Rye is a type of whiskey that by law must be distilled from a fermented mash of at least 51 percent rye grain. Visualize boiling oatmeal.
In distilling whiskey, the higher content of small grains - i.e., rye and barley - the heavier the whiskey body.
Modern taste and the consolidation of distilleries has resulted in most North American whiskeys being the blended bourbon variety, which is lighter in body. Though rye has slipped in popularity, it should not be considered an also-ran. Many original whiskey cocktails called for straight rye.