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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.