PDA

View Full Version : Rittenhouse 21 Year Old Straight (Bonded?) Rye



Gillman
05-16-2006, 12:48
This will be released by Heaven Hill in September, some of us tasted a beta version late last year and it was very good. It may be issued as a bond and if so I wonder if the bottle will state it was distilled by DSP KY 31. Rittenhouse (as for Mellow Corn) was originally a Medley brand, Medley of Owensboro. I don't know when the purchase occured but I think it was in the last 20 years. If so and if HH bought stocks of young rye with the label, the label of a bonded 21 year old release would have to state the distillery number of Medley in Owensboro (I believe, unless HH has DSP 31-distilled 21 year old stocks of rye, which is possible I guess). Even if it is not released as a bonded, of course the whiskey in the bottle possibly will have been made at Owensboro. (I hope I stated the tense of this correctly, this isn't easy to do!). If this is so, the taste, at 21 years, might resemble the earlier bottlings of ORVW 13 year old rye which, in their later form (say, the D batch), were about 17-18 years old. That ORVW 13 year old was reputed by some to have been 100% Medley whiskey.

Comments?

Gary

NorCalBoozer
05-16-2006, 14:24
wow I had no idea some of the ORVW ryes were up near 17 y.o.

Is the general consensus that ryes can handle more barrel time and not get as much oak effect (as compared to a wheater bourbon)?

barturtle
05-16-2006, 15:11
Actually the way HH currently does Old Fitz BIB is state both the distillery and the bottling plant-I'm not sure both are required(and am too lazy at the moment to check)

Yes it would be fun to do a comparo between the latest VWFRR (the "g" is about 19yo) and this new 21yo, and also throw in the upcoming release of Vintage Rye 21 and 23yo coming from KBD...of course at that point you might as well get the Hirsch 21 and Saz 18 and the Classic Cask and BMH and....am I missing any of the oldies?

Some days I just have no restraint!

cowdery
05-16-2006, 18:19
I am 99.9% sure the 21-year-old rye we tasted at Heaven Hill, and which they are going to release under the Rittenhouse name, was entirely distilled by Heaven Hill.

As for the Rittenhouse name, it was once Medley, but HH didn't get it directly from them. Glenmore acquired it when it acquired the entire Medley company, then Glenmore was acquired by what is now Diageo. I don't recall exactly when HH acquired the brand from them, but it was no earlier than 1992.

The rye whiskey HH is preparing to bottle as Rittenhouse 21-year-old was contract distilled for a Heaven Hill customer. They bought it and paid for it but never took delivery, i.e., they never asked HH to bottle it and take it out of bond. When it started to get a little long in the tooth, HH said to its customer, "you know, this stuff needs to be taken out of wood pretty soon or it's going to get too woody. If you don't want it, would you consider selling it back to us?"

And they did.

nor02lei
05-17-2006, 13:08
I am 99.9% sure the 21-year-old rye we tasted at Heaven Hill, and which they are going to release under the Rittenhouse name, was entirely distilled by Heaven Hill.

As for the Rittenhouse name, it was once Medley, but HH didn't get it directly from them. Glenmore acquired it when it acquired the entire Medley company, then Glenmore was acquired by what is now Diageo. I don't recall exactly when HH acquired the brand from them, but it was no earlier than 1992.

The rye whiskey HH is preparing to bottle as Rittenhouse 21-year-old was contract distilled for a Heaven Hill customer. They bought it and paid for it but never took delivery, i.e., they never asked HH to bottle it and take it out of bond. When it started to get a little long in the tooth, HH said to its customer, "you know, this stuff needs to be taken out of wood pretty soon or it's going to get too woody. If you don't want it, would you consider selling it back to us?"

And they did.

Chuck,

Glad to hear that. The Medley rye doesn’t seem to bee standing 21 years. Could partly be to there light 51% rye mash. From drinking the Rittenhouse 10 I am positively sure in would stand another 11 years at least if it is distilled to there normal 65% rye mash. Do you think it might have been distilled in another way somehow due to the fact it was contract distilled?

Leif

cowdery
05-17-2006, 16:29
Do you think it might have been distilled in another way somehow due to the fact it was contract distilled?

Leif

That's unlikely.

dgonano
05-18-2006, 12:29
As many know, HH also produces Pikesville Rye. They acquired the brand from Standard Distillers in the mid 80's and for a short time even distilled the rye whiskey for Standard before the acquisition was completed.

This could very well be barrels originally intended for the Pikesville label.

dgonano
05-18-2006, 12:49
To add to my above message.... I am not sure when HH actual acquired the Pikesville brand or the timing of HH producing whiskey for their new brand.
I am 99% sure that they contract distilled for Standard's Pikeville label for a short period of time in the mid 80's.

nor02lei
05-18-2006, 13:13
As many know, HH also produces Pikesville Rye. They acquired the brand from Standard Distillers in the mid 80's and for a short time even distilled the rye whiskey for Standard before the acquisition was completed.

This could very well be barrels originally intended for the Pikesville label.

Dave,

Very interesting indeed! I wonder if we will know for sure anytime what the barrels was meant for and home ordered them.

Leif

Gillman
05-18-2006, 13:18
Maybe that's the answer, they were rye contract distilled for Standard Distillers and due to excess supply some of the barrels got too old for the Pikesville brand, hence were not used for that label. Why, since HH bought the label from Standard, were such stocks not bought back? Hard to say, maybe they were too old at the time and Standard (which still exists and distributes bourbon under its own labels) meant to use the product for another label but never did. Good thinking Dave, you may be onto something. But I still would like to know, what happened to existing Medley stocks of rye when HH bought the label of Rittenhouse from Glenmore/United or whomever the parent of Medley was at that time? Maybe it became that Stephen Foster brand?

Gary

nor02lei
05-18-2006, 13:46
But I still would like to know to know, what happened to existing Medley stocks of rye when HH bought the label of Rittenhouse from Glenmore/United or whomever the parent of Medley was at that time? Maybe it became that Stephen Foster brand?

Gary

Gary,

I guess Julian bought quite bit of the 1985 stock for his rye brands.

Leif

cowdery
05-18-2006, 15:40
In the spring of 1993, Heaven Hill bought 70 brands from what was then United Distillers (now Diageo), immediately selling some of them to David Sherman. This is when they acquired Rittenhouse. While I can't state this as a fact, it is unlikely that HH acquired any whiskey in that transaction, just the brand names. HH never had any reason to buy whiskey from anyone else until the fire in 1996 destroyed the Bardstown distillery. Heaven Hill has production capacity issues now because they have grown so much and the Bernheim plant isn't as big as they would like, but back then they had all the capacity they needed. They also prided themselves on being the only whiskey distillery in the US that made whiskey all year.

Prior to the Rittenhouse acquisition, the only rye HH made was Pikesville. It's possible they had some occasion to make rye prior to contracting with Standard to supply whiskey for Pikesville, but I doubt it.

That was some good detective work on Dave G's part and I suspect he's right, that the 21-year-old rye HH reacquired probably was made for Standard. As for what happened to the Glenmore whiskey (remember, Glenmore had owned Medley for several years at that point), it became United's, which, as you'll recall, also owned Old Fitz, from which Julian was buying his bourbon.

Just to be clear, UD didn't keep that whiskey on purpose, they kept it because HH didn't need or want it. Although it was starting to lessen by 1993, there was still a whiskey glut.

Another reason to doubt that the whiskey in question is Medley/Glenmore is that in 1993 it would have already been nine years old. HH does not throw money away and in 1993, buying 9-year-old rye whiskey would have been perceived as throwing money away.

Also to clarify, Heaven Hill's Bardstown plant made one rye whiskey and one bourbon. In other words, when they acquired Rittenhouse they didn't start making a different rye formula. It was the same rye they were using for Pikesville. Today, HH makes one rye whiskey, one wheat whiskey and two bourbons, one using wheat and the other using rye.

The late-80s, early 90s was a period of massive realignment and was when HH, Sazerac, David Sherman, Barton and others acquired many of their brands. Beam either sold off or discontinued a lot of National's brands after that acquisition in 1987, Seagram's unloaded a bunch in 1989 (most of them going to either HH or Sazerac), then the big United sell-off in 1993.

Gillman
05-18-2006, 15:58
Excellent Chuck, many thanks.

Gary