Tasting Notes: Rittenhouse 100 Proof Bottled In Bond Rye Whiskey

Here’s another installment of our ongoing series, 40 Under $40, but this time we’ve chosen our first American product for the list– the truly classic style of a bonded rye whisk(?)y (yeah, Rittenhouse uses the British spelling, oddly enough). Although we love all kinds of American whiskey at WhiskyParty, we typically do not include them in our 40 Under 40 list because there are so many that would qualify price-wise. We will, however, try to review some of the better bargains in those categories (bourbons, ryes, etc.), and at around $20, Rittenhouse 100 proof is certainly that.

Rittenhouse Rye, distilled by Heaven Hill in Bardstown, KY, comes in two varieties, the standard 80 proof and the bottled-in-bond 100 proof. If you’re curious as to what “bonded” means exactly, it legally ensures that the whiskey was distilled at a single distillery in a single season, has been aged for at least four years in a federally bonded and supervised warehouse, and is bottled at at least 50% alcohol-by-volume.

Abv: 50%

Color: mahogany.

Legs: decently slow and viscous, but slightly larger than you’d expect, given the abv.

Nose: taken neat there are aromas of cashews, a berry marmelade, and perhaps something like cherry-flavoured fruit leather.

Palate: unwatered, it is intensely sweet upfront, on molasses and macadamia-nut cookies; then come the mellow rye spices overlying the almost candy-like sweetness. With water, the oak and spices (ginger and cinnamon but more like Atomic Fireball candies than the actual spice) come through, with some seville or sour orange.

Finish: leathery and long; where the alcohol really shows through.

Overall: this is a no-joke straight rye whisk(?)y. Totally enjoyable if you’ve got the guts to just drink it. But if you sip it nice and slowly, you’ll find a warm, sweet underbelly and lots of unexpected complexity there. This whisky will take on different forms depending on how you approach it, but no matter what it’s a great buy at (or under) $20. It might also be good to note that it goes great in a variety of classic cocktails.