Rye Whiskey Rye has a lot in common with that other American whiskey, bourbon, and the two spirits are usually produced in the same Kentucky distilleries using similar methods. Both are typically made from corn and rye, but the ratio of ingredients is very different. Rye whiskey is made from at least 51% rye, while bourbon is made from at least 51% corn. The higher percentage of corn makes bourbon sweeter and smoother. (You can easily taste the difference if you make one Manhattan with bourbon and another with rye.) Both spirits are also aged in new, charred, American-oak barrels.