I like rye whiskey. It might be my favorite whiskey style, when I’m in certain moods. I tend to really enjoy the pine and pickle juice many ryes bring to the table. I’m one of those guys who loves sipping on the 95% MGPi ryes and the 100% Canadian Ryes. They are just the right change of pace when I’m looking to switch up from bourbon.
I do not, however, tend to use them in a Sazerac, my favorite rye cocktail. I just can’t seem to get the balance right. Those kinds of ryes bring too much pine to the party. Which is fine, it just means that I also need to keep a rye on hand that brings the classic rye rye flavor profile as well. One that isn’t a pine and pickle juice sort of rye.
Rittenhouse Rye Bottled in Bond is not a pine and pickle juice sort of rye. There are a bunch of others. Baby Sazerac is nice, if you can find it. Wild Turkey Rye 101 is the same. There are others. But I tend to settle on Rittenhouse myself. It’s a decent price. It’s a decent proof. And most importantly, it’s available whenever I go looking for it.
Rittenhouse Rye Bottled-in-Bond
Purchase Info: $20-$25…I forget at Blue Max, Burnsville, MN
Details: Bottled in Bond, so 50% ABV, D.S.P. KY 354 (Brown-Forman for Heaven Hill)
Nose: fresh cut pine boards, citrus, dried grasses. Toffee-getting stronger the longer it sits.
Mouth: first sip is really hot. Under that is molasses, somehow sweet and bitter at the same time. Ginger, fruit and mint.
Finish: mouth-tingling cinnamon red hot candies with lingering heat and bitterness. Faint pine.
Thoughts: I like this one, but I usually reserve it for cocktails. It makes a mean sazerac. The proof and spice hold their own against other ingredients. I find it to be a lot like a lovely, really spicy, bourbon. I tend not to sip it neat. Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly nice for sipping, but if I’m reaching for a rye over a bourbon, I want it to be more rye-ish and less bourbon-ish. For me, the pine and pickle juice of many Canadian or MGPi ryes tend to be farther away from the bourbon flavor profile and what I’m looking for if I’m looking for a change of pace. Very nice though and a great price on it at around $25 (in Minnesota).