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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999

    Rittenhouse Rye 21-year-old

    Many of us at Bourbon Fest 2005 tasted a 21-year-old rye at Heaven Hill. That whiskey is now being prepared for market release as Rittenhouse Very Rare 21 Year Old Single Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey. Although it will be reduced to 100 proof (50% abv), it will not be chill-filtered.

    The first release will consist of just 3,000 bottles (750 ml size) that will retail for between $125 and $150. It will be released in the United States (exact market list TBD), the UK and France.

    It's important to note that this is not a one-time-only thing. Apparently they have a pipeline that will allow them to come out with new releases of the product annually.

    This straight rye whiskey was made by Heaven Hill at their distillery in Bardstown that burned down in 1996. Heaven Hill continued to make rye at a time when there wasn't much demand for it, one of only a handful of distilleries that did.

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Rockland County, NY

    I can afford 1/3 of a bottle

    First Hirsch Rye at >$100, now Rittenhouse at >$100

    C'mon. Give me a break!!!!

    Rye just ain't that good!!!

    I better get a Part Time Job

    (Come to think of it, I have to get a Full Time Job)
    Colonel Ed
    Bourbonian of the Year 2006

    Comissioned by Paul Patton, 1999

    "It ain't the booze that brings me in here, it's the solace it distills"

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2007
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    NYC, Louisville, Shenzhen
    This is very good news indeed. The straight rye to which Chuck refers was very fine indeed. Sampling it was one of the highlights of the 2005 Festival.
    ____ ____

  4. #4
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Melbourne, Victoria - Australia
    It will be released in the United States (exact market list TBD), the UK and France
    Disappointed Oz doesn't get a look in!!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Have to admit I'm very excited to see a new rye. Have to admit this $120-$140-$150-$200 thing is getting old quick. While I like having choices, I hate seeing the top end getting driven up, while so much more could be done with the lower and especially the mid-priced selections (expanding them).

    Saz 18 yo at $55 is a very good value. Pappy 20 (I realize Pappy isn't a rye) at $80 is a luxury, but obtainable and to me well thought out in determining the price. A 21 yo offering of rye Hirsch or HH for $110 to $150 is saying to me, let's see how much we can get for this, it's easier to come down on price, than it is to raise it.

    I guess I don't understand if you're going to shoot for the moon with your 21 yo, why you wouldn't try to compete at the mid-range too, say a 17 to 18 yo for about $50 to $55, or a 19 to 20 yo for $80 to $90 (still high but sounds a lot less than $100 plus).

    What Julian did with his Pappy's was a well thought out way to offer and market bourbons to everybody. A 15yo at $40, a 20yo at $80 and a 23yo at $180. Something for nearly everybody.

    Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take... but by the moments that take your breath away. 11/25/2004

  6. #6
    Mr. Anal Retentive Bourbon Drinker
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Houston, TX
    Chuck - I know you have stated in the past that you don't typically like overaged bourbon and most bourbons aged this long are overaged. I agree with you from my tasting experience; I prefer Pappy 15 vs. Pappy20, BMH 14 is better than the 16 or 21, I like Hirsch 16 more than Hirsch 20, and Elijah Craig is a totally different bourbon than the EC 18.

    However, the extra aged Ryes I have tasted have been very good. This includes the Classic Cask 21 YO and the Hirsch Selection 22 YO.

    So, what did you think of this Rye and older Ryes in general?

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2009 and Virtuoso
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Houston, Tx
    I also tasted this pre release. I thought it excellent.....and different from other releases out there. But north of $120. That puts it in the company of many great spirits....and I for one don't know if it will stand up over time.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    I would not be planning to buy this if I hadn't tasted it, but I DID taste it, and it was really something special. I don't pay triple digits for whiskey lightly, but this one is unique and good enough to justify it (in the weird alternate dimension we inhabit, where anyone would actually pay a hundred bucks for any bottle of whiskey!).

    If they make it a regular annual release, great! Maybe there won't be quite the feeding frenzy that a one-off release would cause.

  9. #9
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Straight rye does seem to take a long time in wood better than bourbon. Also, this whiskey was in a slow-aging location and was monitored throughout its life. It was when the folks at HH decided it wouldn't benefit from additional aging that they offered to buy it back from the company that contracted for it originally.

    As for younger ryes, their Rittenhouse BIB is a treasure and a great value. They barely have enough stock to keep that supplied, with rye's newfound popularity, so it may be a long time before they're in a position to offer something a little older, like 8 or 10 years.

    I have a pre-release sample of the Rittenhouse 21, so I'll let you know what I think after I try it again. I certainly remember liking it last September and it didn't seem too woody.

    Also, as I said in the Grail post, some older bourbons, such as the Van Winkles, are very good, but many others are from leftover or lost barrels that aren't really very good, but people buy them and even fall in love with them strictly because of the high number on the label.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Chicago SW 'burbs
    Hmm... north of $100 nixes it for me. Oh well - at least the young Rittenhouse BIB is seriously good stuff.

    I ought to do some age vs. price graphs of various whiskies. I get the feeling that most of them would resemble exponential curves.

    The one snag, though, is that most are not available in a wide range of ages. The only ones I can think of offhand are Van Winkle (10, 12, 15, 20, 23), Laphroaig (QC [6], 10, 10 CS, 15, 30, 40), Highland Park (12, 15, 18, 25), Ardbeg (10, 17, vintages like 1977 and 1974, and the NAS Uigeadail), and Glenrothes (vintages).
    Oh no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!



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