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something wrong with Rittenhouse?


JohnR
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I'm a pretty experienced drinker of bourbon and rye, and fondly recall fifths of Rittenhouse BIB selling for well under $15 at the Utah liquor stores a number of years ago. Anyhow, it had been a long time since I saw this stuff in stock but my local store had it the other day and I picked up a bottle and it's not really drinkable, has a very strong moldy note. I plan to return the bottle, not to get a refund, but to hopefully convince people to not stock it any longer. But before I do that, is this something other people have noticed? I've tried most of the easily-available ryes and many of the hard-to-find ones over the past 25 years and this is the first time I've ever found a rye to be objectionable and wrong. Happy to provide more info about this particular bottle if that might be helpful, thanks,

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Rittenhouse Rye is owned by Heaven Hill/DSP KY 1. It used to be made by Brown Forman/DSP KY 354, but has been made by HH since  2015. Since fifths (4/5ths of a quart) were changed to 750 ml bottles in 1976, I’m guessing the RR BIB fifths you enjoyed in the past were from Brown Forman/DSP KY 354. Some folks have noticed a difference in the two distillates. Most say the BF distillate was at least a little better than the HH. I’m not a real rye guy, but I have had both. To me, the difference for the most part is negligible. 

 


 

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I chalk your experience up to an off bottle, off palate night(s), or simply a general disconnect between your taste preferences and the Ritt profile.  I consistently keep an HH Rye on my bar, be it Ritt, EC, or Pikesville (which is holding that position currently), and I’ve not found any to have any flaw such as you describe.  The only qualm I sometimes have with Ritt and EC is that they are not bold enough when I’m looking for a punchy rye, but that’s just a situational occurrence and usually centers around a cocktail.  Pikesville cures that, BTW.  😁.   Take it back, perhaps share a taste with your whiskey monger to get his opinion, get your refund, and move on down the line to a different rye that agrees with your palate better. I recommend stopping well short of trying to convince anyone to stop stocking it, however, as that is going a bit overboard IMO.  

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Sure, thanks folks. I did try this bottle on multiple nights to make sure I wasn't having an off night, and each time had to pour out my drink after just a sip -- something that I basically never do. Sounds like an off bottle.

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Could it be corked? It's not common in whiskey but it does happen. 

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1 hour ago, flahute said:

Could it be corked? It's not common in whiskey but it does happen. 

It has a plastic cap.

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1 hour ago, Phil T said:

It has a plastic cap.

HA! That tells you how long its been since I've had one but now I remember.

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I would just hang onto it and try it again in a few months.  If not, use it in cocktails or start a solera bottle.  I wouldn't necessarily take the bottle back to the store but you could mention it to the manager in case others raise similar concerns. 

 

I am not the most nuanced taster but I was one of those who did notice a (negative) difference when the distillery changed from DSP-354 to DSP-1.  It was enough that I haven't purchased a bottle since. 

 

I have not had EC Rye but I prefer Pikesville over RittBIB.  I assume due to age and proof. 

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Someone in the FB group I'm in posted yesterday that her bottle of Rittenhouse tasted like grass and mildew. Maybe it's not you?

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Now y’all got me wondering. 🙄 Maybe it could be that something is amiss with the distillate. I remember jumping on the Larceny bandwagon when it first came out. I really liked it. Then for some reason the quality seemed to drop off. It has since gotten better, but IMHO, it still isn’t what it used to be. Hmmmmm. 🤔

 

Biba! Joe

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6 hours ago, flahute said:

HA! That tells you how long its been since I've had one but now I remember.

Yeah, but more than once, I've picked up a screw-top and found that I could put another quarter or half turn on the top.  I expect that's enough to allow "bad air" to sneak in.  FWIW, the local Virginia ABC stores are pretty good about taking back bottles the purchaser thinks are "tainted" - at least if they know we aren't giving them back a 1/4 full bottle (hahaha).

 

RE: Ritt - I've not had a problem with the dozen or so bottles I've bought, one at a time, over the last few years, BUT lately I've been using Saz 6 yr 90 proof and OO BIB (and Pikesville when I want a hit) in rye cocktails instead of Ritt.  Ritt always tastes homogenized to me.

 

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1 hour ago, fishnbowljoe said:

Now y’all got me wondering. 🙄 Maybe it could be that something is amiss with the distillate. I remember jumping on the Larceny bandwagon when it first came out. I really liked it. Then for some reason the quality seemed to drop off. It has since gotten better, but IMHO, it still isn’t what it used to be. Hmmmmm. 🤔

 

Biba! Joe

Well..........

Not the same distillate but with the HH distilled Larceny I've found it to be trash. First time was in a double blind tasting at the Kentucky Bourbon Affair and I wasn't the only person who thought it was trash.

Many years later my group went to HH to do a Larceny BP barrel pick and we walked away with nothing. They were all that bad. Something might be going wrong at times at Heaven Hill.

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22 hours ago, JohnR said:

I'm a pretty experienced drinker of bourbon and rye, and fondly recall fifths of Rittenhouse BIB selling for well under $15 at the Utah liquor stores a number of years ago. Anyhow, it had been a long time since I saw this stuff in stock but my local store had it the other day and I picked up a bottle and it's not really drinkable, has a very strong moldy note. I plan to return the bottle, not to get a refund, but to hopefully convince people to not stock it any longer. But before I do that, is this something other people have noticed? I've tried most of the easily-available ryes and many of the hard-to-find ones over the past 25 years and this is the first time I've ever found a rye to be objectionable and wrong. Happy to provide more info about this particular bottle if that might be helpful, thanks,

 

 

It's amazing that a first time post can be allowed to come on this great website and post a disparaging post like this.  Heaven Hill has a long and credible history of producing quality products...  first time post... not so much.  That should count for something...

 

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I bought a bottle of Ritt before Christmas to use in cocktails. It was fine. As a matter of fact, it was more rye forward than I remember it being. I would not hesitate to buy it again. 

 

Prost!!  Phil 

Edited by Phil T
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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Shep said:

Someone in the FB group I'm in posted yesterday that her bottle of Rittenhouse tasted like grass and mildew. Maybe it's not you?

That was not me on FB, and mildew is exactly what I get from this bottle. Will have to taste it again to see if I also get grass. If anyone here lives in Salt Lake City and wants to take this bottle off my hands and do your own tasting of it, I'd be happy to oblige.

Edited by JohnR
just adding the second sentence
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I drink more of the modern rittenhouse then anyone else. I've had a few off bottles, but never what you described. Mostly the odd ones are more on the floral, specifically rose, note. Bummer you got a bad one, but generally their product is consistent and well done. Though currently we are in a drought here in central Maryland.

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Found this thread while trying to see if anyone else had had an off bottle lately. Opened a new bottle last night to mix Manhattans and got a very chemically aftertaste. It also seemed hotter than usual. I buy Rittenhouse at least 6x/year for cocktails and this one was definitely not quite right! So you're not alone, but I'm sure it's a temporary problem

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On 1/2/2022 at 1:11 PM, JohnR said:

That was not me on FB, and mildew is exactly what I get from this bottle. Will have to taste it again to see if I also get grass. If anyone here lives in Salt Lake City and wants to take this bottle off my hands and do your own tasting of it, I'd be happy to oblige.

I guess I should have been more clear.  Should have said it might not be just you.  The FB group is in Columbus, OH.

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2 hours ago, Megan B said:

Mine is B28011510

well I guess it was too much to hope for that they'd be the same batch. also I just checked my neighborhood liquor store this morning and their Rittenhouse bottles are already a different batch from what I bought so I can't easily get another of the same batch

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well, to wrap this up I returned this bottle and the person in purchasing who I talked to remarked that one of the staff there regularly purchases Rittenhouse BIB and had also noticed that something was off.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Picked one up earlier today, to see if I’ve missed something. Sipping on it now.  Not a thing off with it.  

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I am so grateful that 2 people joined just to complain about Rittenhouse. My life is complete now.

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