Similar to its sweeter cousin bourbon, rye whiskey is a uniquely American drink. While there are rye whiskey’s made in Canada and a few other places American rye whiskey is considered to be the best. Highly regulated to insure its taste, these whiskey’s must be contain at least 51% rye grain. It must also be distilled at no higher 160 proof before being aged in charred barrels for at least two years.
Aged for four years, Willet single barrel rye whiskey isn’t the most aged on the market but customers agree that its among the best around. Sold with a 55% ABV (110 proof) Willet has shot up in popularity in the last few years, especially among cocktail bars and restaurants because of how well it mixes. No matter the drink its mixed with this rye whiskey, stays undiluted adding to the drink instead of only being a part of it. Willet is also excellent on its own with a smooth spicy yet sweet flavor with hints vanilla that are bonded together by hints of wood from the barrel it was aged in.
Created by former Makers Mark Master distiller Dave Pickerell who wanted to create the greatest rye whiskey in the world. WhistlePig is a true Canadian whiskey, made with 100% Canadian rye grain and aged in a oak barrel for 10 years before its bottled in Vermont, USA at 100 proof. It owes its popularity to both its flavor and color. It takes on a fantastic deep amber color during the aging process that makes it instantly recognizable to customers. It’s taste intense range of flavors that go from vanilla and nutmeg to clove and Thai-chili make it one of the smoothest rye whiskeys on the market.
Not only is this one of the most popular rye whiskeys on the market it’s also one of the rarest. Sazerac is barrel aged for 18 years, its distillers only release 28 barrels of this rye whiskey on the market each year. Its take on a mythological standing in the US where its considered a true American classic. The 18 year old rye is one of only five whiskeys to make it into the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. It’s taste has been described as being among the smoothest on the market with rich citrus, honey, and vanillas. The usual oakiness of rye whiskeys is mellowed out by its long aging process.
A legendary rye whiskey, Michter’s US*1 is said to date clear back to 1753 when life in America was at its harshest and peoples taste were rustic. Consumers of the 1700’s wanted a straight forward drink that matched their lives, they got it in Micther’s with its strong spicy flavoring and brown amber color. It’s the most traditional rye whiskey on the market today, with a strength you wouldn’t expect from an 84 proof whiskey. Its flavor brings the spiciness of the rye to the forefront before quickly following it up with softer fruitful flavors.
Another uniquely Canadian whiskey, Masterson’s creators wanted to create a strong rye whiskey that aged well and was easy to drink. Made from Canadian rye before its aged 10 years in oak barrels Masteron’s before being bottled in California, Masterson’s is a well known international rye whiskey. It boasts an almost maple syrup coloring with rich gold and dark browns. Its flavors of nutmeg, caramel, cinnamon, oak and more work in perfect sync with the bold rye spice that its distilled from. The different flavors work in sync with each other in ways you won’t find in another rye.
An important part of American culture even before the country declared its independence rye whiskey has become a drink appreciated all over the world. While many still say that rye whiskey brands in the US are the best we encourage customers to branch out to brands made outside of the US. As you can see on our list Canada’s distilleries have put forth real contenders that shouldn’t be ignored.