Straight Rye Defined: What makes a “straight rye?”
Although rye should arguably be consumed year-round, it tends to be most popular in the cooler fall and winter months due to its spicy and robust nature. While it certainly will take the chill from your bones, take it from the rye grain merchants: rye whiskey is good on any day of the year. Alas, we often live at the whim of company and guests when it comes to our beverage stores, so make sure to plan seasonally for this whiskey.
A Question of Aging
Let’s move on to the question of what makes a rye whiskey a straight rye. It’s not a commonly used expression, but it does have a definition and a clear demarcation from its non straight counterpart. Aging for a straight rye must be at least two years and if it’s less than four years, the bottle must notate the age. So we can safely assume any bottled labeled “straight rye” is aged at least four years. This isn’t to say that a straight rye aged over four years won’t carry an age statement for marketing and informational purposes, so keep that in mind if you’re curious about the age of your liquor.
An additional piece of the aging puzzle for straight rye is that age statements must be made based on the youngest whiskey in the bottle. So if a distillery were to blend a number of barrels to make a batch, the bottles would need to be labeled according to the youngest barrel. This would mean that the whiskey you’re getting may actually be older than the age statement on the bottle.
A Statement of Purity
Nothing can be added to a straight rye: no colorings, flavors, or additional spirits are allowed if it’s going to claim straight status. As can be garnered from the nomenclature, this is rye whiskey and only rye whiskey.
From Your Friendly Rye Grain Merchants at Brooks Grain
Straight rye or regular rye whiskey is best enjoyed in good company, no matter what time of the year. Take it from the rye grain merchants of Brooks Grain where it’s our goal to improve the quality of life with grain.