Rye & Bourbon Reviews, Definitions & More

There are many, many Kentucky Bourbons and Ryes to choose from, as well as variations, such as barrel finished products. More and more great whiskeys are also being produced in other states as well.   In this section,  we compile information and tasting notes about Bourbons and Ryes.

Click this button to read our rye & bourbon reviews!Rye & Bourbon ReviewsTasting Notes

Distilled Spirits Definitions and FAQ *

  • What is Bourbon Whiskey (Whisky)? The legal definition* is “Whisky produced in the U.S. at not exceeding 80% alcohol by volume (160 proof) from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn and stored at not more than 62.5% alcohol by volume (125 proof) in charred new oak containers”.  Bourbon may only be produced in the United States.
  • What is Rye Whiskey (Whisky)? The legal definition* is “Whisky produced at not exceeding 80% alcohol by volume (160 proof) from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent rye and stored at not more than 62.5% alcohol by volume (125 proof) in charred new oak containers”
  • Is it Whiskey or Whisky?  Well that depends.  This one isn’t a legal definition. The general rule of thumb is that if there is an “E” in the country name, then whiskey is spelled with an “E”. If not, then it is spelled “whisky”. This was original started by the Irish and Scottish to differentiate their whiskies. If it is from Ireland, it is Irish whiskey and if from Scotland, Scotch whisky.  However,  liberties are taken with this convention. For example, two of the distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail use the spelling Whisky. Those two Kentucky distilleries would be Old Forester and Makers Mark. Oddly, the TTB (Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau) uses the spelling “whisky” even though we are in the United States.
  • Does Bourbon have to be made in Kentucky?  No. It has to be made in the United States.*
  • What is Straight Bourbon Whiskey or Straight Rye Whiskey?
    • Bourbon/Rye whiskey stored in charred new oak containers for 2 years or more*
    • Can not contain any additives other than water
    • “Straight Bourbon/Rye Whiskey” may include mixtures of two or more straight bourbon/rye whiskeys provided all of the whiskies are produced in the same state*
  • Rye and Bourbon Reviews and Tasting Notes:  We have an ever growing collection of rye and bourbon reviews and tasting notes from many distilleries, both large and small.  Click here to see the collection.

    * All definitions are from The Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM), Basic Mandatory Labeling Information For DISTILLED SPIRITS, Vol 2,  Chapter 4, Department of the Treasury Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau, 2007 (TTB P 5110.7 (04/2007))

    GUIDESMORE WHISK(E)Y TOPICS
    Bourbon Whiskey vs Irish Whiskey
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    The Best Selling Bourbon In The World – The results may surprise you!
    Indian Whisky: The World’s Top Seller
     – Learn all about Indian Whisky!


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