Best Ryes | Bottled in Bond | Guide

The 11 Best Rye Whiskeys Under $30 Ranked [2021]

Last updated Jan 13, 2021 | Published on Dec 28, 2020

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by Matty Sims

The best rye whiskeys under $30 is a small herd (let’s call it exclusive). They have a few things in common: (1) they are jammed packed with flavor, (2) they are under $30 (duh), and (3) they are proof positive that a good rye whiskey doesn’t have to be expensive to be delicious. In American, rye whiskey requires a mashbill of at least 51% rye with some rye whiskeys boasting a 100 percent rye mashbill. Rye is the spice in the bourbon mashbill — it’s the yin to bourbon’s sweet corn yang. By law, rye whiskey must contain at least 51% rye in the mashbill.

Rye whiskey has a long history in America — it was America’s native spirit before bourbon came on the scene. It started in the mid-Atlantic region. There are two family trees — Maryland Rye and Pennsylvania Monongahela Rye. PA rye is usually upwards of 80 percent rye, whereas Maryland is finished more heavily with other grains. Old Overholt and Rittenhouse both on our list started as PA ryes before being bought out by Heaven Hill. Most modern ryes being made in KY and other states follow the MD rye style — although MGP’s 95 percent rye mashbill has made the PA style more common.

OK, that’s a bit of rye whiskey history to set the stage. Now, these are the best rye whiskeys for beginners.

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#1 – Old Overholt Bonded

Old Overholt Bonded

Availability: Readily Available
Distillery: James B. Beam Distilling Co.
In the Bottle: 100 Proof
Address: 568 Happy Hollow Rd, Clermont, KY 40110
MSRP: $25
Website: beamsuntory.com
Review: Coming Soon
Notes: The new 2020 Old Overholt Bonded has created quite the stir. Make sure the cap is red — that’s key to identifying the new stuff.

#2 – Sazerac Rye

Sazerac Rye

Availability: Readily Available
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery
In the Bottle: 90 Proof
Address: 113 Great Buffalo Trace, Frankfort, KY 40601
MSRP: $30
Website: buffalotrace.com
Review: Coming Soon
Notes: I remember first trying whiskey — my buddy warned me these whiskeys were similar to bourbon but spicier. Let’s say it wasn’t love at first sip. I didn’t return to rye whiskeys for several years. But Sazerac was the rye whiskey that got me back on the rye train.

#3 – Old Forester Rye

Old Forester Rye

Availability: Readily Available
Distillery: Old Forester Distillery
In the Bottle: 100 Proof
Address: 119 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202
MSRP: $22.99
Website: oldforester.com
Review: Coming Soon
Notes: Old Forester Rye is a newcomer to the market and was roundly received with a hearty amen.

#4 – Rittenhouse Rye Bottled in Bond

Rittenhouse Rye Bottled in Bond

Availability: Readily Available
Distillery: Heaven Hill Distillery
In the Bottle: More
Address: 1701 W Breckinridge St, Louisville, KY 40210
MSRP: $25
Website: heavenhilldistillery.com
Review: Coming Soon
Notes: Heaven Hill knows what it’s doing when it comes to rye whiskey and bottled in bond requirements. Rittenhouse is bold and punchy and at a great price.

#5 – Bone Snapper Straight Rye Whiskey

Bone Snapper Rye

Availability: Readily Available
Distillery: Non-Distilling Producers (NDP)
Sourced: MGPI Distillery
In the Bottle: 108 Proof
Address: 1845 S. Vineyard Ave., Suite 3, Ontario, CA 91761
MSRP: $30
Website: bonesnapperrye.com
Review: Coming Soon
Notes: I’m seeing Bone Snapper pop up more and more and the MGP geeks are snapping it up. Also, they have a robust single barrel program so look out for single barrel picks.

#6 – Elijah Craig Straight Rye

Elijah Craig Rye

Availability: Readily Available
Distillery: Heaven Hill Distillery
In the Bottle: 94 Proof
Address: 1701 W Breckinridge St, Louisville, KY 40210
MSRP: $24.99
Website: heavenhilldistillery.com
Review: Coming Soon
Notes: Elijah Craig Straight Rye released in 2020 with good fanfare for the price point.

#7 – Bulleit Rye Whiskey

Bulleit Rye

Availability: Readily Available
Distillery: Bulleit Distillery
Sourced: MGPI Distillery
In the Bottle: 95 Proof
Address: 3464 Benson Pike, Shelbyville, KY 40065
MSRP: $28
Website: bulleit.com
Review: Coming Soon
Notes: Their rye whiskey is distilled by MGP in Indiana but it’s aged both in Indiana and in Kentucky. They use a western PA style rye mashbill. It’s 95% rye and 5% malted barley then blended by Bulleit.

#8 – Redemption Rye Whiskey

Redemption Rye

Availability: Readily Available
Distillery: Non-Distilling Producers (NDP)
Sourced: MGPI Distillery
In the Bottle: 92%
Address: 201 Tresser Blvd., Suite 500 Stamford, CT 06901
MSRP: $24.99
Website: redemptionwhiskey.com
Review: Coming Soon
Notes: Redemption Rye chose a high rye mashbill — 95% Rye, 5% Malted Barley — to create a bold rye whiskey with the classic Western PA rye whiskey punch.

#9 – High West Double Rye

High West Double Rye

Availability: Readily Available
Distillery: High West Distillery
Sourced: MGPI Distillery
In the Bottle: 92 Proof
Address: Old Lincoln Hwy Wanship, UT 27649
MSRP: $25.99
Website: highwest.com
Review: Coming Soon
Notes: The Double Rye Whiskey is a blend of two whiskeys — one sourced from MGP and the other rye distillate from High West.

#10 – Wild Turkey 101 Rye

WT 101 Rye

Availability: Readily Available
Distillery: Wild Turkey Distillery
In the Bottle: 101 Proof
Address: 1417 Versailles Rd, Lawrenceburg, KY 40342
MSRP: $23.99
Website: wildturkeybourbon.com
Review: Coming Soon
Notes: WT 101 Rye is a NAS whiskey with a mashbill of 51% Rye, 37% Corn, 12% Malted Barley.

#11 – Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock and Rye

Slow & Low Rock and Rye

Availability: Readily Available
Distillery: The Cooper Spirits Co.
Sourced: Multiple Distilleries
In the Bottle: 84 Proof
Address: Newport Beach, CA
MSRP: $24.99
Website: drinkslowandlow.com
Review: Coming Soon
Notes: Rock and Rye is a finished rye whiskey that has a long history in America. Here’s a bit more: “Oddly enough, rock and rye’s first role was as medicine. By the late 1870s, virtually every pharmacy in the nation was stocking their shelves with some proprietary recipe, often promoted as a sort of cough syrup. As a medicine, rock and rye was taxed at a lower rate than liquor, adding to the potential profit. In 1883, the drink was finally reclassified as a distilled spirit” (Whiskey Advocate).

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is the Editor-in-Chief at a digital media company. LeAnn (his wife) and his daughters Claire, Maddy, and Adele along with a brand new pup Booker live in Taylors, SC, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys cracking a well-aged bottle of bourbon with friends and sharing stories, or cracking one of his favorite daily sippers on the back porch while the pup and his kids play in the backyard. He is a storyteller at heart, and Bourbon has deep roots in storytelling.

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