Rittenhouse is a polarizing American rye here on the interweb machine. Search Reddit and you'll find opinions varying from "the best bang for your buck in all of rye-dom" to "this is pure trash". What's a guy to do? Why taste it for himself of course. I've got a bit of a rocky, storied relationship with Heaven Hill products. I was very disappointed when they dropped the 12 year age statement from the standard Elijah Craig bourbon as that was one of my go-to bottles. The first bottle of Elijah Craig Small Batch (NAS) I owned was awful. Or maybe it was too different from the old 12 Year version. Or maybe it was my subconscious playing tricks on me. Either way, I've owned a few bottles of the Elijah Craig Small Batch since then and it's still pretty darned good now that my anger has subsided. Let's see what Rittenhouse has going on:
- Nose (undiluted): the first thing that hits me is Cherry Coke, syrupy sweet caramel corn, then some typical rye spices (cloves, cardamom, a little bit of allspice), with time there's a bit of leather coming through as well
- Palate: rich, oak-forward, heavy on the rye spices (cloves and cardamom), some paprika, a bit of corn sweetness, some vanilla and caramel too.
- Finish: long, slightly tannic (but not too tannic), with plenty of tobacco and cherries, with oak and vanilla lingering. Yummy.
- With water: Ok I didn't add water to it, but I have had this rye in a lot of different cocktails and it works beautifully. It's especially good in a Vieux Carré.
- Thoughts: This is good. This is very good. No really, I can see myself always having this rye on hand, kind of like Wild Turkey 101 is my house bourbon.
@RianC Rittenhouse is Heaven Hill's standard line of rye whiskey. Pikesville was a totally separate brand of rye which Heaven Hill bought out in about 1974. They are advertised by Heaven Hill to be two different styles of Rye, but Heaven Hill has not been open about what elements in the production process or composition differentiate Rittenhouse from Pikesville. They taste different, for sure. And the young Pikesville Supreme, a 40% ABV 3 year old, tasted quite a bit different from the 6 yo 55% ABV Pikesville. Pikesville Rye 55% ABV 6 years old was first released in 2015. Pikesville Rye Whiskey has been produced and consumed since the 1890s.
@RianC US ryes do extremely well with air exposure, in fact they almost always improve with it. There is no downside to opening both your Rittenhouse and Sazerac Ryes at the same time, and no downside in keeping them both open for the next 6-10 years. But it won't take you that long to drink them, will it?