Paging Rye Whisky drinkers - recommendations please (need answer fast)

Need Rye Whiskey recommendations. Will probably get a bottle at Costco tomorrow so something quick would also be appreciated.

I like single malt scotches but dislike blends until it’s Johnny Walker Blue territory (which is totally not worth the price performance trade off).

But I’ve tried a few Rye’s that have been decent and easier on the wallet. Typically enjoy these on the rocks. Just now enjoying the end of 750ml worth of Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, which is 90% rye.

  1. Please recommend a good rye in the lower end spectrum. Something priced along the lines of the Northern Harvest Rye, Jim Beam Rye or JD Rye.

  2. Also recommendations for a bucket list or special occasion splurge mainstream rye

  3. Craft Rye whiskey. Including thoughts on Woodinville, which is just up the road.

Why the difference is rye %? The Northern Harvest Rye seem to be at the upper end of rye % at 90%. IIRC, some rye’s are more like 70%. How’s that impact the flavor profile? Do aficionados prefer the higher % rye or lower?

I’m sure I have more questions but the above is a good start. As always, thanks in advance.

  1. Bulleit Rye. I also like George Dickel Rye.

  2. Whistlepig. I’d like to say this is overpriced (and it is) but take a sip and you’ll forget about it. Good stuff.

  3. High West. They have a couple of different batches. Like Bulleit, I believe that they just happened to buy some excess rye and have been blending it into great, er, blends. But good stuff.

Rye is a spicier grain, a greater % should be a more pronounced rye flavor, but your tastes may vary. At the opposite end, Makers Mark (red seal) is about 10000% corn and 0% rye (NTTAWWT), so you can use that a marker to judge just how different rye is.

And again, just because I can, I suggest Jim Beam Double Oak bourbon. It’s not rye, but it is an excellent inexpensive bourbon with big oak flavors that make you take notice. If you like rye with it’s bolder flavors, it’s worth a look.

I’ll second bulleit. Good stuff for the price.

I must recommend Millstone 100. It’s Dutch! It’s the most incredible rye I’ve ever tasted but doubt you’ll find it at Costco.

I really like High West, which makes a couple of different ryes; they range in price from $35ish to $90ish. I also like their bourye (blend of bourbon and rye).

A very distinct rye is Copper Fox’s Rye. It is aged in charred barrels and is very smoky. It is great for winter manhattans at about $30.

No rye discussion is complete without a mention of Rittenhouse. It wins countless tastings for not-so-pricey rye for use in cocktails or sipping. I buy the occasional bottle of Bulleit or Knob Creek rye, and they’re great, but I go for Rittenhouse most often.

FWIW, the Bulleit and Dickel ryes are both MGP 95% rye distillate that they age differently, and in Dickel’s case, runs through the charcoal filtration process like a Tennessee whiskey. There are several others as well (see the article):

That said, I think the Rittenhouse 100 is a great bargain and a terrific rye.

I drank Old Overholt back when it was the only rye on the market. I still love it.

Rittenhouse is made by Heaven Hill, the last of the big bourbon distillers to remain an independent company, so you should definitely support them. I admit, though, that the Rittenhouse I tried did not suit my personal taste.

Maybe cue up the Marx Brothers’ 1930 film ANIMAL CRACKERS while you enjoy your first highball or Old Fashioned. It’s the last movie they shot in Astoria, Queens, NYC, before moving out to Hollywood, Groucho is introduced to the strains of the great “Hooray for Captain Spaulding,” it has the joke about shooting an elephant in one’s pajamas, and Margaret Dumont’s character is the wealthy “Mrs. Rittenhouse.”

Ditto! It’s dirt cheap (relatively) and it makes a good Manhattan. Plus, Nucky Thompson endorsed it! :smiley:

Probably too late but here goes.

I like Rittenhouse for the price. Definitely has that rye character you want in a rye.

If you’re just looking for exceptionally smooth, and don’t mind spending a little extra, I was quite impressed with Masterson’s whisky, a 10 year rye. Not spicey though—and it lacks rye character, honestly—but as I said, very smooth. Fairly spot on review here:

I like Bulleit better than Rittenhouse, FWIW.

I vaguely remember liking Old Potrero, but it is pricey, and it’s been awhile since I had it.

EDIT: Yeah, Whistlepig is great stuff. But you will pay for it. 70-80 in my area, and let’s not talk about the Boss Hogg versions.

Appreciate the suggestions. Haven’t been to Costco yet. I have tried the Buelliet and found it to be to my liking.

No time like the present, I’m going to run out right now to the local supermarket, which stocks Rittenhouse 750 ml for $26.99. Haven’t tried it before, several recommendations in this thread, and feel the need to support an independent distillery.

Anyone tried the Woodinville? They have an Age Your Own Whisky kit that may just need to be added to my Christmas list.


I personally hate anything High West touches, so there is a contrary data point.

Just checking in to report I picked up a bottle of Rittenhouse today, cracked it, poured on ice and just took my first sip. It’s definitely drinkable with a spicy rye taste. 100 proof seems much stronger than the typical 86 proof even after sitting on the rocks for a bit. Will see how it goes as the bottle evaporates.

The ones I really like typically somehow disappear. The ones I think are good somehow survive for a taste test to the next bottle or two. Anyone else experience this evaporation phenomenon? :wink:

Found a store in Seoul that sells Bulleit and am over the moon! The problem with this question is, rye’s appeal is its slight nastiness. “The best” doesn’t really apply to rye.

China Guy: There’s a micro-distillery on Bainbridge that makes a nice rye–I think it’s called “Battle Point”? Well worth the ferry ticket!

If you don’t mind me asking, what don’t you like about HW, and are there any specific products they sell you like least in particular? I ask because to my palate, their various ryes are quite different to each other in that they are made from quite different stocks, form Barton to MGP to (now) at least a little of their own make.

An interesting tasting side-by-side would be to have the Rittenhouse and the Bulliet in succession. The Rittenhouse would trend more toward the bourbony end of the spectrum, still having a significant corn content. The Bulliet would really bring the rye heat, being 95% rye (5% barley malt for the enzymes).

I used to drink rye almost exclusively, back in the glut days of the '90s-'00s. Now I go into the store and where there used to be a handful of ryes, max, there are now seemingly dozens. And I am usually disappointed to find that fancy new branding I see is just another MGP bottling, or worse, another ‘craft’ distiller selling barely aged firewater. I’ve given up the chase.

Nowadays, I always have Rittenhouse, HW Rendezvous (or Campfire) , Old Granddad Bonded (a high rye bourbon) and Four Roses Small Batch (a better high rye bourbon) on hand. Sometimes I’ll add Bulliet rye to the mix, but that brand still rubs me the wrong way in that so many years into production, they still aren’t selling their own product.

If I’m feeling especially good, I’ll open the vault where I still have some 21yo Black Maple Hill, some of the Van Winkle Family Reserve and a few bottles of Thomas Handy rye. But when that gone, not sure what I’ll do next. I’ve been buying a lot of Armagnac lately and hiding it for later.

I have to confess that going on my 8th year in the seattle area, I’ve never been to Bainbridge. The interwebs tell me you’re probably referencing here:

They don’t have rye on their product list any more. :frowning:

Bulleit is sold in 1.5L bottles at Costco. I’ll probably get another bottle to taste test versus the Rittenhouse. Anyhoo, on a mission of exploration to test rye’s.

Note: I also am a home beer brewer, and I do various batches that include a rye component…

Is Bulleit bourbon MGP too? I don’t see it when I checked a list. I had thought it was the opposite, but I guess I was wrong.

FYI: my Costco has both Bulleits for something $30-32 per 1.75 L. It’s normally more like $35 for 0.75 L at liquor stores.

Raley’s had Crown Royal Northern Harvest for $11/bottle, which is more than 50% off. I should’ve bought the stock out but couldn’t for technical reasons. It’s a little rough but might be a good mixing rye. The bag is a light cream color. Overholt is good and cheap.

Their bourbon was, until recently, all Four Roses. Diageo is cagey about who makes it now.

Chuck Cowdery is a good source for bourbon knowledge. He wrote about Bulleit’s producer question a few years ago… check it out.