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This is my second rye whisky, the first one being the Bulleit 95 Rye, which I really enjoyed. With the limited availability around these parts, Rittenhouse Straight Rye seemed like a natural step forward.
I opened the bottle early in the summer, and I've been enjoying it on both warm and cold summer days. A bit of air did it good, but Rittenhouse didn't need nearly as much as the Bulleit.
Nose: Loads of aroma, but none of them overpowering. This seems very balanced straight out of the bottle. A mellow sweetness,, followed by notes of vanilla, tropical fruits, spices and rye. It is fruity, but perfumed in any way. A hint of caramel and some oak.
Palate: Intense rye flavour, spices and vanilla. The flavour is delicious and sweet, immediately making me want to have another sip. Warm, sweet pepper and mild chili, along with caramel, oak and a trace of liquorice.
Finish: Some oak, at times somewhat bitter. Spices, notably cloves, rye and maple syrup. The spice and the alcohol warmth makes me think of hot chocolate with chili. I'm also thinking the bitter sensation might be peppermint?
The biggest difference with a spoon of water was the chocolate/cocoa notes on the palate, as well as reducing the bitterness of the finish.
Comment: So far, this is my favourite rye whisky. I'm looking forward to explore this branch of the whisky tree further.