Rittenhouse Straight Rye

Rittenhouse Rye is Heaven Hill's "PA style" rye whiskey (the other HH rye whiskey being their "Maryland style" Pikesville Rye). Rittenhouse is not actually crafted in the style of the traditional PA ryes (which had higher rye content and were not fermented with sour mash). Nevertheless, Rittenhouse Rye whiskey is old school. Heaven Hill hit the jackpot with this lower shelf, unique bottled-in-bond, but I can’t tell if it’s sugar or spice/animal/mineral. Who cares what it is…there is some hidden Kentucky magic in this $20 gem. 

I’ve been in love with this for a while and set it in the Pantheon of whiskey.

Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whiskey

[Pennsylvania style, in honor of Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia]
Heaven Hill Distilleries, Louisville, KY
100 proof (BiB)
Aged in Oak 4 years
Price: $22 at ABC in Charlotte, NC

Color

Copper.

Nose

Slight and tight...barely a whiff but of Rye. The alcohol stays contained in the bowl. You can feel the heavy gravity just sitting there waiting for you to slurp it up. The best hooch is the dangerous one you can drink too easily. No pain, just a quiet, satisfying warmth.

Tasting Notes

Dry and mellow...not as sweet as my opinions might infer. Goes down like molten fruitcake with mulled cinnamon, thick dark honey and holiday spices but not those usually associated with Rye. A beer-like molecular brew. This is a low rider, heavy duty, strong and silent type. The dark wood profile (no smoke) never goes one octave above baritone. If Lou Rawls was a whiskey….

Overall

A+. Picture heavy crimson colored, worn velvet curtains of a confessional in an old cathedral. Your cloaked heart goes into the darkness past beams of stained glass light. The experience yields comfort once you handed yourself over. No fire and brimstone burn when it’s done….you feel that this redemption will last forever. Yes, if you can find it, you’ll have a religious experience.

- Mike B