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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.