The Best Rye Whiskies

The revival of rye whiskey. Its real. 

 

The local Trader Joe's is adding new Rye whiskey's every time I go. First it was Bulleit Rye, then Redemption, and recently, I spotted High West's Double Rye. Woo-ee. Getting fancy over there, TJs.

When I went up to Seattle this weekend, it was a wonderland of Rye. The standard beer and shot pairings were with Rittenhouse Rye or Knob Creek Rye along with tons of local Rye (though none memorable, yet). Rye is here, and its time to get on the spicy, flavor train cause its delicious.

What Rye should you try out? Funny, you ask because I've done a Rye taste off for you.

The contenders: High West Double Rye, Bulleit Rye, Whistlepig Rye, Knob Creek Rye, and a couple week's later, Redemption Rye.

How did it shake out?? Well we ranked the best rye whiskies (in our opinion of course) from top to bottom in a blind tasting. 

THE GOOD

Knob Creek Rye | $25

Strong rye taste, but with mellowed out caramel notes as it lingers. It tastes almost like a rye pickle on first note, but is pleasant all the way through. The surprise winner. Knob Creek is doing wonderful stuff. The only downer is that its not widely available yet. We only found ours at BevMo

Redemption Rye | $23

I'm still torn as to whether I like Redemption or Knob Creek more. Redemption doesn't have quite a distinctive Rye flavor to it, but it is so well spiced and rounded that I think it takes the cake for me as my daily drinker. This is a great rye. Also, recently found at Trader Joe's for great value. The packaging is also beautiful with its standout, long necked bottle. 

Bulleit Rye | $21

Good ol faithful. Easy on the palate, subtle hint of spice but still sweet enough to convince your Bourbon drinkers to try some. Bonus: its easy on the wallet as the cheapest of all the ryes we tasted, and it can be found at most bars. Making it our choice when out around time. Don't expect a punch of rye flavor though.

THE BAD

High West Double Rye | $30

Petroleum notes start it off, but it does finish with leather and spice notes. Worth a try, but not a must by any means. Also, newly found at TJs.

THE UGLY

Whistlepig Rye | $80+

At $80 bucks and up, this bottle is the most expensive of the reviewed, and on blind first sip, was also the harshest and petroleum-y. Even subsequent additions of water or ice didn't improve it much. My reaction was an immediate sour face on first sip. Its hard to wade through and taste anything else just because it packs so much heat up front.

On top of the fact that it frankly doesn't taste good, there's some controversy about where its actually bottled and made. Pass. This is a hard pass. Don't fall for the fancy bottle folks. 

 

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