The 13 Best Rye Whiskeys

Rye whiskey has become a favorite spirit of many drinkers. The reason why is because it is smooth, flavorful, and full-bodied. There are many types of ryes out there, but some are better than others. Which ones should you try?

Rye Whiskey is a type of whiskey made from fermented grain mash (barley or wheat) that contains at least 51% rye. This makes it a bit sweeter than other whiskeys.

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Rye whiskey is a great choice for those who want something sweet and smooth. It’s also one of the best choices if you like to drink straight up. You can enjoy this spirit neat or with a splash of water. If you prefer your drinks on the rocks, then you will love this style of whiskey.

These days, there is a massive range of different brands of rye whiskey available. From classic blends to single malts, these spirits offer a wide variety of flavors. So which ones should you buy? We have compiled a list of our favorites below.

Enjoy!

OUR TOP PICK

New Riff Distilling Rye

Straight from the distilleries of Kentucky, New Riff's Rye whiskey is a great whiskey for people who love a little punch in their spirit.

This bourbon is aged in barrels for 12 years before being bottled. It offers a rich aroma and flavor that pairs well with food as well.

Kentucky is famous for its distilleries, so it takes something very special to stand out from a state that already prides itself on top-quality spirits. And even though some pretty stiff competition, New Riff manages to make an amazing impression from just one glass.

If you're looking for a new brand of rye whiskey, look no further than New Riff. Their products are all handcrafted by master distillers using only premium ingredients.

They use a combination of corn, barley, and wheat mashes to produce their delicious ryes. They also age their whiskeys in Bourbon barrels to give them more depth and complexity.

Their rye whiskeys are always 113 proof and come in both traditional and small-batch varieties. They pride themselves on making small batches of exceptional quality spirits that are truly unique.

They also offer a few non-whiskey options such as vodka and gin, in case you want to branch out your flavors.

If you're looking for a delicious whiskey that packs a punch, look no further than New Riff Distilling.

EDITORS CHOICE

Basil Hayden's Dark Rye

Basil Hayden's distilling process dates back almost as old as the United States itself, so you know that it must have something special going for it.

And with such a rich flavor packed into it, their dark rye whiskey certainly shows that history and experience, in all its delicious glory.

In addition to being produced in Kentucky, Basil Hayden's Dark Rye is distilled by Heaven Hill. For most consumers, this means they get to enjoy a whiskey that's been aged in barrels for longer than most.

Whilst this whiskey, like all the best whiskeys, is based and fully prepared in Kentucky, this dark rye spirit takes some of the best elements from distilleries and recipes from across the continent, from the obvious experience from Kentucky distilleries, as well as flavors from California, Florida, and even Basil Hayden's distillery based in Alberta, Canada.

It's not hard to see why this dark rye whiskey stands out amongst other brands. The taste has an incredible balance between sweetness and bitterness, which makes it perfect for sipping neat or mixed with ice.

Since it isn't labeled as a blend, it's probably safe to assume that this whiskey is 100% rye. But what makes it so special? Well, they've managed to add a ton of flavor to this spirit without overpowering it.

The result is a smooth whiskey that offers up a complex array of flavors.

It tastes like a mix between sour cherries and blackberries, along with hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg, with some heavy elements of some holiday seasonal flavors that make this a perfect winter spirit.

You can pick up those notes easily when sipping this drink neat, but it comes alive when mixed with other foods.

BEST VALUE

Russell's Reserve 6-Year Rye Whiskey

For a rye whiskey that will feel beautifully smooth going down, you'll want to grab a glass of Russel's Reserve rye whiskey, aged to a finely tuned 6 years for just the right taste and experience that Russel's reserve wants you to experience.

This whiskey is distilled using only pure grain rye grown in America, giving it a strong flavor profile. It then spends time in charred oak barrels, where it picks up layers of flavor before it's bottled and stored under lock and key until you open it.

Like many of the finest American whiskeys, Russel's Reserve uses a combination of new and used barrels, meaning that each bottle has a little bit of history. This gives them a richer, more flavorful whiskey that may be slightly less potent than others.

When you buy a bottle of Russel's Reserve 6-year Rye Whiskey, you're getting a fantastic product that's sure to satisfy any whiskey lover's palate.

Aged for 6 years in American Oak Barrels, Russel's Reserve Rye Whiskey is a great value if you're looking to try one of the world's finest ryes.

It's not the strongest tasting rye whiskey, but it does pack plenty of character and depth. If you love rye whiskey, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised at how much this one delivers.

RUNNER UP

Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskey

If you're looking for a sweet and spicy whiskey that's full of flavor and aroma, look no further than Elijah Craig straight rye whiskey. It's a very popular choice amongst bourbon drinkers who appreciate a good rye whiskey.

One of the top 10 Whiskey award contenders by Whiskey Advocate, you know that this particular name is going to be something special. And that's because it's made by one of the most famous names in American whiskey making.

Elijah Craig straight rye whiskey is a true classic. It was created in 1892 at the now-closed Buffalo Trace distillery, and since then it's been continuously produced.

As such, it's well known for its rich, unique flavor, and it's the favorite whiskey among rye lovers and fans of old-fashioned style spirits.

Each batch of Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskeys starts with a mash bill composed of 60% rye grains. Then, it gets distilled, making them ready to consume immediately after bottling.

You can find Elijah Craig Straight Rye Whiskeys anywhere liquor stores are located. They come in lots of different styles, including single barrel, double barrel, and even triple barrel options.

RUNNER UP

High West Double Rye Whiskey

If you like your rye spicy, then you'll love this smooth Whiskey from High West, one of the best distilleries found in Utah.

With an ABV of 46%, High West Double Rye is easy-drinking, yet complex enough to impress anyone who tries it. The whiskey features notes of vanilla, caramel, spice, and smoke.

If you're looking to get some quality whiskey without spending a ton of money on it, High West Double Rye Whiskey is worth trying.

You'll notice that this whiskey is quite thick when poured into a shot glass or tumbler. That's because it contains so much alcohol, which makes it perfect for sipping slowly as opposed to gulping it down all at once.

Even though it's got a high alcohol content, it's still relatively light and refreshing. So, you can enjoy it during warm weather months, or while hanging out in the backyard.

This is one of those whiskeys where you don't need to add anything else to bring out its flavors, just on the rocks is the ideal way to serve this rye whiskey. You just need to take your time with it and let it mellow in your mouth before swallowing.

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Whistlepig 10-Year Old Straight Rye

For a rye whiskey that has been aged finely, and proven to be a perfect 100, then you'll want a taste of Whistlepig's straight rye whiskey. Their distillery in Vermont has put something into this one!

Aged in new charred oak barrels for ten years, this whiskey is a great addition to any collection. When mixed with ice, it creates a delicious drink that will make you feel like you've traveled back in time.

When served neat, the whiskey tastes slightly sweeter, but when it's mixed with water, it becomes more balanced. As with other ryes, you'll need to pour carefully. Don't go pouring it into a large glass if you plan to mix it with ice.

To truly appreciate this whiskey, try it neat first. But if you do decide to mix it, use only 1/4 ounce per glass. You'll be rewarded with a wonderful combination of sweet, sour, and smoky flavors.

Try serving it in a chilled martini glass instead of a crystal decanter. This will allow the whiskey to breathe and release its aromas better.

Also, remember that this whiskey is very strong. If you're not used to drinking whiskey, start slow. Take it easy, and this whiskey will quickly become one of your favorites.

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Rittenhouse Straight Rye

One of the most popular brands of straight rye whiskey today comes from Philadelphia. Rittenhouse Straight Rye is made by Samuel Adams Brewing Company.

It's a true classic and a favorite amongst many people around the world. It's also available in a variety of different types, including single barrel, single pot still, and even single cask offerings.

The single-barrel version offers up a lot of flavors. It's rich, full-bodied, and incredibly smooth. The single cask option is similar to the single barrel, except that it was matured in charred American white oak casks.

Both of these versions offer a bit more complexity than the regular bottling. Plus, they have a higher percentage of rye over bourbon. This means there are fewer added sugars to mask the overall flavor profile.

If you prefer to keep things simple, then opt for the standard bottle. This one is bottled at 90 proof, and it's ready to pour right away. It's almost too good to wait another day to enjoy!

RUNNER UP

Redemption Straight Rye

If rye is the aim of the game, then you'll want to get as much of it in your whiskey as possible (it isn't called rye whiskey for nothing, after all!).

Whilst a whiskey only needs to have approximately 51% rye to be considered a rye variety. Redemption goes above and beyond with its straight rye bottled whiskey, with a rye content of 95%!

This particular whiskey has been distilled twice, giving it a unique character. It's a little sweeter than some of the other whiskeys on our list. And because of this, it doesn't benefit from being mixed with ice. Instead, serve it straight from the bottle.

But don't worry too much. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy this amazing whiskey. Try mixing it with soda or ginger ale, or simply adding it to an old-fashioned cocktail.

You won't regret trying this whiskey out. You may just find yourself coming back for more.

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Old Overholt Straight Rye

Despite amazing rye distilleries popping up in every state across the country, you'll always find yourself returning to Kentucky.

Old Overholt is the oldest distillery in America, having been founded way back in 1797. Their products include bourbons, whiskies, vodka, rum, brandy, and moonshine.

And their line of rye whiskeys includes two varieties: Old Overholt Straight Rye and Old Overholt Honey Bourbon. Both are fantastic options.

However, we like the honey version best. It's so smooth, yet surprisingly complex.

There's a reason why this whiskey is so well-loved. It's great on its own, but it can also be paired with nuts, chocolate, coffee, or peppermint candy — a snacker’s rye, to be sure!

So if you're looking for something special, but aren't sure which one to go for, then try this one. You won't regret it.

RUNNER UP

Michter's 10-Year Single Barrel Rye

If aged is how you love your rye whiskey, then you owe it to yourself to check out Michter's 10-year-aged variety.

Originally known as Shenk's, Michter's is one of the oldest whiskey companies that is still producing top-quality spirits some 200 years after it was founded.

Michter's single barrel rye whiskey is made using 100% rye grain and comes in both a small batch and large batch. The small batch is available year-round, while the larger batch is released once or twice per year.

We recommend going with the smaller batch since it's cheaper; however, the big batch is worth splurging on. It's aged longer than any other single barrel rye whiskey on the market. If you're into aging, then you should add this to your collection.

Try mixing this with fresh lemon juice to create an awesome twist on the classic Manhattan. Or, pair it with chocolate or mint candy.

It's no surprise that such a high-quality product would have a high price tag. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. After all, this is what makes this whiskey so special.

If you're willing to pay a premium for something truly exceptional, then this is the option for you. If you're going to splurge, do it now. Because this is truly worth it.

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Sazerac Rye

If you're looking for inexpensive rye that packs a punch, look no further than Sazerac Rye. This American-made whiskey company offers three different kinds of rye: regular, sweet, and spicy.

All three come in 15.5 oz bottles, and they're priced at $17.99 each. That's lower than most other ryes, including Michter's 10-Year. However, that doesn't mean the quality is inferior. Quite the contrary.

This is the real deal. And because it's distilled from 100% rye grain, it has a slightly sweeter flavor profile than most other ryes.

Sazeracs rye is produced at a relatively young age (around four years), making it perfect for beginners. It's also bottled at less than 70 proof, making it easier to drink. Many people enjoy drinking this straight.

So whether you prefer bourbon or scotch, there's bound to be something here that will suit your tastes.

This is the kind of whiskey that stands out above others, even those that cost more. So if you want to be able to say, "I tried everything," then grab a bottle of Sazerac before it sells out.

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Old Forester

When it comes to rye whiskey, Old Forester is probably the best-known brand around. It's been around since 1871, and it's still owned by Jim Beam today.

That means that whenever you buy a bottle of Old Forester, you're getting top-notch quality. Since Old Forester is one of the first brands to use rye in its production process, it's easy to see why it's become so popular over the past few decades.

In terms of pricing, Old Forester is generally considered to be expensive. But while Old Forester might be pricey, it's well worth it. Not only does it offer excellent value, but it's also very good overall.

There are quite a few things to love about this particular brand. For starters, the price isn't that bad. You can get a 750 ml bottle for just under $30. And that's a bargain compared to some other whiskeys that sell for hundreds of dollars.

But the real reason we like Old Forester is that it's simply fantastic. Its flavor profile is unique and balanced. Plus, it's got great complexity. To put it bluntly, Old Forester is delicious.

So grab yourself a bottle today to enjoy yourself!

RUNNER UP

Knob Creek Straight Rye

If you've ever enjoyed a sip of rye whiskey, chances are that you know the name, Knob Creek. The distillery was founded by George Garvin Knobloch back in 1890, and it quickly became known as one of the finest examples of the style.

Today, the Knob Creek Distilling Company produces both bourbon and rye whiskeys. And their flagship line — which includes the Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey — is definitely among the best on the market.

When it comes to flavor, Knob Creek rye whiskeys are pretty much identical. There are slight differences between the two, but the main difference is that the barrel-aged version has a bit more vanilla and oak notes. Otherwise, they're almost exactly alike.

So if you haven't already done so, make sure to try Knob Creek's Straight Rye. It's simply fantastic.

Conclusion

The 13 Best Rye Whiskeys

We hope you found our list of the 13 best rye whiskeys helpful. We recommend that you start with the ones listed below, especially if you're new to the world of rye.

Once you've tried all of these, you'll have an idea of what rye whiskeys you'd consider buying in the future. And once you find your favorite, you'll never go back to anything else again.

So give one or two of these a shot today. You won't regret it

Mandy Winters

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