...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

NOT Single Malt Report: Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond Straight Rye Whisky

Does this ever happen to you?  One of your friends recommends a newly released film.  And you think, "Hmm, that sounds interesting."  Then another friend recommends it.  Then another.  Then your dad recommends it.  And your mom.  And your second cousin, two coworkers, your landlord, and all of your exes.  Then a waitress recommends it to you, then a cab driver, the dude who bags your groceries, your dentist, your proctologist, a talking squirrel, the cop who arrests you for indecent exposure, and James Franco.
"Mmm, yes. The director's use of mise-en-scène for the
interiors was reminiscent of early Renoir.
More La Règle du Jeu than La Chienne, really."
(pic source)
Yet the more times you're told the film is great, the less and less you actually want to see it.

Then three years later you watch it, and everyone was right.  The film is excellent.  But you don't tell them about it because you recognize how late to the party you are due to the fact that you're such a stubborn sh*t.

Are you that guy?  I'm that guy.

I cannot count how many people have recommended Rittenhouse Rye BIB.  It got to the point where I was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's great. Whatever."  And I never tried it.  Then two months ago I purchased a bottle.  And holy crap.

Brand: Rittenhouse
Owner: Heaven Hill
Type: Straight Rye Whisky (no 'e'!)
Region: Distillery - Louisville, Kentucky; Warehouse - Bardstown, Kentucky
Maturation: new American white oak
Mash bill: 65% Rye (I think) 51% Rye (per Cowdery here and here)
Age: minimum 4 years, though some batches are said to be 6-8 years
Bottle Year: 2011
Alcohol by Volume: 50%

Its color is an orangey maple syrup.  The dense nose holds chocolate cake, flower blossoms, orange zest, cardamom, nutmeg, whole wheat bread, toasted rye bread, and damp tobacco.  There's something Scotch-ish about it too.  Perhaps it's a combo of toasted grains, salty air, and a hint of smoke?  With some time, the whisky develops notes of earthy molasses, fresh apples, licorice, and carob.  Rye seeds, black pepper, and brown sugar lead the palate.  There's an umami note in the center too; maybe savory herbs?  Lots of toasty grains all wrapped in silky sweetness.  It finishes with vanilla custard and caramel.  Lots of rich caramel sauce, all dark and syrupy.  Then the rye brings in a spicy twist of cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and mint.

This stuff is very good served neatly.  It is very good on ice.  It is very good in cocktails.  It is very good to fill a tub with to plant your ass in.  Though I've never had a problem finding it in California, there have been known to be scarcity issues with this rye.  Must be from all those overflowing tubs.

Despite the 50% ABV, it's not hot at all.  Instead, it is creamy and very drinkable.  Wild Turkey 101 used to be my favorite rye for cocktails, but Rittenhouse BIB just zoomed ahead.  Oh yes, one more thing: the quality-price-ratio is outstanding.

So, my stubborn rye-loving friend, I recommend this Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond Straight Rye Whisky to you.

Availability - Most liquor specialists
Pricing - $20-$28
Rating - 90