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6 Great Rye Whiskeys to Try Now

6 Great Rye Whiskeys to Try Now

December 21, 2022 –––––– Melanie Schwenk, , , ,

Bartenders love rye whiskey for the bold and spicy flavor it lends to cocktails, but rye is just as great for sipping neat or on the rocks. Plus, unlike bourbon, rye can be made anywhere in the world—Canada has a rich history of producing rye, while distillers on the world stage are crafting some excellent expressions as well—meaning there is an ever-growing diversity to the style. In short, rye is versatile and delicious, and earlier this year, we dedicated an entire issue to it. More recently, the Fall 2022 issue just hit newsstands this month, and features more than 130 whisky reviews in the Buying Guide, including some great tasting ryes. These six rye whiskeys all scored 90 points or more and include inventive finishes, skillful blends, and a high proof single barrel bottling.

Uncork one of these 90-point rye whiskeys

Four Gate Rye Downunder Finished in Australian Apera Sherry Casks (Batch 16) 92 points, 55.1%, $200 Earthy scents of grain and old leather against lighter fruit notes of grape and dried figs. The palate is well-balanced, with an impressive mix of fruit and spice, plus dark chocolate and caramel. The mouthfeel is jammy, creamy, rich, and extremely pleasant overall. The finish offers great length and lots of spice at the back end. The spiciness of rye meets flavorful fruit and chocolate—an excellent one. (2,168 bottles)—David Fleming Chicken Cock Island Rooster Rum Barrel Finished 91 points , 47.5%, $200 Green apple candy, honeydew, cantaloupe, lemon jelly candies, and cooked blueberries alongside pine needles on the nose. The palate is similarly soft, with more lemon and pine flavors, rye spice, and with water, bitter chocolate and dark berries. The texture is creamy and oily, like freshly made hummus. A rich finish provides good length, plus notes of blueberry compote and chocolate cake. The finish presents itself nimbly on this bright and easy sipper. (12,000 bottles)—Ted Simmons Frey Ranch Barrel Strength Distiller’s Reserve Single Barrel (No. 260) 91 points, 68.73%, $100 Powerful and big on the nose, with baked chocolate brownies, plum pudding, cooked prunes, and woodsmoke. Water brings out spice notes of nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla. The palate is spicy, with blackberry tart, chocolate, blueberry pie, barrel char, and more vanilla. The finish is the best part, with balanced char, lots of deep chocolate, and some dark fruit. It’s a hot one, but this is a very well-made whiskey.—David Fleming 291 M Wood Staves and Maple Syrup Barrel Finished 90 points, 63. 5%, $110 A dark brown whiskey with orange peel, black tea, new leather, and green apple candy on the nose. It is sweet and pungent, with tropical fruit emerging with water. A syrupy palate brings apple tart, vanilla pound cake, and honey and granola, with water unlocking notes of chile-dusted mango and toasted marshmallow. The finish is long, with sweetened coffee and chocolate syrup. There is a lot to unpack here, but water helps.—Ted Simmons Alias 90 points, 45%, $30 This is like taking a trip to New England— there’s an earthy must that’s complemented beautifully by woodpile, pine trees, apple orchard, and clean air. Given the nose, the palate is somewhat surprising (but no less lovely); that earthiness lingers on, but it’s joined by lemon-poppyseed muffin and white peppercorn. A lovely round finish coaxes out some chocolate, marking a great end to a delicious ride.—Julia Higgins

Stellum Fibonacci Blend No. 1 90 points, 57.56%, $100 Plenty of cinnamon spice on the nose, sweetly balanced by vanilla bean, some fresh, green notes, and root beer float. While the palate starts off quite hot, once the Red Hots surge passes a lovely dollop of honey emerges, followed soon after by creme brûlée. Raspberry syrup adds a nice, if subdued, fruity zing. The finish cuts off fairly quickly, but it packs a fiery punch. (9,000 bottles)—Julia Higgins

FROM THE FALL 2022 ISSUE.