Years ago, in the 60's When one spoke about rye, for most part they meant a blended whisky. Straight ryes such as Old Overholt were few and still are.
Popular were items like Seagrams 7, Schenley, Imperial, Corby's, Old Thompson, Carstairs, Wilson, Kinsey Silver, Philadelphia, 4 Roses, Bartons Reserve, Fleischmann's, 4 Roses to name a few.
The cream of the crop in those days was Lord Calvert
The difference between most of these was not only in the aging but also the ratio of blended whiskeys to grain neutral spirits (plain alcohol).
Cheaper whiskey's like Wilson contained only 27 1/2% straight whiskeys while 4 Roses contained 40%
Likewise while Seagrams and Schenley's were exactly the same price, Seagrams was a blend of 4, 5, and 6 year old whiskeys while the entire Schenley product was aged 8 years. So you see, even in those years you had to read the labels.
That information I think no longer exists.
At the same time, you could also determine who made what as the distillery nubers used to appear in the glass on the bottom of the bottle.
If I remember correctly, Seagrams was D-126 and Schenley was D-90.
In regards to the comment about rice being used for whiskey or vodka.
You can distill alcohol from beets, barley, rye, corn, potatoes, you name it.
Traditionally, Vodka in Europe was distilled from potatoes but not because it was best, because it was plentiful.
Now Vodka is the fu fu drink that has to be consumed in a martini glass with your pinke raised.
You can spend 30-40 a bottle for Chopin, Belvedere, Stoli or Grey goose if you wish but one of the vodkas that is among the least expensive which is Smirnoff always seems to be in the top 3 in every taste test.
I really laugh at those that spend big dollars on an expensive vodka only to have it ruined by adding a mixer.
In Europe, chill it, put it in a vodka cup and drink it like a man.
Mixing good vodka with cranberry juice and the like is like using Chateau Margaux as a cooking wine