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Traverse City North Coast Rye Bourbon Review

I recently had the chance to taste the Traverse City North Coast Rye bourbon, and I was quite excited to explore its unique blend and flavor profile. This intriguing whiskey is a blend of two different rye products – one being a straight rye (at least 51% rye) and the other being a 100% rye whiskey. Distilled by Traverse City Whiskey Co., this combination results in a super-high rye content which brings about an interesting tasting experience.

Traverse City North Coast Rye Bourbonphoto credit: www.tcwhiskey.com

As a bourbon enthusiast, I was drawn to the Traverse City North Coast Rye’s distinct characteristics. The nose presented a mix of corn, grain, orange, and lemon with hints of cedar, making it quite an inviting whiskey. Upon tasting, I discovered sweet lemon and mild cherry flavors as well as some grassy notes. The finish was smooth with vanilla and a touch of oak, making it an overall enjoyable whiskey.

Throughout my experience with the Traverse City North Coast Rye, I found its unique blend of rye whiskeys to be the highlight. The sweet and citrusy notes were balanced well, providing a pleasant sipping experience. So, if you’re a fan of rye whiskeys or simply looking to try something new, this might just be the perfect bourbon for you.

Traverse City North Coast Rye Bourbon Overview

Product History

Traverse City Whiskey Co., located in Traverse City, MI, has crafted a unique rye whiskey called North Coast Rye. This rye whiskey is a blend of two distinct mash bills: one is 100% rye, and the other is 95% rye with 5% malted barley. Part of the company’s whiskey lineup, North Coast Rye Bourbon has a minimum age statement of 3 years, showcasing maturity and quality craftsmanship in each bottle.

Price Range

North Coast Rye Whiskey is reasonably priced, considering the quality of the product. It’s available for purchase around $37, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a delicious rye whiskey without breaking the bank.

With a proof of 90 (45% ABV), North Coast Rye is perfect for sipping neat or utilizing in a classic cocktail like an Old Fashioned. I cannot help but admire the versatility and quality of this spirit.

Tasting Notes


Upon first nosing the Traverse City North Coast Rye, I immediately picked up on the aroma of oak and caramel sweetness. The pleasant scent of charred oak is followed by a fruitiness from its Michigan origin, including subtle notes of orange peel and stone fruit. The rye spice is present but not overpowering, giving the nose a wholesome balance.


As I took my first sip, the palate revealed a delightful blend of flavors like butterscotch, dill, pepper, and a hint of apricot. The American rye brings a sense of warmth, while the malted barley showcases the foundation to a unique taste. I also detected a pleasant undertone of mint, plum, and apples, which adds to the complexity of this 90 proof whiskey.


The North Coast Rye’s finish lingers, offering a medium length experience where the rye grain and rye spice come together in harmony along with charred oak and honey. The spices and lemony citrus persist on the tongue, creating a delectable aftertaste that makes this whiskey memorable.


In my opinion, the Traverse City North Coast Rye is an enjoyable whiskey with a diverse flavor profile thanks to its Michigan origin and unique grain blend. Despite its 45% ABV, it remains smooth and inviting. I would give this whiskey a solid 4/5 rating, as it showcases delightful flavors and aromas while maintaining a warm, friendly character.

Mixing and Pairing

Best Mixers

The distinct citrus notes, particularly orange and lemon, tend to shine through, making it compatible with mixers that emphasize or complement these flavors. Some mixers I recommend trying with this rye whiskey are:

  • Ginger ale or ginger beer: The spicy, zesty flavor of ginger really melds well with the rye and citrus notes.
  • Club soda or tonic water: For a lighter version that still showcases the whiskey’s flavors, adding some fizz helps to balance and enhance the experience.
  • Fresh lemon or orange juice: These fruity components help amplify the citrus qualities in the whiskey, making for a fun, bright cocktail.

Cocktail Suggestions

Cocktail Suggestionsphoto credit: www.wallpaperflare.com

While Traverse City North Coast Rye is surprisingly easy to drink neat or on the rocks, it also lends itself well to cocktails. Here are a few suggestions that I believe maximize this rye whiskey’s unique character:

  • Rye Whiskey Sour: Mix 2 oz Traverse City North Coast Rye with 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice, 3/4 oz simple syrup, and a dash of bitters. Shake with ice, strain into a glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
  • North Coast Old Fashioned: Muddle a sugar cube with a few dashes of bitters and a splash of water in a glass. Add 2 oz Traverse City North Coast Rye and a large ice cube. Stir gently and garnish with an orange twist.
  • Rye Collins: In a tall glass filled with ice, combine 2 oz Traverse City North Coast Rye, 1 oz fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 oz simple syrup. Top with club soda, stir gently, and garnish with a lemon wedge.

Food Pairings

Food Pairingsphoto credit: www.pexels.com

When it comes to food pairings, Traverse City North Coast Rye’s bright citrus notes and mild oak make it versatile for a range of dishes. Some foods I’d recommend trying with this whiskey are:

  • Charcuterie boards: A selection of cured meats, aged cheeses, and pickles can play off the whiskey’s citrus and rye characteristics and provide a nice contrast.
  • Grilled seafood: Consider pairing this rye whiskey with grilled shrimp, scallops, or white fish, seasoned with lemon and herbs to harmonize with the whiskey’s flavors.
  • BBQ dishes: The bold flavors of slow-cooked meats, whether sweet or spicy, can pair well with Traverse City North Coast Rye, as the whiskey’s citrus notes act as a balancing element to the rich, smoky barbecue flavors.


I find Traverse City North Coast Rye to be a unique and enjoyable whiskey. The flavors present are light and bright, making this rye stand out among its counterparts. One notable aspect is the blend of two ryes: one 100% rye and the other 95% rye with 5% barley, giving it a distinct character.

Although the whiskey lacks some complexity and maturity due to its time in oak, it does provide a fresh experience, allowing lemon notes to shine through. This aspect may appeal to those who enjoy a whiskey with a touch of novelty. The finish is on the shorter side, but the spicy rye and minty flavors linger just enough to be pleasant.

At a reasonable price of around $37 for a 750ml bottle, I would say it’s worth giving Traverse City North Coast Rye a try. While it may not be my top choice for rye whiskey, it delivers a solid and approachable rye experience. It is evident that this Michigan-based company has put effort into crafting a high-quality rye whiskey, and I am eager to see how their products evolve over time.

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