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Rittenhouse Straight Rye 100 Proof

Bourbon? Rye? Same difference

0 891

@MegawattReview by @Megawatt

13th Jun 2011


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Rittenhouse is only the second American straight rye I've had, and to tell the truth I doubt I could tell it apart from a bourbon. Maybe my nose for American whiskey just isn't that developed. Anyway, here are my thoughts on this fine whiskey.

Nose: full and sweet, with cigar box, baking sweets, glazed pecan. Basically, your usual bourbon notes, but with a nice, soft roundness to it. Beautiful wood sugar, and hints of maraschino cherry. Mind you, I already added water; otherwise, this would be a pretty hot affair.

Taste: follows through as expected; no surprises here. The oak is well-behaved and allows the whisky to express itself. This just might be the right age for it. More spice is brought out that what the nose suggested. Still, a dead ringer for a bourbon in my book.

Finish: very nicely done. Fades on a lingering oaky sweetness and leaves a pleasant wood smoke essence. Also a touch of tart cherry flavour.

Balance: I was not expecting this to score quite so high, but it pushes all the right buttons: it's strong, inexpensive, unpretentious, and delivers an above-average sipping experience from beginning to end.

Related Rittenhouse reviews


Victor commented

Percentage of rye in the mashbill is the only significant difference between American Straight Rye Whiskeys and the 95% of bourbons which are made with a rye mashbill. Bourbons usually range between 10 and 30% rye in the mashbill, whereas straight ryes must have at least 51% rye minumum in the mashbill. Usually straight ryes do not have much above 51% rye in their mashbills.

11 years ago 0

Megawatt commented

Interesting. So much is made of straight rye as being a distinct spirit when in fact it is maybe only different from bourbon by a few degrees.

11 years ago 0

Victor commented

@Megawatt, well, to my palate it is pretty easy to taste the difference between a 10-15% rye mashbill bourbon, like Eagle Rare, a high rye, 25-30% rye, mashbill bourbon like Bulleit, Old Grand-Dad,or Fighting Cock,and a straight rye whiskey. I would be very interested in your experinces after you have tried a few more products. I absolutely agree with you, though, that a high rye mashbill bourbon, like those mentioned above and a few others, do give a taste which is very heavy on the rye. The lower rye mashbill bourbons allow the wood to come through as a proportionally stronger component of the overall flavour profile.

11 years ago 0

Megawatt commented

I'm having some Rittenhouse at full strength and I do notice the rye notes more now. Still bourbony but much more herbal/vegetal. Very nice...

11 years ago 0

Victor commented

@Megawatt, Rittenhouse also has a 40% ABV Rye, which is not as widely distributed, and has the bottle label pictured for this review, rather than the black label used for the BIB 100 proof (50% ABV) version which you reviewed. When you said that you added water in the review, I smiled and immediately said to myself "Oh, so you had the 80 proof Rittenhouse Rye!" Add a little water to the BIB and that's exactly what you get.

11 years ago 0

dbk commented

As you can see, @Megawatt, you're not the only one who thinks that the Rittenhouse BIB is reminiscent of a bourbon: connosr.com/reviews/rittenhouse/…

However, I would say that most ryes I've had are in fact distinct from the vast majority of bourbons. Rittenhouse BIB (and presumably the 80ยบ expression, as well) simply don't put these distinctions on display, like other ryes do.

11 years ago 0

Alanxv commented

As a novice my experience in American whiskey is dominated by bourbons. I have only recently delved into rye whiskeys. As a bourbon lover I like the fact that Rittenhouse straight rye 100 proof has all he characteristics of a good bourbon and punctuates it with the concentrated spicy flavor of the rye grain. As one who is experiencing rye whiskey for the first time I found it a good balance between familiar flavors and new ones.

9 years ago 0

Newkophile commented

Having finally seen a bottle of the BIB 100 at my local TW&L, I grabbed it and did some tasting tonight. Wow! This does not come on like any bourbon I have tried, the extra spicy character provided by the >50% rye presence in the mashbill, is quite overwhelming at first. I did add two tsps water and savored this incredible rye, detecting notes of chocolate and mint in the process. I think this is quite a bargain for the $30 I paid.

8 years ago 0

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