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7 Smoothest Rye Whiskeys to Sip

Rye whiskey is an iconic spirit that has been beloved for generations. With its complex and interesting flavors, it’s no surprise this popular drink is a favorite among whiskey connoisseurs.

What Is Rye Whiskey?

Rye whiskey is a kind of whiskey that is made from a mashbill composed of at least 51% rye grain.

It typically has a strong and distinctive flavor with notes of spice and sweetness. Rye whiskey also tends to be full-bodied and robust, with a dry finish that makes it great for sipping or adding to cocktails.

The popularity of rye whiskey has been on the rise in recent years thanks to its spicy, earthy and versatile flavor profile that is great for enhancing cocktails.

When thinking of sippable, smooth whiskeys, bourbon and scotch tend to come to mind before rye, which is often punchy and complex but not necessarily as sippable. Some ryes, however, are excellent sippers — and we’ve compiled a list of the seven smoothest, sippable rye whiskeys.

The 7 Smoothest Rye Whiskeys to Sip

Pikesville Rye

Smoothest Rye

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Pikesville Rye is an iconic American whiskey that has reemerged since the Prohibition era. Produced in Kentucky, this 6-year-old rye whiskey is distilled from barrels stored in prime warehouse locations.

Smooth and drinkable despite its 110-proof mark, Pikesville Rye has a smooth and sweet mouthfeel, making it almost more reminiscent of a bourbon than a rye whiskey.

Pikesville retails for around $50 and can be purchased through online retailers if you can’t find it in a store near you.

Found North Batch 003

Smoothest Rye

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Found North Batch 003 is a whiskey blend from the underrated Canadian bottler found north. Batch 003 is made from whiskey stocks ranging in age from 17 to 25 years old. The whiskey’s mashbill is 64% rye, 32% corn and 4% malted barley.

This non-chill filtered release was created by melding an 18-year-old rye aged in ex-tequila barrels, an 18-year-old rye aged in ex-Speyside scotch casks, a 21-year-old corn whiskey aged in used American oak, a 17-year-old rye and 25-year-old corn whiskey.

With an ABV of 55.1% and a yield just shy of 3,000 bottles (2,792), this whiskey has earned awards such as Double Gold (John Barleycorn Awards 2022) and Gold (San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2022).

Drinkers can expect a medium mouthfeel showcasing hints of honey crème brûlée, pancake syrup, cocktail bitters, orange peel, honey and vanilla bean. Batch 003 retails for $135 on the Found North website.

Barrell Craft Spirits Grey Label Seagrass

Smoothest Rye

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Barrell Craft Spirits 16-Year Gray Label Seagrass is one of the best and most sought-after whiskeys on the market.

A blend of rye whiskeys distilled in Canada and aged in Martinique rhum, Madeira wine and Apricot Brandy casks, Gray Label Seagrass is bottled at a cask strength of 65.41% ABV. This exceptional whiskey has a big bold flavor with notes of rich tannin, baked apple, maple, pears, almonds and clove.

This whiskey carries a strong spice that is counterbalanced by notes of syrup. With its incredible complexity and high proof level, Barrell Craft Spirits 16 Year Gray Label Seagrass is a must-try. At $250, this is far from cheap, but if you’re going to splurge on a whiskey, make it this one, which won Best Whiskey of 2022 in the Best Whiskey Awards by Whiskey Raiders.

New Riff Balboa Rye

Smoothest Rye

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New Riff Balboa Rye is a specialty whiskey with a special heritage mashbill of 95% balboa rye and 5% malted rye. Bottled at barrel proof without any filtering, this bold rye has a complex and flavorful character that will stand out in any context.

With notes of toffee, caramel and tannin, the palate brings an incredibly powerful and brash rye character along with touches of hot spices.  New Riff Balboa Rye is rich, bold, spicy and aggressive making it ideal for sipping neat or adding depth to cocktails.

New Riff Balboa Rye can be easily found online and in liquor stores for around $60.

Pursuit United Rye

Smoothest Rye

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Pursuit United Rye is a bold and flavorful blend of rye stocks from two distilleries in the U.S.: Bardstown Bourbon Company in Kentucky and Sagamore Spirit in Maryland.

Bottled at 54% ABV, the whiskey boasts a flavor profile that begins with sweet notes on the palate before transitioning to spicy clove and rye bread. It’s powerful without being overpowering, making it perfect for bourbon drinkers who are looking to explore ryes.

Pursuit United Rye can be found online or in stores for $65.

High West Bourye

Smoothest Rye

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We’re kind of cheating with this entry — High West Bourye isn’t actually a rye. Instead, it’s a complex whiskey blend made up of straight rye, malted rye and straight bourbon, making it similar in flavor to a rye but with some of that smooth, bourbon sweetness. A 2015 release, “Bourye” delivers a flavor profile consisting of brown butter caramel, vanilla cola, grilled pineapple, boysenberry jam and spearmint sage.

On the palate, it’s a harmonious balance between complex vanilla and caramel rye flavors with just enough spice to keep things interesting. Bottled at 46% ABV, Bourye delivers bold flavors without being overpowering.

High West Bourye can be found anywhere spirits are sold for around $125.

Blackened Rye

Smoothest Rye

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Blackened Rye is the newest release from Blackened, the brand backed by iconic rock band Metallica. Double-finished in Rum and Madeira casks, this rye whiskey comes to you at 45% ABV.

On the palate, it starts off sweet with notes of custard, nougat, brown sugar and waffle cone. Then, a touch of cracked pepper and rye spice comes in before some oak and jammy, spice-driven Madeira takes center stage. The mouthfeel is generous for the ABV with just enough complexity to make this a truly memorable whiskey.

Sip it neat or use it in a really great cocktail.

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Madison Kopta is an editor at Whiskey Raiders. As a Northern California native and mom of four, Madison spends much of her time enjoying the great outdoors with her family. From camping to keeping an eagle eye out for Bigfoot, you can find Madison in nature, enjoying a glass of whiskey with her husband.