The Southern Star Paragon Double Rye is made at the Southern Distilling Company in Statesville, North Carolina. The owners, Pete and Vienna Barger, created the company to make good whiskey – for themselves and others. Their business plan included becoming a topnotch contract distiller, filling a need in the American whiskey business. They also wanted to make and bottle great whiskey for themselves. They have succeeded on both levels. The Southern Star Paragon brand is great whiskey. The Rye barely beat out their Bottled-in-Bond wheated Bourbon for the Whiskey of the Month for January 2023. Matt and I tasted this excellent whiskey and here are our tasting notes.

Southern Star Paragon Double Rye

Proof: 88

Age: No Age Statement


  • Mike: Rye grass with rich caramel and oak wood – a very simple nose.
  • Matt: Rye grass, vanilla, strawberry lemonade, oak wood.


  • Mike: Rye grass, caramel, apricots and peaches, cinnamon and nutmeg spice, oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and a berry note comes forward with rich apricot fruit. Tasted with a pecan and chocolate, caramel and baking spices dominate the flavor.
  • Matt: Rye grass and a note of pine with vanilla, lemon citrus and oak wood. The dried cranberry made the vanilla a rich caramel with lemon, rye grass and oak wood. The pecan brought out cocoa and toasted pine nuts with lemon and oak wood.


  • Mike: Medium long with oak and lingering caramel sweetness. The dried cranberry made the finish sweeter with oak wood and lingering caramel and fruit. The pecan made it a very long finish with oak with lingering chocolate and caramel.
  • Matt: Medium long with oak, rye grass, pine and turmeric spice. The dried cranberry made the finish sweeter with lingering caramel. The pecan made the finish longer with oak, rye grass and lemon.

I would pair this fine Rye whiskey with a cigar that is rich in vanilla and chocolate in the smoke. I would reach for a My Father The Judge cigar.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller