Raid juniors college fund for this one.
Notes: This is the last release of the Oldest Rittenhouse Rye series and a new benchmark for age (previous versions were 21 and 23 year old). If you can find any I suggest you grab it now it will probably be a collectors item. Bottling was very limited and this is the last there is in existence.
This whiskey is produced at the scenic Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky home of numerous other whiskies- mostly bourbons – but also the Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond Rye (for 1/6 – 1/8 the money and much more available) along with a 80 proof version, and the Pikesville and Stephen Foster Ryes. This whiskey hails from the 1st floor of Rickhouse 00 which is quite a bit cooler than other floors, allowing this whisky to age without becoming overly done (as in too tired, too oaky or just old).
This is a single barrel not a small batch from the mixing of a small group of barrels (which is a less distinctive product), so each barrel will be somewhat different from each other.
Appearance: Deep burnished copper red color. Beautiful clarity and sheen/brightness to the whiskey. The color promises that you are in for a treat, well aged but not over the hill. Color of a dark maple syrup in the glass. Nice edge line on the glass when you swirl it, smooth layer of whiskey on swirling with scalloped edges rather than legs developing.
First Impression: Rye, allspice, licorice / pastis, fruity spiciness, saddle leather, tobacco, notes.
Taste:Layer upon layer of complexity but with understated nuance. Nice medium/heavy body and mouth feel generating warmth wherever it touches with a spicy sweetness that is somewhere between a ginger molasses and a caramel/toffee underlying a oaky char that gives wonderful counterpoint to the sweet notes. Lingering spicy candied maple and grain finish is the longest finish we have ever experienced.
Drinks: Rye is, of course, the proper whiskey for a Manhattan. Bourbon was later substituted as rye was on the brink of extinction for a number of years until recently, but rye was the original ingredient.
Cigars: Works well with any of the Fuente Hemingway series or a vintage Rocky Patel (the 1990 or 1992).
Bottle: The clear glass, small labels show off the color of the whiskey to good effect. The clear glass bottom lends a nice visual effect and give the bottle a decanter type feel and weight. A spare design that does not distract from the centerpiece, the rye.
Final Thoughts: Exceptionally well made, unique and probably never to be seen again. A must have for a Rye Whiskey drinker and a benchmark whiskey to judge all the others. The price of this whiskey is nowhere near the kind of money a Single Malt Scotch producer would charge for similar quality if they could match it – it is much less. A testament to the skills of the distiller and the aging and selection . Sublime and wonderful.
Web site: http://www.heaven-hill.com
Fast loading with information on all the bourbons and ryes they make. Extensive information and good pictures of each one, with reviews and ratings by different people and organizations.