Rye American Whiskey: Everything You Need to Know About Your Favorite Whiskey

There are multiple varieties of Maritime Rye Whiskey such as Knob Creek Bourbon, Bulleit Bourbon, George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey, and Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey.

For a spirit to be called rye American whiskey, it needs to follow a set of legal regulations. First, the mash bill must have at least 51% authentic rye grain, while the remaining 49 percent of the mash can have a balanced combination of additional rye or other grains like barley, wheat, and corn.   

Secondly, the initial alcohol content of the spirit must not have more than 80% alcohol or not higher than 160 proof. And, after distilling, the liquid is poured in a new American charred oak barrel for the aging process, creating a rich, deep color and bold, delicious flavor profile over time.  

If you are a rye whiskey lover and would like to know everything about your favorite spirit, this write-up has some good information regarding rye grains, where the grain comes from, and about the maturation process by distillers.

Where Rye Comes From:

Much of the rye grain is produced in the USA.  Kentucky and Indiana are leading producers. In the late 17th century, Pennsylvania and Maryland were producing much of the grain, but their production capacity was crushed when prohibition was imposed in the 1920’s.

How Rye Whiskey Tastes:

The grain is popularly known for its peppery splash of flavor.  This is an important feature that makes it ideal for crafting a most popular American spirit.

Its spicy flavor gets transformed when the liquid is aged in a new oak barrel. The distillate marries with the wood, creating a variety of tasting notes including pepper, nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon.  The best rye whiskey can really be a treat!

What Happens During the Maturation Process?

Crafting the best rye whiskey is all about the maturation process as significant changes take place inside the barrels during the maturation process. These changes are critical for crafting the best spirits.

Before the liquid is put in the barrel for aging, the wood is burned, or charred to a desired extent.  This breaks down the structure of the wood and adds flavor notes to the whiskey.  Over time, the spirit derives its aroma and light wood notes from the charred oak barrels, while the wood adds tannins.    

Location, environment and atmospheric conditions are an important factor that adds to crafting a rich and balanced flavor profile. Cadée Distillery, a reliable producer of the best rye brands in the USA, stores its barrels on an island between the Olympic Mountains and the Cascade Mountains in the pacific northwest, where atmospheric conditions create an ideal environment for crafting a rich and balanced flavor profile. Their Crafter of Spirits uses a unique process in creating America’s best rye spirits.