Thirteenth Colony Distilleries Southern Rye Whiskey

There has been a lot of discussion about Thirteenth Colony Distilleries since my review of their bourbon in 2023.  We’ll dive into that further into this post, and I’ll share my thoughts on the big picture with this Americus, GA brand.  For now, let’s dive into the Thirteenth Colony Distilleries rye and find out what this Southern Rye Whiskey is all about.


John H.




January 11th, 2024

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I’ll begin the product information section of this post by addressing what I discussed in my review of the Thirteenth Colony Distilleries Southern Bourbon Whiskey, as the labeling on the rye is equally confusing to the customer in that there are things missing we would expect to find on the label, as well as things on the label we likely don’t expect to see. I am–of course–referring to the lack of a designation of ‘Straight’ on the label, the lack of a state of distillation, as well as any apparent age-statement.

Whiskey enthusiasts are certainly a vocal crowd in the whiskey world, and for a number of what I deem to be good reasons. Folks who spend their time researching brands and their products want to know what they are paying for. On top of that, many of these consumers want to support brands they align with for one reason or another. Supporting producers (especially those operating on a smaller scale) is the customer’s way of voting with their wallet. Including clear and transparent information on labels is, in my opinion, the easiest way to the hearts of the enthusiasts. In the case of Thirteenth Colony Distilleries, we need to head to thee web and look through the FAQ page of their website to glean the following information:

Q: Are all 13th Colony aged spirits considered “Straight”?

A: Yes, all 13th Colony aged products are aged a minimum of 4 years and follow all guidelines to be considered a Straight Bourbon/Whiskey.

Q: Does 13th Colony use any additional additives, color or flavor?

A: No, 13th Colony does not add additives, coloring, or flavorings to our products. Yes, our Double Oak Bourbon is naturally that dark. Thank South Georgia weather for that!

This information being presented on their website is definitely appreciated; however, it does raise a point that I have been constantly hearing around the enthusiast crowd lately in that a website can say anything, as it is not regulated. This isn’t in anyway an accusation of Thirteenth Colony Distilleries (or any brand choosing what to disclose on their label) but it’s worth nothing that the TTB does not regulate website information, whereas they do enforce what is placed on the label of a bottle of liquor. Ultimately: if it’s not on the label, some consumers may view that lack of information as an intentional lack of transparency, at best, or dishonesty at worst.

Looking at the back label of the bottle, we find the following information: ‘Produced and bottled By Thirteenth Colony Distilleries’ in Americus, GA., USA’. The specific wording here is another important detail as it isn’t clear to the consumer if the whiskey in the bottle was, in fact, distilled at (and by) the distillery in Georgia.

Just as I mentioned in my review of the Southern Bourbon, I want to highlight that I reached out to Thirteenth Colony for clarification on this point, and they shared: “we have grown at a pace that requires that we also use contract distilling” in response. I leave the decision up to the reader as to how they view the statement and what it means in terms of the liquid in the bottle.

Speaking of the liquid, I feel like it’s time to move along. Hell, to be honest, there has been so much discussion about all of these points from folks in the whiskey world lately, I feel like I’m ready to just leave this information here for the reader, and move on to the reason for this post: how the whiskey tastes.

Tasting Notes…

Nose – Charred oak, demerara sugar, dark rye bread, background of baking spice and a dash of mint

Taste – Big and sweet right up front with layered caramel candies and oak that is quickly followed up with a nice spicy hit of rye and  just a touch of dark jammy fruit.

Finish – Medium finish with initial sweetness and a rich sugary vibe that fades into a spicy finale

Bourbon Finder Grade: B-

Final thoughts…

This is another offering from Thirteenth Colony Distilleries that I find to be pretty impressive in it’s own right.  The whiskey world can, and will, speculate the nitty gritty details until the end of time.  Where was it distilled?  Was the whiskey dosed with any type of additives?  Is the brand using their own distillate at all?  These are all questions that can only be answered by the brand themselves in the form of transparent information on their labels.

What I can say is that the products they are putting on store shelves taste good.  I like everything I have tried by them, including their limited edition Double Oak Bourbon (stay tuned for that review).  In terms of this rye specifically, it brings rich character and certainly hits the mark for a 95/5 rye.  If you’re looking for a rye that has decent depth and a well-rounded profile, you’ve found your match.

Be sure to subscribe to the Whiskey Raiders Podcast to hear Jay and myself sip 13th Colony bourbon and rye and share our first impressions

The Bourbon Finder thanks 13th Colony Distilleries for graciously providing us a sample of their product and the images used in this post. Being able to try new things in the whiskey space, without strings attached, is an opportunity we greatly appreciate. Per our review ethos, we provide objective reviews and commentary on media samples of spirits and products; remember, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!

Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!

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