Power. Flavour. Structure. Spice. These are some of the words that will spring to mind when you sample a delicious American rye whiskey. Though some find the initial taste challenging, American rye will mature like no other whiskey, creating a taste this is simply unforgettable. Many rye whiskies over in the US are used to create wonderful blends - but when sampled alone, rye whiskies can be just as rich and flavourful. The rules and regulations for rye whiskey are similar to that of bourbon or Tennessee whiskey – they must contain at least 51% rye, and they must be distilled at less than 80% ABV, before being matured in white oak casks for at least two years. In following this process to the letter, distilleries all over America are creating bold, daring and dynamic rye whiskies that are beloved all over the world.
If you’re looking for spice, a strong flavour and a complex structure, the distinctive finish of American rye whiskey could be for you. So, what constitutes a rye whiskey?
For a whiskey to be considered rye it must have a mash content of 51% or more, this distinguishes it from bourbons, while if a rye whiskey has been aged for a minimum of two years in charred oak barrels, it will earn the name ‘straight rye’.
You’ll find that American rye whiskies typically carry character spicier profiles when compared to a bourbon, wheat or corn whiskey, containing seasoned notes of cinnamon, clove and caraway, as well as sweet flavours of toffee and vanilla and an undercurrent of oak. Here at The Whisky World, you’ll find a fantastic variety of top rye whiskey brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Knob Creek, Rittenhouse and WhistlePig among many more.