Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
Jun 3, 2012 09:06 PM

Bourbon with high rye content?

I'm getting to that time of year where I stock up on whatever spirits I'm running low on, and I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of a particular sort of bourbon I'm looking for.

I'll usually just have one of any type of spirit in my house at a time, so as far as American whiskey goes, I like to have something that's well-rounded and versatile, that can hold up well in cocktails, but that could also be drunk neat. And while I'm willing to spend some money on something that's worth it, I prefer not to go for something that's too expensive if it's going to be a day to day sort of whiskey (I'd generally choose something that's a good value at a moderate price point than something that's exceptional at a premium price point)

Lately I've been drinking Buffalo Trace, which is well-rounded and which I'm enjoying very much, but it's also a very...bourbony bourbon, if that makes sense. So I was wondering if there were any bourbons that have a spiciness that you'd get from rye. I'm not really looking for a rye whiskey, since those tend to be too heavy and overbearing for me; I'm more interested in a bourbon that has a significant rye presence.

Does such a thing exist? I know Bulleit bourbon has a substantial rye presence, although I haven't had the chance to try it. Anything else that folks can suggest?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Elijah Craig 12 yr. I would also recommend the Bulleit bourbon.

    There are a couple excellent ryes I would recommend that aren't overbearing and are quite sippable - Sazerac 6 yr (if you can find it) and Bulleit Rye, which is actually remarkably well-rounded despite its 95% rye mashbill.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ncyankee101

      Totally agree about the Elijah Craig - it goes for about $18 a bottle around here and as such, it's my basic go-to bourbon that I try to always have in the home bar. Also agree about the Bulleit. Is it just me, or is the Bulleit Rye actually a bit less hot and peppery than the regular Bulleit?

    2. I can vouch for both Bulleit bottles. Also, Redemption make a high rye bourbon (as well as a regular bourbon and a regular rye) that mixes well, although I'm not sure I'd sip it neat.

      -- | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

      1. Bulleit. Very rye spicy.

        If you want to shell out some dough, and get a nice bottle in addition to a terrific rye-heavy bourbon, then buy a bottle of Blantons. I add a little water to my glass and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, which I think opens it up a great deal. One of my absolute favorite bourbons.

          1. re: tj442x

            Basil Hayden might be a decent Bourbon (though it is not my personal taste) but it has almost no rye spice to it. I had it once and it was so mild I thought it was a lowland Scotch.

            1. re: ncyankee101

              I agree about the flavor, but it is a bit odd because Basil Hayden actually has a very high rye content in the mash bill, supposedly as much as double the amount in any of the other Beam small batch bourbons. For a bourbon with such a high amount of rye, I'd expect more of a bracing hot and spicy attack, but like you said, I find it to be fairly mild, which isn't a knock on it by any measure, I actually enjoy it a great deal.

              1. re: The Big Crunch

                Funny story about the Basil hayden - I was at a wedding and the groom's brother told me he was drinking "George Thorogood Scotch" - turned out what he meant was they were drinking Bourbon, Scotch and beer. He let me taste what he has in his glass and I thought for sure it was a mild Scotch, but later found out it was the BH.

                Much spicier in the Beam family is the Old grand dad 114, one of my absolute favorite Bourbons.

                1. re: ncyankee101

                  Agree completely on Old Grand Dad 114, a great high-rye bourbon at a good price. Basil Haden is really just watered down, overpriced Old Grand Dad

          2. I'm a big fan of Knob Creek - it's Jim Beam's high-rye mashbill, and it's one of my favorite sipping bourbons.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sdwr98

              Knob Creek is Beam's regular mashbill, same as Jim Beam White and Black. The high rye goes into Old Grand-Dad and Basil Hayden.