Top-Flight Tasting: Rye on the Mind

Rye Whiskey is Back and Better Than Ever

     In many ways, rye was the whiskey that built America. The original northeastern colonies, most notably Pennsylvania and Maryland, were the epicenter of rye whiskey production, akin to Kentucky today for bourbon. Unfortunately, Prohibition largely killed the booming rye industry. By the time Americans were drinking again, whiskey production had shifted south, and bourbon was now the spirit of choice.

       Many credit the modern cocktail renaissance for leading rye’s return. Rediscovered pre-Prohibition cocktails are complemented by a spicy rye whisky, and, thus the nation’s top mixologists started calling for more rye expressions. Some whiskeys, like Old Overholt, a bartender’s favorite, had never gone off the market—even during Prohibition when it was considered a “medicinal” spirit. (Alas, that’s no longer the case.) Others, like Knob Creek Straight Rye Whiskey and Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye, are newer offerings, designed to slake the thirst of the modern rye lover. In this tasting, you will discover whiskies packed with notes of cinnamon, pepper, and baking spices.

Knob Creek® Rye
Toasted oak is complemented by sweet caramel and vanilla balanced by rye. A bold sipper at 100 proof, there is a lingering warmth of spice and toasted grain throughout.

Basil Hayden’s® Dark Rye
A rich, amber-colored whiskey, it offers a complex blend of caramel, dried fruit, and oak, with the spicy rye notes mostly on the back-end.

Jim Beam® Rye
Paying homage to one of the Beam Family’s oldest recipes, we developed this pre-Prohibition style rye that is bold and full-flavored, offering a peppery rye spiciness which gives way to vanilla and oak undertones. It’s warm and inviting.

Old Overholt Rye®
One of America’s oldest continually produced whiskey brands is rich with just a tinge of fruity sweetness and a hint of vanilla. Non-chill filtering allows for a rounder mouthfeel and, at a traditional 43% ABV, it’s a very agreeable pour.

Canadian Club® 100% Rye
A very balanced rye whisky, with notes of toasted grain, gentle wood, and a tantalizing hint of sweet vanilla, it drinks smooth and creamy.

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