Rye whiskeys come in two forms: Canadian and American.
These whiskeys, however, are aged to perfection, and they must contain (by law) a mash of 51% rye produced in America, while Canada does not have a requirement. Canadian rye whiskeys, however, tend to have a higher concentration of rye mash in their blends.
What Makes the Best Rye Whiskeys Compare to Bourbon?
A rye whiskey is made primarily from rye grain mash, lending spicy and fruity notes to the final product. Bourbon, on the other hand, has 51% corn mash used, which creates sweeter notes, a fuller-bodied texture, and it is predominantly favored in the southern states of the U.S.
What makes rye whiskeys unique is that they are soft and subtle. However, a top rye whiskey is typically one that has been aged for several years or even decades. This allows the rye to impart its natural fruitiness and spice into the final whiskey and gives it that alluring amber glow that most people crave from an expensive whiskey.
What is the Most Popular Rye Whiskey?
You might be surprised to find that there are several top rye whiskeys on the market today. Some have been aged only ten years, while others have been on the shelf for 20 years.
One thing you will notice, however, is the packaging. Five years ago, most rye whiskeys were sold in slim bottles. Today, more manufacturers are using rustic, spicy spirits that are more rye-tasting, and they are put into clear bottles to show their amber richness.
Also, whiskey drinkers today prefer authenticity. Because of this, the top-rated rye whiskeys are those that focus on the age-old techniques of rye mash and massive aging to boost the flavor of the rye grain in every sip.
4 of the Highest Rated Rye Whiskeys to Try (and Love)
- Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey
Some would say The Old Overholt is the best rye whiskey made because it is extremely affordable and incredibly smooth —you’ll want to sip all day long! The bottle is ideal for the drinker moving away from bourbons to rye. The first bottle was made back in 1810 by Abraham Overholt. It is delicious when served neat in an Old Fashioned glass.
- Angel’s Envy Rye
Angel’s Envy Rye is a new whiskey to the set of other rye-based whiskeys on the market, and it was released by Lincoln Henderson, the man behind other brands like Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniel’s Gentlemen Jack.
The Angel’s Envy Rye is bold and spicy, but still very sweet and sophisticated. The texture is creamy and coats your tongue perfectly, leaving you with a smooth, velvet finish.
What makes this brand unique is that they let the whiskey rest in port wine barrels before it is bottled, which imparts notes of richness and fruit.
- Sazerac Rye 18-Year-Old
Aged for 18 years, the Sazerac Rye is a difficult to find option. It is 90-proof alcohol and quite robust. Compared to other top rye whiskeys, it is better known for its use in cocktails, such as the Sazerac cocktail. This is one of the oldest American cocktails, and you are guaranteed to see it at a local watering hole in New Orleans. The flavor of the Sazerac is involved, yet tantalizing. This aged rye whiskey is spicy with a hint of sweet, tasting somewhat like Old Overholt.
- Redemption Rye
If you are looking for one of the most popular rye whiskey options out there, Redemption Rye is the one. It was only released in 2013, but this rich, full-flavored rye whiskey has caramel notes, hints of cherry, and offers a delightful clear orange finish.