In a refreshing departure from mainstream bourbon brands releasing LDI/MGP rye under their own labels and then claiming some kind of “heritage” of rye distillation, Brown Forman’s Woodford Reserve actually went out and – gasp! – made themselves a rye! … made from a combination of pot-still rye whiskey from the historic Woodford Reserve distillery and column-still rye whiskey from the Brown Forman distillery in Shively, KY.
Owned and distilled by the Jim Beam company, Old Grand-Dad is named after famed distiller Basil Hayden. … Old Grand-Dad 114 is named, appropriately, for its 114 proof (57% ABV). This is not quite cask-strength, as they must water the whiskey down to hit a consistent 57% ABV, but it’s close. … Old Grand-Dad bourbons are purportedly from a “high rye” mash bill, despite a total lack of definitive information on the subject.
Basil Hayden is named after the famed distiller by that name who established a farm distillery in Kentucky in 1796. … In 1992 the Jim Beam distillery (which now owns the brand and produces Old Grand-Dad whiskey) produced a small-batch product named after Basil Hayden and using a high-rye mash bill. The whisky is bottled at 40% ABV and claimed an 8 year age-statement until 2014, when the age-statement disappeared from bottles.
Canadian Club 100% rye is distilled by Alberta Distillers … although the Canadian Club brand is owned by Beam-Suntory. The 100% rye whisky is aged in a combination of casks: brand new American white oak barrels, previously-used bourbon barrels, and barrels that previously held Canadian whisky. The resulting batches are bottled at 40% ABV.
James E. Pepper, an historic brand established (purportedly) in 1780 but mothballed in 1958 was distilled at several sites in Kentucky, including the now-abandoned James E. Pepper distillery in Lexington, KY. In 2008 the rights to the brand were purchased by the Georgetown Trading Co., and re-launched using sourced whisky from various distilleries.
The first in the new Select Casks line, Rye Cask Finish is a blended scotch with a heart of Cardhu single malt, aged in first-fill American oak casks for at least 10 years, and then finished in ex-rye whiskey casks. The result is bottled at 46% ABV. Striking a triumphant balance between massive-scale industrial whisky and small-scale craft mentality, Rye Cask Finish is available for only $45 retail.
We have something unique here, people. Everyone knows that some scotch is aged in sherry barrels (some of which are “wet” with residual liquid sherry), but who puts actually sherry in the vat with the whisky? Who’s actually allowed to do that? Canadian distillers, that’s who.
Talk about taking a shtick and running with it, Dutch distiller Zuidam’s Millstone 100 rye is made from 100% rye grain (49% malted, 51% unmalted) distilled in small copper pot stills, and then is aged for 100 months (8 years, 4 months) in new American oak barrels, and then bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV). The marketing slogans almost write themselves.
I tasted a sample of Verso rye whisky from the Kyrö Distillery Company in Finland that was collected from bottle in April of 2015. This is a 100% malted rye whisky aged for only four months in very small new American white oak casks and bottled at 46.5% ABV. The distillery, which makes several products all from rye grain, began distilling in 2014 in a refurbished cheese factory.
Prichard’s Rye is made at the first new distillery built in Tennessee since Prohibition. Built in 1997 and utilizing copper pot stills, Prichard’s is making traditional American rye, aged 3 to 5 years, from a mash of 70% rye, 15% white corn and 15% malted barley. The rye is bottled at 43% ABV.