subtler notes of smoke, oak, and fruits. It tends to be more aggressive than bourbon , and so stands up to mixers better. For this reason, its included in a number of cocktails, including:

    Best Blend: Pops Canadian Whisky

    KL Wines

    Region: Quebec via Texas | Grain: Corn, rye | ABV: 42% | Tasting Notes: Cereal, warmth, vanilla

    This is another Canadian-ish bottle. The distillery was founded in 1943, South of the border, but still leans heavily on Canadian-made, 14-year-old ryes as the star of their blends.

    Its Canadian by birth certificaterye is carefully made in Quebec before its brought down to Austin to blend with limestone-heavy Texas water and brought to 42 percent proof. No sugars, flavorings, or colorings are added.

    Despite a large amount of rye, the addition of younger corn whiskies makes this a light, easy-sipping whisky well suited to a Manhattan. Expect subtler spice, balanced out with cereal and sweet vanilla notes.

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    Knob Creek Straight Rye Whiskey

    Knob Creek is a well-known whiskey brand, and with good reason.

    It offers a quality, bold, 100 proof Straight Rye Whiskey at a reasonable price, and you wont have to forgo any of the classic rye flavors you love, such as spicy rye, sweet vanilla, and undertones of oak.

    The aroma is lacking a bit with the whiskey, as youll get some herbal notes without the complexity that other whiskey brands on this list offer.

    However, if you find the taste of whiskey significantly more important than its aroma, this likely wont be an issue for you.

    Its also a little less spicy and punchy, especially for rye, but instead keeps the flavors balanced and light, which some drinkers prefer.

    Straight Rye Whiskey 100 Proof

    Best rye whiskey brands to drink in 2021

    Introduced by James E. Pepper & Co Distillery, this rye is a very underpriced whiskey, especially for bottom-shelf ryes. Its made with non-chill filtered whiskey, which adds a bit of flavor and body to this spirit. The flavor notes of this whiskey are sweet and floral, with hints of sour fruits, yet it tastes like marshmallows. Dark chocolate and cinnamon round out the flavor.

    If youre interested in trying out this spirit, make sure you can take the heat as its bottled at 100 proof. This one is an award-winning whiskey bagging the gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits competition in 2021.

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    Kyr No8 Single Malt Rye Whiskey

    Kyrö are one of the funnest distilleries around. This select group of Finish folk produce spirits with the motto in rye we trust. Their commitment to the grain has produced some spectacular spirits, their whiskey is no exception. This bottle is slick with honey and vanilla with the right amount of dry pepper to keep you honest.

    Available from:

    A bottled-in-bond whisky from the much respected Heaven Hill Distillery, this distinctively Pensylvannian bottle is thick with chocolate orange and baking spices dominating. One to sip and savour as an after dinner treat.

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