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Rye Whiskey Showdown

Posted by on June 22, 2020

Rye whiskies take those spicy bourbons a little bit further. By limiting the amount of corn and increasing the amount of rye in the mashbill you replace the overall sweetness with a spiciness that excites the taste buds. To be called Bourbon Whiskey the grain mashbill must be at least 51% corn. To be called Rye Whiskey the grain mashbill must be at least 51% rye.

Back in the 1700s Rye Whiskey was the most prevalent whiskey in the United States and has seen a resurgence over the last 10 years. As a matter of fact most of the rye whiskey made in the U. S. is made in Indiana at MGP. Many of your larger distillers source their Rye Whiskey from MGP rather than distilling it themselves.

So a couple weeks ago the River City Whisky Society hosted a Rye Whiskey tasting. Over 30 folks did a bit of social distancing while we compared five representatives of this whiskey category. Each of these was very good and would do nicely in your whiskey collection. We did, however, rank them from our least favorite to our most favorite. The following is the final ranking with a few notes on each from our tasters:


FIFTH PLACE: Tincup Straight Rye (95% Rye Mashbill), 45% ABV, $30

Sweet aroma, Clean taste, Great full flavor, A bit harsh, Sharp and sweet, I expected more, Short finish.

FOURTH PLACE: Sazerac Straight Rye (Buffalo Traces Low Rye, Rye Mashbill), 45% ABV, $30

Great smell, Light nose, Hint of mint up front, Strong spice, Warm finish, Overall enjoyable.

THIRD PLACE: Knob Creek Cask Strength Straight Rye (55% Rye Mashbill), 63.5% ABV, $62

Great aroma, Hot on the tongue, Strong vanilla taste, Taste of orange peel, Buttery (chewy), Tons of taste, Hot finish.

SECOND PLACE: Bulleit 12 Year Old Straight Rye (95% Rye Mashbill), 46% ABV, $55

Herbal on the nose, Vanilla aroma, Even taste, Very smooth, Nice and long finish.

FIRST PLACE: Whistlepig 10 Year Old Single Barrel Rye (100% Rye Mashbill), 58.5% ABV, $80

Sweet start, Almost like a rum aroma, Very earthy, Great caramel taste, Lingering finish.


Thank you to everyone who came out and we look forward to seeing everyone again.




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