Facts and Guidelines About Rye Whisky


Jan 21, 2021

Whiskey has a lot of heat, but rye makes it a little spicier and more complex. Rye has a similar flavour as ripe and dried corn-based whiskey but with a bit of nuttiness and spiciness. Rye whiskey has an inherent richness that makes it wonderfully unique.

Like bourbons, to be labelled as rye whisky in the US means the spirits must consist of at least 51% rye grain and aged in charred oak barrels. The following article discusses crucial things to know about this recently revived spirit.

How does rye whiskey compare to other spirits?

Bourbon and scotch have been famous for years. But increasingly, for many whiskey connoisseurs, the drink of choice is a glass of rye whisky.

It is only now that the spirit was revived. Rye whiskey, which is an American spirit, was fading into obscurity. In many liquor goods stores and bars, only a few dusty bottles of this spirit are stocked. But recently, rye whiskey experienced a vigorous rebirth, and drinkers now relish its big and bold flavours. Distillers are now challenged to keep up with the demand.

Rye and Bourbon

Rye, similar to Bourbon, is another American whiskey. These two spirits originated in the same Kentucky distilleries utilizing similar methods. Ingredients in both spirits are made from corn and rye, but the range of ingredients differs. Rye whiskey is made out of at least 51% rye, whereas Bourbon is 51% corn. A high percentage of corn gives Bourbon its sweet and smooth taste. As a rule, both spirits must be aged in new and charred American oak barrels.

Canadian whiskey

Canadian whiskey is sometimes referred to as rye. Canadian distillers use the same grains in rye whiskey, but the finished product results in a smooth blend instead of a straight whiskey.

As a trivia, whiskey from Scotland, Canada, and Japan spell whiskey without an e, whereas whiskey originating from Ireland and the United States usually spells it with an e.

What is the taste profile of rye whiskey?

The addition of rye makes a massive difference in how whiskeys taste. Rye provides a spicy and peppery flavour, which you can taste at the back of the palate. Most bartenders are now returning to rye and using it in cocktails to create a drier style, especially for Whiskey Sours Manhattans and Old-fashioneds.

Bartenders wanted to revive a classic

The current interests in rye are owed to bartenders who re-popularized the spirit. It was due to the constant search to have cocktails prepared the way it was done originally.

Distillers and non-distiller producers

Numerous brands began coming up with rye whiskey. It is all similar, which showcases a dry, piquant flavour. However, some of these brands do not distil the stuff. There is nothing wrong with being a non-distiller producer. But the issue is there is a lack of transparency and, in some cases, downright fraudulence in terms of how certain brands present their products as distilled.


Rye whiskey is having a resurgence in recent years. It is a classic spirit that was almost forgotten. Many bartenders swear to its complex and elegant taste. It has rich layers and it’s a complete joy to drink. Enjoy rye whiskey straight up or infuse it with other spirits for more alternatives and richer flavours. Serve rye whisky with good company any way you like.