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Rye Faceoff:Sazerac, Rittenhouse & Bulleit


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My first review so be nice (noob w/ 2 years bourbon experience) My former libation was Rum which I was very knowledgeable on until I realized sweetness and low proof doesn't equate to good flavor. Out of the three my favorite by far was Rittenhouse. It had spice at first...not too sweet with a nice chocolate Mocha caramel finish. My second favorite was sazerac which I found a little too sweet at first but balanced out with a vanilla note. The Bulleit, while I still liked it, was a blast of mint at first and failed to balance out.

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I haven't done a 3 way of those, but if I had to guess I think I would also put the Ritt BIB on the top. It is definitely more balanced than the Bulleit; while they are both rye whiskey, the Ritt is a barely legal rye, which I think has greater appeal - although sometimes I'm in the mood for that pure rye smack. Nice notes!

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Harry in WashDC

Thanks, Dave43. I've not done a SBS, but I've had a lot of all three. Your ranking is my ranking and pretty much for the same reasons.

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Old Ritt is my favorite (but don't care for the new Ritt), Baby Saz is second (harder to find around here), and Bulliet is third (I buy Dickel Rye instead for that high rye taste because they are very similar to me and Dickel is cheaper).

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For these, I really like Baby Saz the most, however, it's not a fair comparison because I can get Bulleit and Ritt Rye anytime, but the Sazzy is much harder to come by. I really enjoy the sweetness and candied fruit flavors

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Old Ritt is my favorite (but don't care for the new Ritt)

Give the new stuff another shot. I was firmly in the same boat as you based on early samples. But the newer batches are getting better. It's still not as good as the 354 stuff, but it's definitely getting closer IMO.

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This for me as well.

I agree. Sorry for not reading the thread history fully, but did anyone mention whether the Rittenhouse was new label or old? Has anyone felt the label change denoted any difference of flavor, or is it purely a packaging change? I'd think the latter since IIRC it has been a while since the label (old one) indicated distillation at Bernheim DSP #1.

Gary

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I agree. Sorry for not reading the thread history fully, but did anyone mention whether the Rittenhouse was new label or old? Has anyone felt the label change denoted any difference of flavor, or is it purely a packaging change? I'd think the latter since IIRC it has been a while since the label (old one) indicated distillation at Bernheim DSP #1.

Gary

I just saw a new label Ritt for the first time and picked up a bottle but have not put it to the test against either DSP 1 or 354 yet. Will try to do so soon. But I would think the new label is likely similar to DSP 1 although I seem to recall a few comments that the DSP 1 has evolved a bit since it first appeared.

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Yes, the new label is just a tidying up for the new DSP 1 rye, purely a packaging change.

There was an in-between stage of the old label with the new DSP 1 distillate (according to the back label).

IMO there has been an evolution. The first release of DSP 1, to me was a disappointment. A newer bottling (with the rebranded label) is an improvement.

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  • 4 months later...
straightwhiskeyruffneck

I'd put baby saz at #1. Id also agree on the dickel being similar to the bulleit, with a better price tag

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I love Bulleit Rye... Something about that MGP flavor! Especially for the price. Ritt and baby Saz are $30, for $4 more I can get a 1.75 of Bulleit Rye. No brainer for me because I make cocktails most nights. Baby Saz might be my least favorite out of the three.

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I have had one bottle of the new label Ritt. I thought it was very nice. It seemed a little less bourbon like than the DSP 354. Also for those that like Bulleit or Dickel ryes, there is James Pepper too. It's young but 100 proof.

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TunnelTiger

There very well could be a flavor change from the old label to the new label but it's almost an everyday pour for me. I've gone through so many bottles the past year that the change was probably subtle and I don't have an early bottle to compare with the new ones. That's ok because I like it just like it is.

MGP makes some fantastic ryes and JEP1776 is one of my favorites. The Dickel and Bulleit are just too minty for my taste.

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I don't notice any difference in taste with the new label of Ritt. I did notice a change in quality at first with the change to DSP 1 but more recent bottles have improved. And, this bottle is totally consistent with the last old label bottle I had.

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My favorite straight rye whiskey is Bulleit's. Its unique taste must have something to due with the 95% rye mashbill. The two other contenders you name contain an appreciable amount of corn, which naturally leaves the finished product tasting similar to bourbon. Old Overholt tastes to me more like bourbon than rye. I appreciate that the folks at Bulleit wanted their brand of rye to stand out from the others.
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  • 2 weeks later...

I'd rank them Bulliet, Saz, Rittenhouse.

Bulliet has some fruity flavors, citrus especially, that make it a standout. Saz is sweeter and rich with more complexity. RH just tastes like hot bourbon with nothing to distinguish it in any way. It may just be my bottle, though.

Dickel rye is very similar if not identical to Bulliet, and a few bucks cheaper as well, though if you move up to a handle, the prices even out.

i have gotten in the habit of having the Bulliet as a chaser after enjoying barrel proof mature bourbons like EC12. The contrast in flavor is remarkable.

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  • 1 year later...
whiskey buyer

I will be buying a bottle of Sazerac next week, and I am looking forward to trying it. Rittenhouse is also on my agenda to try.

I have heard that bulleit rye comes from Indiana, and from what I have read in this thread, I don't think I will be trying it anytime soon.

I am interested in trying the Woodford Reserve Rye but $y.

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Saz is nice, but it has ended up being placed with all the overhyped and overpriced stuff from BT.  I guess it varies by state.  If you want to try the rye from Indiana, maybe you can find Dickel Rye.  James Pepper is a good bottling too.  I've noticed young rye can be pretty good, as long as the proof is high (90+).

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