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Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey


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I invite taste comments on this whiskey, I know Dave and Tine bought some, and Chuck. It is a flavor most original and hard to describe, a massive grainy taste (this from memory), I'd be interested in impressions of the current bottling.

Gary

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  • 2 months later...

I haven't tasted this brand recently, eight years or more ago if memory serves, and I would like to revisit it soon.

Squire

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This is on my current list of must-gets as I pass through KY next month en route to family Christmas in Michigan. I can't seem to find even an old bottle in Middle Tennessee. I have to muddle through with VWFRR and Saz (poor, poor pitiful me!). grin.gif

Am looking forward to trying it. Oddly, while I don't really care for the rye-heaviest bourbons, I enjoy straight ryes very much.

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You know, I don't remember ever seeing it on the shelves in Lexington, though I haven't looked very hard either. Anyone know where I can grab a bottle?

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...I'd be interested in impressions of the current bottling.

Is Rittenhouse different than it used to be? I noticed that they changed labels; did they change their flavor profile? I have a bottle with the old label, and a bottle of the newer BIB. I'll have to side-by-side the old version with the BIB (appropriately diluted).

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What I would like to try is the especially-long aged (circa 10 years) Rittenhouse supplied to La Maison du Whisky in Paris by Heaven Hill.

I really think it is time, should there be enough stock to spare, to make some 6-10 year old rye available in the U.S.

Gary

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What I would like to try is the especially-long aged (circa 10 years) Rittenhouse supplied to La Maison du Whisky in Paris by Heaven Hill.

Greg and Jo Kitzmiller and me, Amelia and BettyeJo had a sip about a year ago at Heaven Hill with Larry Kass,( Thanks!) It is a superb rye, the 10 years does it well. A wonderful experience. toast.gif

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What I would like to try is the especially-long aged (circa 10 years) Rittenhouse supplied to La Maison du Whisky in Paris by Heaven Hill.

I really think it is time, should there be enough stock to spare, to make some 6-10 year old rye available in the U.S.

Gary

I stood in the store last month and looked at a bottle of this (I think confused.gif).....but had no idea what it was.

I even ended up leaving Paris without buying any whiskey frown.gif

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The last bottle of Rittenhouse I sampled was purchased in Birmingham at least eight years ago. It was on the shelf next to some stuff we were buying so I picked up a bottle. 100 proof and with no age statement so I presumed it was 4 yrs old. In a lot of travels haven't seen it since. Would really like to try another 100 proof bottle in an older expression.

Regards,

Squire

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The Rittenhouse is probably the best old time luxury hotel in Philadelphia. I don't exactly know the connection, but I'm sure there is one between it and the rye whiskey, which originally was made in eastern Pennsylvania. Now it's made by Heaven Hill.

I love the BIB. I have a bottle of the standard version but haven't opened it. I went to Sam's the other day and bought four bottles of the BIB, one for me, two to leave at my dad's and one to take to my cousin's tomorrow. It's a damn fine, rich, flavorful whiskey for $12. A little hot, but sweet and peppery. I think it's great.

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I agree. An older one would be a different animal and very valid on its own terms, but the younger one is very good. It makes a superb Manhattan and using this rye to make one probably results in a Manhattan like they were in, say, 1890.

Rittenhouse, the hotel, took its name from Rittenhouse Square, a still elegant square downtown in Philadelphia. Possibly the original Rittenhouse rye was made for that hotel, or maybe the rye took the name from the Square to suggest quality and substance. I would think Rittenhouse Rye whiskey originally was made in Eastern Pennsylvania if not Philly itself. I see on John Lipman's whiskey site (see the American Whiskey Page at www.ellenjaye.com) that essays are forthcoming from John on Eastern Pennsylvania rye as well as Maryland rye. Those will be a treat to read because his Monongahela rye survey is very good. (Few expressions evoke, for the straight whiskey enthusiast, the romance and quasi-mystery of the term, "Monongahela rye").

Anyway, Rittenhouse Rye is fine whiskey, but it mystifies me that, assuming Heaven Hill has stocks older than 4 years, it won't release them in the U.S.

Gary

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I have a bottle with the old label, and a bottle of the newer BIB. I'll have to side-by-side the old version with the BIB (appropriately diluted).

Well, I finally got around to this comparison, and it isn't really much of a comparison. The BIB, diluted down, is still far more flavorful than the old-label regular Rittenhouse. And although I eyeballed the dilution, if anything I probably put too much rather than not enough water in. Chuck C. is right: the Rittenhouse BIB is one of the great whiskey bargains of the world. There's really a lot going on: I get tea, tobacco, and a hint of citrus on the nose, and an herbal spiciness that the regular version lacked.

Of course, the "new" regular version may also be different from the old that I have, and, it has been sitting on the shelf for a long time, so that may have had some effect as well.

But, in any event, the Rittenhouse BIB is a great whiskey at a great price!

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  • 3 months later...

I managed to land a few cases of the BIB for the store, and, man, oh, man is this good. I love making Perfect Manhattans and Old Fashioneds with this rye. It's all gone now, and I (as well as everyone who tried it) are waiting patiently for Heaven Hill to change distributors so maybe we will be blessed again. And even here in New York I was able to keep the cost reasonable around $13.50. It got a nice write-up in the NY SUN as some writer managed to pick my brain without my knowing what he was up to.

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The Rittenhouse BIB is what I keep at my dad's now and I currently have a bottle going here too. It's great stuff and a super value. If this is an example of the straight rye HH is making at Bernheim, there is hope for that distillery after all.

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I just found out this is available in New Zealand through the Heaven Hill New Zealand supplier.

It looks like we'll be there in August, so this is definately on my list of bourbons to look for smile.gif

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You know, before the 20th century, rye whiskey (and other spirits) were shipped around the world because of, supposedly, the beneficial effect of the rocking of the ship and the temperatures. That is, the spirits were brought to home port and distributed for consumption from there. These ryes were in casks. Perhaps the idea can't be the same with bottled whiskey sent in containers, but who knows? That Rittenhouse shipped to the south seas may have improved quite a bit from the whisky ex- the Bernheim or Bardstown loading docks.

We will need a detailed report, Cam. smile.gif

Gary

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I still haven't found a bottle in Lexington. Is this readily available in Louisville or the surrounding Bluegrass area? What about Toddy's in Bardstown? If I can't find any around here I'll pick some up while in town for the sampler.

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I got mine from Binny's, but I'm guessing you can't get delivery from them in KY.

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  • 1 month later...

Just spoke to my HH guy up here about getting me some more. HH is changing distributors in NY so I have to be patient with all this new paperwork filing. My HH pal tells me, "You've caused me some trouble with this Rittenhouse." We chuckle. I had a nice write-up in the NY SUN that mentioned the Rittenhouse and created this frenzy. Apparently a whole pallet is coming to NYC and hope to have it back on the shelf next month. If you have trouble finding it in your area, lemme know, and I'll do what I can to help out.

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  • 3 months later...
CrispyCritter

I'm currently on my second pour of Rittenhouse BIB tonight. Wonderful stuff... it's going on my Ultimate Bang-For-The-Buck list.

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I enjoy rye whiskey at all ages but the younger ryes go particularly well I find in certain cocktails. E.g., I like to add a dash of rock and rye to two fingers of rye whiskey. This makes an unbeatable Old-Fashioned. The complex fruity flavours of the cordial blend perfectly with rye whiskey. I like a 1:2 or 1:3 rock and rye to rye whiskey mixture but you can adjust to your taste. I tried rock and rye - Jacquin's brand is the best I find - with bourbon, Canadian and straight rye and find it best with rye whiskey - naturally I suppose in light of its name. Whether these cordials contain any true rye whiskey I cannot say but their origin is as sweetened mixtures of sugar, rye whiskey and natural fruit flavours. Even the modern rock and rye which de-emphasises the rye element (at any rate you can't taste much of it in the cordial taken neat) matches effortlessly with uncut rye whiskey. So that, say, a 50/50 mixture probably reproduces what many brands of rock and rye were like in, say, 1900 in Baltimore or Philadelphia (one of which which may be the home of the drink and both of which were its spiritual home at any rate). Jacquin's brand has a super-complex fruity taste, an exotic rosewater-like effect which melds and informs rye whiskey to perfection. Sweet cocktails are not everyone's preference but I find they have their place, partly because one good one is satisfying and need not be followed by another, in fact two such drinks may be inimical to true bibulous enjoyment.

Gary

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a 50/50 mixture probably reproduces what many brands of rock and rye were like in, say, 1900 in Baltimore or Philadelphia (one of which which may be the home of the drink and both of which were its spiritual home at any rate).

That's one thing you do Gary that amazes me and I don't have much of a handle on it at all. The historical prespective on bourbon, cocktails and most all other alcoholic beverages spanning at least the past century and another 40-50 years beyond. True an occassional oldie but goodie falls into my grip from time to time, and I do appreciate these little blasts from the past.However, I'm not the student that you have been, much less showing mastery of this often overlooked aspect of our beloved beverage.

Well done I say! toast.gif

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I bought a bottle in Niagara Falls($14 & change) a few weeks ago and plan on cracking it this weekend. I'll let you know what I think then.

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Thanks, Bobby, I've always found the historical angle interesting, the social history in particular. And I've been reading about this stuff for a long time. A lot of what I know is from Michael Jackson's 1988 World Guide To Whisky. Even though he has a new version out, called Whiskey (well worth reading) the 1988 book is still indispensable especially on the angle I am referring to. People not from the area of production often look at a product differently from people in the area who sometimes (not always) take it for granted. The Marylanders took rye whiskey for granted and slighted it in favor of "better" beverages from elsewhere to the point where it disappeared. That did not happen in Nelson County, KY!

Gary

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Is the Rittenhouse 100 Proof the same as the BIB one? The internet sites I checked (Binny's, Sam's) have the former but there's no mention of Bottled in Bond...

Thanks - Paul

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