Whiskey is an acquired taste and honestly, a true connoisseur's drink. India has been introduced to various tipples in the last decade, but whiskey remains that ageless classic that will always be in vogue. While the drink has always had its own fan-following, there have been occasional debates over the better whiskey. While Scotch and bourbon remain classic favourites, nothing comes close to a glass of rye whiskey.
Rye whiskey is known for its distinct bitter and peppery notes, making it a preferred choice with drinkers who like their tipple strong. Rye whiskey also makes a great base for wonderful cocktails, its bold flavours blending well with a variety of classic as well as contemporary cocktails.
What is rye whiskey?
Rye whiskey is a type of whiskey made out of rye grain, similar to bourbon. Rye whiskey gets its spiciness from the grain which is very similar to the aftertaste of pepper, giving it a unique taste.
Rye whiskeys aren't all rye; that's why people prefer variants that have at least 51% or a majority of rye. Interestingly, there exists a Canadian rye whiskey that hardly contains any rye but is marketed as a rye whiskey.
The flavour profile that rye whiskey brings to the drink makes it perfect for cocktails with a hint of spice. Rye drinks like Sagamore, Rye Old Fashioned, and Sazerac will show you why this whiskey is said to bring out the best complimentary tastes in a cocktail.
Rye whiskey has an alcohol content that varies from 40% to 60%, depending upon the brand and the type (American, Canadian, and so on). Depending on their make, quality and origins, rye whiskeys have a diverse price range.
Here are 4 of the best rye whiskeys available in India.
Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey
The rye whiskey brand was launched to a whopping response last year. As the name suggests, this rye whiskey has been tailored to suit the activating taste of the Sazerac cocktail. The bitters go well with this rye whiskey, which complements the sweet and spice of the liqueur well. The whiskey tends to be on a bit pricier side for the variants, but we think it's a fair price considering the expertise of its makers and its unique flavour.
Tasting Notes: Spiciness of pepper and clove that brings along citrus sweets, with a finish of liquorice
Age: About six years
Price: Approximately INR 4000
Originally based out of the USA, the brand was said to be popular during the prohibition era. The rye whiskey brand was revived in the year 2006 and has done a good job in maintaining the original recipe. With its recent launch, it has created quite a buzz around its legacy and unmatchable taste. The brand is said to be perfect for an old-fashioned rye cocktail with exceptional smoothness.
Barrel: White American Oak
Tasting Notes: Dried grass aroma and oak hints with spicy, toffee, and syrup taste enhances
Age: Two products of four years and six years
Price: INR 5000 to 10000 depending on the age
Bulleit 95 Rye Whiskey
This is a straight-up American rye whiskey with 95% rye content, a truly rare species. The rye whiskey was introduced by the brand in the year 2011. The amber-coloured clear appearance of the Bulleit 95 Rye gives it a raw look, proving even visually that it is almost all grain. It has an uncomplex, smooth taste that you would like on a particularly tiring day.
Barrel: American Oak
Tasting Notes: Slightly low on spice side, that is supplemented by honey and vanilla sweets
Age: About 4 years
Price: Approximately INR 5000
Amrut Rye Single Malt Whiskey
This Indian rye whiskey will exceed all your expectations—after all this is THE brand that uplifted the reputation of Indian whiskeys. The brand experimented with and implemented the advantages of distilling a whiskey in the Indian climate. The Bangalore-based whiskey brand does not show the usual signs of a rye whiskey—with its dark colour and some Indianness to it, the malt sets its bar high enough to be compared with American or Scottish whiskeys.
Barrel: Virgin Charred Oak
Tasting Notes: A nose of dried tropical fruits paired with citrus and spice tastes
Age: About 4 years
Price: Approximately INR 12000
For any whiskey lover, these are some of the finest whiskeys that you can add to your collection. Have you tried one or more of these best rye whiskeys available in India? Let us know what you think of them in the comments below.