When it comes to whisky, people can’t get enough of it. Whether it is Tennessee or bourbon, wheat or blended, rye or moonshine, people enjoy it all. But there’s a particular sort of whisky that’s gaining traction, and it could be the next biggest thing, and that is rye whisky. According to a study from 2016, demand for this type of whisky increased by 33% between 2015 and 2016, prompting farmers to grow 1.76 million acres of land in groundwork for the 2016/17 harvest. This year’s acreage is the most since 1989, with a 12% increase in the past year, and it’s all because of whisky. So, here’s all you have to know about this spirited beverage.
How Is It Produced?
In order to call itself rye whisky, a spirit must follow a stringent set of regulatory guidelines. First, the mash (the starchy soup that produces the sugar for fermentation) must include at least 51% rye. The remaining 49 per cent of the bill is commonly a blend of wheat, malted barley or corn. The second rule is: The original alcoholic concentration of this beverage that is certified cannot be higher than 160 proof (around 80 per cent alcohol). And after all of that delicious, sweet liquid has been removed from the fermenting wort, it is diluted to 62.5 per cent ABV. The liquor is then piped into burnt (scorched to a crisp inside) new (never used before ever) oak barrels and kept to mature.
Straight whisky made of rye requires at least two years to mature; however, many distilleries prefer to wait a bit longer for a smoother, more nuanced product. It’s also worth noting that straight rye can’t be combined with any other alcohol throughout this process; what is perfect is perfect.
What Rye Tastes Like
Rye is famous for its pepper-like punch, a spicy burst of flavour that rushes over the palette with each drink. Of course, some are rougher than others, but with rye grain accounting for most of its malt bill, you’re sure to get at least a hint of its trademark sting. That is the fundamental reason why it tends to be more flavourful than corn-based liquors such as bourbon, which can radiate a honeyed sweetness. If you still can’t understand, consider the contrast between rye bread and cornbread, and there you go.
Aside from its brisk edge, rye can taste in a variety of ways. Some are huge and bold, with long, drawn-out finishes that leave your throat tingling with a burning heat. And some are harsher at first but thin enough to dry quickly after swallowing. At the same time, like a sly Thai chile, some have a gentler burn as you sip, starting in smooth and gradually increasing in depth; It all depends on your preferences.
One of the most alluring characteristics of all whiskeys is their inherent adaptability. Unlike more gentle spirits such as gin or vodka, rye’s hefty grain basis and long maturation period make it good enough to sip on its own. You hardly need ice to enjoy it, as most experts would advise you that if you want to taste your drink, skip the cubes. While the range of this particular whisky was previously limited, it is now back in a big way! Today, there are many wonderful ryes to try, and we are just waiting for a spot in your cocktail experiences. Also, beginner rye drinkers should start in the middle of the road before going full-rye to prevent confusion and rye intensity.