Saturday, July 16, 2011

(Review) Rittenhouse Straight Rye, Bottled in Bond, 100 proof

Mystique: 1-10 points
Score: 10 Heard of it, reviews claim all other Rye's are measured against it

Color: 1-10 points
Score: 9 Beautiful, Dark, Garnet, Jewel like

Scent: 1-10 points
Score: 9 vanilla, oak, caramel, butterscotch? Rye bread

Initial impression: 1-10 points
Score: 9 looks good, smells great

Mouthfeel: 1-10 points
Score: 7 good, coats the mouth, stays on the tongue, feels thick

Taste: 1-10 x 4 points
Score: 32 caramel, slow burn, complete, with ice opened up beautifully burn
gone just peppery, a little sweet, smooth.

Raw Score: 76 points

Bonus: Value 1-10 points
Score: 9 great price point 23.95 a fifth

Total Score: 85 points

So they tell me this is the THE STUFF! It's one of the oldest Rye whiskies bottled and most reviewers use it to measure all new Rye's they try. It's a benchmark if you will. I think most of these reviewers are bourbon and scotch drinkers and that's why this Rye seems magic in a bottle to them. You can't blame them it's very good. Rye isn't that popular and it's very hard to find in some areas. This one in particular is difficult to find even in this area where Rye never truly went away. This is actually the first bottle of it I had ever seen and I was eager to try it. So what's all the fuss about? Flavor. It's got burn, it's complex and it's peppery. 3 things you don't necessarily get in bourbon or scotch. These reviewers seem in awe of it because they are very used to having a flat tasting bourbon or scotch at this price point. I don't know if it's the marketing machine or the fact that there are so many bourbons and scotch's out there, but to get a good one you usually have to spend a decent amount of money. Maybe they're snobs and they don't think anything inexpensive can taste good. If you think that way too you'd be very wrong.

Rittenhouse Rye is the taste standard for Pennsylvania style rye whiskey. Oh wait do I sound like one of those other reviewers? No. What do I mean? Hey what's Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey supposed to taste like? Here, taste this (hands you a glass), that. That is what it's supposed to taste like. It can be better or worse, but that's generally what you are supposed to get. It's the nature of Rye that it tastes so different from bourbon and scotch. It inherently has more flavors going on and it's not always going to taste as complete or smooth. I guarantee you will not like this whiskey if you drink it neat, very soon after you pour a glass. It's burny, it's got too much muddled mish mash of flavor going on. You might equate it to a Michael Bay action sequence. POW! BANG! jump cut, EXPLOSION! Holy shit! This stuff is awful. Exciting, but awful. Let's try this again. Pour it on the rocks, or add a little water. Let it sit a minute or two, now try it. Eh? what did I tell you. The profile completely changes. It's smoother, the burn is almost gone, there's flavors you can pick out. Pepper, spices, caramel, sugary, vanilla, fruit and it got smooth. What's going on here? I was watching Transformers and you switched it to Blade Runner. That's the nature of Rye whiskey.

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