Far North Spirits Roknar Rye

Roknar is one of the products of Far North Spirits, a “Field to Glass” distillery in Hallock, Minnesota, near the Canadian border. This is a single-estate rye made from non-GMO “AC Hazlet” rye grown on the family farm, mashed with 10% heirloom corn and 10% malted barley, and hammer-milled, fermented, and double-distilled in small batches on-site. The whiskey is matured in…

McKenzie Straight Rye

So, I thought I was relatively safe to purchase this McKenzie Straight Rye after being impressed by their bottled-in-bond wheated bourbon. It’s a real distillery (not sourced), so you’re not at the whims of the local secondhand market for barrels that could suddenly go downhill, and the price is comparable. Lesson learned: rules of thumb are not infallible. I just…

Doc Swinson’s Single Barrel Rye

Doc Swinson’s is a brand owned by Distiller’s Way LLC, an independent bottler aka NDP (non-distiller producer) specializing in selecting, blending, and finishing sourced American whiskey. They kind of burst onto the scene in the last two years, suddenly winning a number of awards. They’re probably best known for their “Alter Ego” series of finished bourbons, but I first truly considered them when I noticed this single barrel of rye at my local Costco…

Jack Daniel’s “Tennessee Tasters’ Selection” Barrel Proof Rye

This is a distillery-exclusive (plus a handful of Tennessee retailers) bottling of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee rye at barrel proof (in this case, a whopping 63.8% ABV). It’s bottled from barrels located on the highest floors of the Jack Daniel’s rickhouses, and since heat rises that means the barrels at the top experience the highest temperature fluctuations and thus age the fastest. The rye in this case is distilled from…

Elijah Craig Straight Rye

Elijah Craig straight rye, which is distilled at Heaven Hill not sourced from elsewhere, shares an unusually high barley component with its bourbon siblings. That 14% barley is mashed with 51% rye (the legal minimum) and 37% corn. As Rittenhouse Rye is also made by Heaven Hill and only differs from this by 2% barley (and 2% corn) and 3% ABV, one could be forgiven for calling this…

Pinhook ‘Rye’d On’ Rye

My first time tasting Pinhook products was this “Inaugural” release of Straight Rye Whiskey distilled at the Castle & Key facility. Each Pinhook seasonal batch is named after a Kentucky Derby racehorse, and this one (Inaugural 2020) has an illustration of “Rye’d On”. The rye is distilled from a mash bill of 60% rye, 20% corn, and 20% malted barley. It’s non chill-filtered straight rye aged for…

Barrell Seagrass Rye

So back to Seagrass. Imagine if you will several parcels of rye whiskey sourced from all over the place (to wit, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, and Canada) and finished in Martinique Rhum Agricole casks, Madeira wine casks, and APRICOT BRANDY BARRELS. What is this madness? I would happily slap down 90 bills for anything finished in an apricot brandy barrel, alone. I had no choice; I had to buy…

Copper Fox Rye

Copper Fox is a pot stilled rye from Rick Wasmund, whose Wasmund’s Single Malt I did manage to review. The rye is a mash of two-thirds Virginia-grown rye and one-third malted barley. The grains are floor-malted and then lightly smoked with 60% applewood and 40% cherrywood. The mash is then double pot distilled and barreled with a “progressive series of lightly toasted new and used applewood and oak chips” in refill ex-bourbon barrels.

WhistlePig Straight Rye (10 year)

This whiskey screams “rye spices” more than basically any other rye I’ve had. The requisite cinnamon, clove, and anise are robust and persist throughout the experience. This is doubly interesting because although Canadian whisky is often referred to as “rye” and usually contains the grain, it rarely shows this intensity of spice notes. Never in a million years would I guess that this was…