A very nice Pennsylvania Rye, drier and more spare than other types of rye. Price is excellent for the quality
Notes: Rittenhouse is another venerable brand of rye, this one from the Pennsylvania Rye School ( which differed from the Maryland style and also from the Alleghany, Monongahela, and Schuylkill Rye varieties even though they were in Pennsylvania). Rye in itself is a complicated subject, even with most of the older styles classified we welcomed the “Empire” style recently as a style defined and made by craft distillers in New York State. The category underwent a huge implosion during and after prohibition and staggered along until very recently and then took off possibly even more than bourbon did but this is arguable as the stocks of rye were so limited that ANY interest in it caused almost immediate shortages.
Appearance: A light honey gold, a touch lighter than the highest grade of first-run maple syrup. Leaves a light to medium coat on the glass when swirling then an even, receding coat with few legs that slowly rolls back down into the glass
First Impression: Spicy grain, not a great deal of fruit, spare, lean and lighter in overall scent spectrum with a distinct rye sweetish yet fermented tang to it. Almost delicate in its subtle bouquet.
Taste: Noticeably lighter and drier in style than the Maryland Style Pikesville Straight Rye it has a more astringent grain sourness and a bit lighter in body but not in overall punch. A dry, intense, and somewhat spare rendition of a rye and very much in the Pennsylvania Style.
Drinks: Makes for a drier version of any whiskey cocktail you care to name, makes an excellent Chauncey Cocktail, and a good foil for the other ingredients in a Floridita Special or Gloom Lifter. It also makes the usual suspects a bit more austere and dry in a nice way.
Bottle: Would look right at home in almost any noir movie you could name, either at a bar ar being pulled out of a paper bag and set on a side table at some hideout. Bold but simple graphics with good contrasts of fields and type make this bottle easy to spot and recognize at a distance. Fair amount of decoding might be needed by the inexperienced; Straight means essentially that it is at LEAST 2 years old AND met all the other requirements for a whiskey of its type. Bottled in Bond is somewhat the next step up, being that the whiskey must be at LEAST 4 years old, made in one season, at the same distiller, and stored in a federally bonded warehouse among many other qualifications. The closest international equivalent would be a single malt. Originally promulgated in 1896 to combat inferior ( and in some cases downright poisonous) whiskeys, the designation has been modified over the years. While viewed as somewhat archaic in some circles, it does confer a certain amount of bragging rights to those who chose to designate their whiskey as such. Standard cylindrical and slope-shouldered silhouette of brown glass is capped by a neck capsule designed to look like a bottled in bond and/or tax stamp printed on a black background neck capsule with “100 Proof” stamped on top of the screw top closure.
Other: The kind of rye that goes with with an unfiltered cigarette rather than a cigar, a Chesterfield, Lucky, or Old Gold.
Final Thoughts: A decent and solid old school rye or the drier and more ascetic type.
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