Bourbon Legend Jim Rutledge Launches a Straight Rye Whiskey

Jim Rutledge high plains rye whiskey

After more than four decades of bourbon-making at Seagram and Four Roses — including leading the latter into the global brand it is today — legendary Master Distiller Jim Rutledge has launched his own rye.

High Plains Rye Straight Rye Whiskey hits stores late July. It is 48.5% ABV.

The J. W. Rutledge Distillery team worked on High Plains Rye for more than a year. This multi-state blend includes five straight rye whiskeys from four states: Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and New York. Each straight whiskey in High Plains Rye has its own unique recipe — varying from 51% rye grain to 100% rye — and yeast strain.


“A lot went into the selection of the whiskies that we use for this blend,” says Rutledge. “I’ve wanted to do a rye for a long time, but I wanted it to be something unique. By combining these five different recipes, we created a really nice straight rye whiskey that is gentle on the palate with a nice, smooth finish.”

Company-provided tasting notes are as follows:


“When first nosing High Plains Rye, the mellowness of the four-year-old whiskey is quite apparent. Light spicy notes of allspice, nutmeg and white pepper are noticeable in this unique multi-state whiskey. Hints of cinnamon, brown sugar and butterscotch also present themselves. The whiskey changes slightly to persimmon fruit, light caramel and rye grain when a couple chips of ice are added. When sipped, persimmon is found mid-palate along with a gentle hint of cayenne pepper. There are also notes of soft vanilla bean, yet the rye stays assertive. The relatively short finish, which is typical of younger whiskeys, is surprisingly very gentle with a nice dry quality.”

Rutledge retired from Four Roses Distillery several years ago, and continues now with J. W. Rutledge Distillery. First he launched Cream of Kentucky Bourbon, followed by High Plains Rye.

High Plains Rye releases in 24 states across with U.S., with plans to expand distribution in the future.

The suggested retail price is approximately $54.95 per 750-ml. bottle.



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