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Rittenhouse Rye Bottled-in-Bond
about Rittenhouse Rye Bottled-In-Bond
Rittenhouse Rye Bottled-In-Bond is a budget friendly rye whiskey from Heaven Hill distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. Rye is the primary grain in this style of whiskey and has more herbal and spice flavors compared to other common American whiskies like bourbon.
Even though bourbon is the most famous American whiskey, Rye was actually the first. But it has been largely ignored for decades and only recently started gaining popularity with established distilleries looking to expand their product lines. And Heaven Hill looked to where rye originated for inspiration for Rittenhouse. The name comes from Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is meant to have the flavor profile of traditional Monongahela rye.
The Monongahela River valley was first cultivated by European settlers in the 1700’s. They decided to plant rye grain as it took to the soil well and was cheaper than the alternatives. Rye whiskey production started soon after these resources were readily available. It had a brief stint as the dominant whiskey in the American market until the Whiskey Rebellion disrupted production. Rye never recovered and many distillers left for newly expanded territory.
Rittenhouse is also “Bottled-In-Bond,” a government classification given to whiskeys after meeting a strict set of criteria. It must be a product of a single distiller from a single season, aged in a government bonded warehouse for 4 years and be bottled at 100 proof (50%).
❖ Spirit: Bottled in Bond Rye Whiskey
❖ Distillery: Heaven Hill Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky
❖ ABV: 100 proof (50%)
❖ Aged 4 years
❖ Low Price
Notes From Heaven Hill
❖ Color: Mahogany
❖ Aroma: Dried fruits, toffee and sweet peppers
❖ Taste: Clean, rich, cocoa, citrus, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla
❖ Finish: Lingering maple-like spiciness
My Tasting Notes
❖ Color: dark brown, honey
❖ Nose: Strong toffee smell at first. Then I get the dried fruit and maybe something like banana.
❖ Taste: Vanilla, herbal spice, some other sweetness I couldn’t quite place. Light mouth feel with a gentle heat from the higher proof.
❖ Finish: slight spice and maple sweetness. Lasts for quite a while.
1 dash of angostura bitters
.5 oz lime juice
.5 oz of benedictine
1.5 oz of Rittenhouse Rye
❖ Add ingredients into shaker
❖ Add ice and shake for about 10 seconds
❖ Double strain into a coupe or Nick and Nora glass
The Educated Barfly youtube channel has a recipe a “Junior” that specifically calls for Rittenhouse Rye Bottled-In-Bond. I’ve often seen lime juice used with tequila or rum so I was intrigued to see how it paired with rye whiskey and how Benedictine would work as the only sweetener.
The Junior was delicious and I was surprised how well these ingredients worked together. Each one has a strong flavor on its own but this recipe has a nice balance. I first got the strong herbal notes from the whiskey, benedictine and bitters. Then the sweet maple and vanilla flavors from the whisky started to hit my tongue and faded into a slightly sweet but refreshingly tart finish. An overall pleasant experience that would work well before a meal or as a nightcap. It might be my current favorite cocktail.
Overall, Rittenhouse Bottled-In-Bond is quite a pleasant whiskey. Especially for the price. It’s not as complex as other whiskeys I’ve tried but it still has a decent range of flavor and doesn’t have any harsh alcohol burn. I probably won’t drink Rittenhouse neat to often but I will absolutely use this as my go-to cocktail mixer. It has just enough flavor to work well in a spirit forward cocktail like a manhattan or an old fashioned and enough of a kick to stand out against citrus juice in sours. And I won’t feel too bad using it in cocktails because it is at an affordable price. I was able to get this at my local Total Wine for $16
However, I do have a slight issue with the marketing Rittenhouse as a Monongahela rye. I like that they are bringing attention to a forgotten part of American whiskey history but it still feels a bit hollow when they’re only mimicking the flavor. The Whisky Advocate magazine has an in-depth article on traditional Monongahela rye and Rittenhouse doesn’t meet any of the criteria. But overall I still feel comfortable recommending Rittenhouse Bottled-In-Bond to anyone who is looking to explore rye or needs a great whiskey for cocktails.
As always, drink responsibly.
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