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American Whiskey Guide Part 2 – What about Rye Whiskey?

Welcome back to another edition of #WhiskeyWednesdsay @ The Boozeat Blog 2.0! Loyal readers would already know the difference between two of America’s finest – Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey – in our last guide, so now we’ll see how both differ from its Rye Whiskey cousin.

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Refresher – What is Bourbon?
As mentioned before, Bourbon is legally defined as whiskey made anywhere in America that’s distilled from at least 51% corn mash. The remaining 49% is usually comprised of rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain. Some of the biggest names in Bourbon-making include Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, as well as Wild Turkey.

Unlike Scotch Whisky, there isn’t a minimum ageing requirement for Bourbon, but it must be aged in new charred American Oak Barrels at an alcohol strength no greater than 62.5% ABV and it cannot contain any other additives. Additionally, for it to be called ‘Straight’ Bourbon (i.e. Jim Beam White Label), it must be aged for at least two years.

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Refresher – What is Tennessee Whiskey?
Tennessee Whiskey is in fact similar to Bourbon in terms of its production process and ingredients. However, American law states that the Tennessee Whiskey name is reserved exclusively to whiskies distilled in the state of Tennessee that undergoes a charcoal filtering step known as the Lincoln County Process before going into the cask.

The most famous Tennessee Whiskey name out there is Jack Daniel’s and it – alongside other rivalling Tennessee-based distillers – don’t refer to its product as Bourbon.

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What about Rye Whiskey?
Essentially similar to Bourbon, Rye Whiskey is made from at least 51% rye instead with the rest comprised of barley or corn. The production regulations for Rye Whiskey are almost identical to Bourbon, and that includes the two-year minimum ageing requirement for it to be called ‘Straight’ Rye Whiskey. One prime example of which is the Wild Turkey Straight Rye Whiskey.

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Taste Difference
Beyond the legal differences, Bourbon, Tennessee and Rye each have their own distinctive characteristics as far as taste goes. Bourbon tends to be fuller in body, richer with more concentrated notes of vanilla, baking spices and caramel.

With Tennessee, some argue that the Lincoln Country Process makes what is otherwise known as Bourbon somewhat smoother to drink with a greater balance between both sweet and oak tastes. Truth be told though, many have said that there aren’t any differences at all, but makers like Jack Daniel’s argue otherwise.

Rye Whiskey, on the other, tends to be drier as it is more of a focus on its vegetal aspect of rye and almost always dominated by spice. Essentially, Rye Whiskey is the spicy, grainy, hard-edged version of Bourbon.

Try the difference for yourself!
Want to try the differences between these three of America’s finest for yourself? Then get your ticket for our upcoming American Whiskey Tasting Event @ Vineria.It, Bangsar Shopping Centre that’s happening this month!

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Happening on Thursday, 27 July 2017 from 7pm onwards, the evening’s featured American whiskies include the Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon Whiskey, Wild Turkey Straight Rye Whiskey, Wild Turkey American Honey Whiskey, as well as the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and Jack Daniel’s Honey Tennessee Whiskey.

Tickets are now on sale through our Secret Menu section at RM119 per pax, and it includes complimentary canapé and a RM50 redeemable cash voucher to purchase the featured whiskies of the day. Seats are limited as always, so don’t miss out! Click here to purchase your tickets now.

About Editor 2.0

An avid boozer and word-stringer who's paid to drink and write for the revamped Boozeat Blog 2.0

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