As regular readers will be aware, I have been on a little North American whiskey kick, that was spurred into imagination by a fantastic tasting session at one of our local dram shops. This has led me to seek out samples of bourbon and rye, so that I can delve deeply into this interesting sector of the whisky market.
Rye Whiskey in American refers to whiskey where the mash profile contains at least 51% Rye. Usually this spirit will also include corn and malted barley in the mash bill also. This spirit must be distilled to no more than 80% ABV and then casked in new fill American oak for two years. These whiskies tend to be spicer and fruiter than your average bourbon.
Today’s dram is Rittenhouse Rye Bottled in Bond. This whiskey is a straight Rye, which means it hasn’t been blended with other whiskies and is bottled at 100% Proof or 50% ABV for the sake of our mostly UK based readership.
Appearance: A warm reddish brown, like the red desert sands of Jordan, as a warm sun beats its last rays down.
Aroma: A wooden fruity flavour, which lies somewhere in between the zest of lime and the sweetness of cherries.
Taste: Initially this whiskey carries all the sweetness, subtly and fruit that was present on the nose into the mouth. When imbibed rather than nosed, there is also a golden, brown sugar sweetness, that is subtle, creamy and full of vanillins.
Slowly, but surely there is a peppery wood, which builds on the tongue and spreads out across the mouth. This combines with cherries and dark wood, to give a warming, sweet, yet pungent flavour in the mouth.
The spice is what lasts and draws the drinker in again, repeatedly.
Mouthfeel: Vanilla Sweetness, combines with White Pepper whilst being very smooth.
Overall: I was once told by a bar tender that Rye whisky didn’t have a long finish and that as such it didn’t make a good whisky for a short, sipping drink. This whiskey disproves this theory on its own. It has a strength and depth of flavour that lasts, whilst still being remarkably smooth and easy to drink for a dram that sits at 50% ABV.
Real Dram Factor: 8.0
More Information: Heaven Hill Website
Buy Online: If you live in Bristol, then go buy it from Corks, if not Master of Malt: Rittenhouse Rye 100% – £35.99