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Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey Review

Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, 50% abv (100 Proof), $21

Rye Whiskey has been hotter than a $2 pistol these days. The independent bottlers and craft distillers had their ears perked up and their finger on the pulse of where things were going. Because of that, these little guys were able to take advantage of this Rye Whiskey surge. Well, I imagine it didn’t take long for some of the big boys to ramp up production of their Rye products. And that’s a great thing, because when that happens, we are able to find true gems like this one on the shelf. It’s not a new whiskey, just one that had been tough to find for a while. I hope that is changing. Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey is made by the folks at Heaven Hill.

Color: Dark Amber/Copper
Nose: Dusty cocoa, rye, flint, and wood spices mix beautifully with vanilla infused caramel and toffee.
Flavor: Wow what a sipper – rich and intense. Dark Chocolate, Rye, Clove, with sticky caramel and well integrated oak. Marvelous stuff.
Finish: Long with cocoa, licorice, and lingering spices.
Overall: This might be the best whiskey in the world around $20.00. It’s just that good. Spice, sweetness, and a deep, dark rich quality that blew my mind. It’s always great when you find a whiskey that brings this much flavor at such a great price. I’m not sure how Heaven Hill does it but this one gets “Cabinet Staple” status from me.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.3 (Outstanding/Superb)

73 Comments

  1. Raj Gondhalekar says:

    Just found this in the Total Wine in Alpharetta after several months of looking. They’ve had other Ryes on the shelves, but Rittenhouse had been missing. Picked it up today for $17 plus tax. All I can say is wow. Not quite as spicy as Wild Turkey Rye, but ages better than the harsh and hot Old Overholt. Comparable to the pricier Bulleit Rye.

  2. matt d says:

    just had my first taste Plan B bugger in CT and it was excellent. think it is better that n bulleit rye which i like very much for the simple fact that it is 100 proof and really has a better depth of flavor. wish i could find it here in CT.

  3. JK says:

    An interesting review, especially looking back at it now. Rittenhouse Rye 100 had gone missing in SoCal for nearly a year until this past winter. The current product on the shelves (since November 2011) barely resembles its previous shelf in a number of ways. It’s still sturdy, but the attractive complexity in the nose, the palate and the finish have gone absent. Perhaps the brand owners are still working through an adjustment period following the change in distillation location and perhaps stills. That’s speculative of course, but what’s obvious is that the old dependable mare ain’t today what she used to be, even from just two years back.

  4. JK, I wonder if it’s a bottle or batch issue. The bottles I’ve had have been great, but I’ll keep purchasing new ones and let you know if I notice anything. Appreciate the info – always something to look out for.

  5. Ryan says:

    Jason, great review here. I just opened up my bottle of Rittenhouse tonight, and I am blown away! It is amazing! As I have been sipping it this evening, dark chocolate is also what is jumping out at me, kind of like that pepper-infused chocolate. Thanks for the great review and highlighting how this is one for “bourbon drinkers who think they don’t like rye;” I probably wouldn’t have delved back into rye so soon without that comment (my last, Wild Turkey Rye, didn’t impress me much). Rittenhouse is very impressive. I could have paid double and I wouldn’t be complaining at all.

  6. Agreed Ryan. It’s special stuff at a special price.

  7. Tommy Viola says:

    JK, Rittenhouse has indeed changed distillation locations, however none of the new distillate (DSPKY1) has been released yet. Everything on the shelf now has been distilled at the same place for years, DSPKY354.

    This being a BIB product, there’s always some variability.

    I remain a firm RittBIB fan. Hopefully the new stuff will hit the same marks.

    - Tom.

  8. markku says:

    We have here in Finland now 600 bottles of this. Price is 45 euros, so I really envy you americans!
    Tomorrow I will get one and see (and taste) what’s inside :-)
    If it’s so good as mentioned in review and comments, I maybe have to hurry for another bottle very soon before 600 bottles have all gone…

  9. Markku – what did you think?

  10. Marcus says:

    Jason, thanks for your review of this wonderful rye. What a bargain at 19 bucks!
    Ralfy had some kind words to say about you on his review of Rittenhouse. Keep up the good work!

  11. Marcus – Ralphy is as good as they come. Too kind. I really enjoy watching him. Glad you enjoyed Rittenhouse also.

  12. markku says:

    nice rye, but I maybe lacking complexity. There’s definitely enough spicy rye there, and sweet corn too. Making this bourbon – like. Better than Jim Beam rye many times, but also more expensive. There’s something happening here in Finland, now we have also Buffalo trace! I’m so bored in all these scotches, happy that there’s some bourbon coming here too.
    Bourbon/rye is best warmer in cold winter evenings, when sun sets about 3 pm and there’s minus 25 celsius out there… That’s coming soon!

  13. Adam G. says:

    Hello Jason, I enjoy your site and your informative reviews, I am getting into whiskey more seriously now after being a dedicated Spanish brandy guy. Some of my regulars I enjoy are Elijah Craig 12 year old, Eagle rare 10 year, Elmer t lee, Woodford reserve, and an old stand buy George Dickel #12, I have also treated my self to a bottle of old forester birthday bourbon, and to your recommendation Rittenhouse rye 100 proof, which I enjoy very much. I seem to enjoy a bourbon that has a more thicker syrupy viscosity, I find it highlights the bourbon experience for me. Now for my question or suggestion, I have experimented with mixing straight whiskeys, I found that one of my favorite whiskeys to mix now is equal parts of Rittenhouse rye and Elijah Craig 12 year old, Also Rittenhouse rye and old forester birthday bourbon, both of these combinations are my go to choice for an after dinner desert treat. The Rittenhouse and birthday bourbon brings out hints of rich chocolate and orange essence.

  14. Klark says:

    Hi Jason
    I recently aquired a bottle of Rittenhouse rye, I got hold of the 80 proof for a good price but I really wanted the 100proof but being new to Rye’s I was reluctant to spend the extra cash to get the full version. I like the 80 proof but it’s just that bit too “watered down” for me. So i’m in a dilemma now for my next whiskey its either gonna be four roses SB, Evan williams SB 2002 (i have heard the product has not been as good since 2000 and they are now too much with the Oak flavour, slightly low proof also) or do i buy another bottle of Rittenhouse but 100 proof this time! I generally never like to buy the same whiskey twice and try new things

  15. Monte says:

    Hi there, You’ve done a great job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this web site.

  16. kayester says:

    Rittenhouse Bonded has become my go-to rye and at this time of year it is the base for my marvelous variation on the Manhattan. I haven’t had a bad bottle in the four years since my local liquor store recommended it to me.

  17. pAd says:

    can’t get this anywhere in the uk at the moment :(
    getting desperate. i only have a tiny bit left as i’ve used most my stock up on manhattans and sazeracs recently.
    is there a big supply problem i wonder?

  18. Iskch1 says:

    I purchased a bottle this year. Seems like the distribution got their act together because last year was missing from the shelves. All I can say Rittenhouse Rye is good stuff. I was expecting something harsher and hot/peppery. But it didn’t. For the price $ 17.00 is a steal!

  19. harry says:

    I just got a bottle over the weekend, not what I expected, not sweet at all but did taste the dark chocolate, I love bourbon cause of the sweet taste, it was well balanced and hefty, good but not my style, I’ll stick to my sweet bourbons.

  20. James says:

    Finally found this in Louisville, but it was $26. IMO, it is still a great value because it is great whiskey, but has anyone found it cheaper in Louisville? I wouldn’t have thought it so hard to find in the motherland.

  21. MikeNY says:

    I special ordered this BIB 100proof Rye here in NY because of your recommendation. At first I was not impressed. I usually drink whisky neat, and this tasted just too tight & intense to really enjoy… On my personal rating scale I gave it a 12 of 20 (lower side of above avg.) So just to try it, I did something I normally would never do: I added 1/4 teaspoon water to about 1 oz. of the rye. Wow what a change! It just blew me away it is just that good. Such a luscious flavor profile, full-bodied, delicious. I now rate it a 19 of 20, solidly in my “prefered” category, almost perfect. Thanks for the great reviews Jason!

    (Just don’t water it down too much, then it gets the thin “on the rocks” taste.)

  22. MikeNY says:

    Important update: After the bottle has been open a few weeks (about 2/3′s full) the rye has opened up beautifully, and no longer needs the addition of water!

  23. matt says:

    Jason I’m a huge fan and have learned a ton from your blog over the last many years.

    I had a bottle of Rittenhouse about 2+ years ago and man was it great. Very similar to what you describe in your comments. When i recently saw a bottle in CT after a long hiatus from being available I jumped on it.

    Sadly it was very different. Honestly It has such an off strange earthy/plastic taste mid palate and through the finish it is almost undrinkable. Its also smells and tastes like damp rotting wood and its nothing like I have tasted before in a bottle of whiskey.

    Now let me assure you I’m not here to bash a quality product because I have had it at its best and it was great, but man what a disappointment. Dumb luck on getting a bad bottle.

    I have tasted it over three days now to make sure it wasn’t me. I have also put tasted side by side against Willet estate 4 year old rye and its even more obvious there’s something amiss with this one.

    My question is, this is a blended rye from multiple barrels right? I could see this happening in a single barrel bottling but not a blended one.

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