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…

Stellum Spirits Rye

Stellum Spirits Rye is a cask-strength blend of straight rye whiskies distilled in Indiana (so that’s MGP), Kentucky, and Tennessee. The vast majority of the blend is MGP rye, and even the marketing materials references how the heart of the blend is a 95% rye mashbill, a familiar mashbill to fans of MGP-sourced ryes. This blend is bottled at a rousing 58.12% ABV. The stated goal of the brand is to create…

Sagamore Spirit “Calvados Finish” Rye

Like the baseline rye, this is a blend of straight rye whiskies, all sourced from MGP (Midwest Grain Products, the artist formerly known as LDI). The website reveals the age to be 4-5 years (so, 4) but doesn’t specify the amount of time spent finishing in Calvados barrels. This bottling is a part of Sagamore Spirit’s “Reserve Series”, which includes Cognac, Port, and various wine finishes. This Calvados Finish is bottled at a robust 50.6% ABV.

Sagamore Spirit Cask Strength Rye

This is a blend of MGP-distilled straight rye whiskies from two different mash bills at 4 years old. Because these are contract distillations they aren’t just blending tanks of already-aged standard MGP rye, but rather specifying the mash bill and barrel entry proof and waiting for the rye to hit target ages before blending them. … The result is bottled at cask strength, or close to it (they add a “splash” of Maryland spring water to bring the batch to 56.1% ABV, presumably for consistency).

Sagamore Spirit Rye

A little searching online reveals that Sagamore is blending two MGP products; a high-rye (95% rye, 5% malted barley) and a low-rye (unspecified mash bill). They are also cask-finishing a number of casks in everything from Cognac to Calvados, so they aren’t just resting on MGP’s laurels. If nothing else, at least they are revealing the source of their whiskey instead of trying to hide it.