December 7, 2005

Rittenhouse Bottled In Bond Rye Whiskey Review

Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond
100 proof aged rye whiskey
Typical Price: About $15 - Buy it at Internet Wines & Spirits

Rittenhouse Bottled In Bond Rye WhiskeyInitial Thoughts: Rye was one of the first whiskey types to be distilled in the United States, and it was originally distilled mainly in the Northeast. After a few glasses of Rittenhouse we thought it was hysterical to think about Boston Puritans getting plastered on the stuff, and maybe going out and dumping a bunch of tea into the harbor or something.

In fact, rye whiskey does have a bit of a tumultuous history...it was the inspiration for the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. The stuff remained popular all the way up until Prohibition, which is when Americans started mixing cocktails to take some of the bite out of their drink. By the time Prohibition ended, most people had sort of lost their taste for the stronger flavor of Rye and gotten used to booze with lighter or sweeter flavors, hence it becoming a bit of an alternative whiskey.

And it's a sad thing, but we keep hearing more about rye and we think it could be on the rebound. Based on what we tasted in Rittenhouse, it definitely should be. We've been Bourbon types for as long as we can remember and when we opened our bottle of Rittenhouse and gave it a sniff, the first thing we thought of was how reminiscent it was. The nose was rich and had a scent of brown sugar, and while we remember smelling rye in our earlier years and wincing, this had none of the overpowering alcoholic tang we used to associate with rye.

In the glass, we liked it even better (of course). The flavor was complex, with overtones of black strap molasses and the sweetness of caramel, and we even thought we could taste, for lack of a better term, a taste of rum and burnt sugar on the back end. All in all, very nice. Find our cocktail recipe suggestions and finishing thoughts after the jump.

Cocktail Recipes: As we said above, rye used to be a very popular drink, and many older cocktail recipe books call for rye where you would see newer books call for other types of whiskey today. We liked Rittenhouse a lot simply on the rocks or with a splash of water, and we thought it was fantastic mixed with a strong ginger beer and a twist of lime. One interesting recipe we found at Cocktail.com was the Rock and Rye...we did some reading and found that back in the 1800s it was used as cough syrup. Here's to getting a severe, chest-rattling cough so we'll have an excuse to try it! (Note: Rock and Rye is also the name of a pre-bottled liqueur containing whiskey and powdered rock candy...we haven't tried it.)

Rock and Rye
2oz rye whiskey
1 piece rock candy
Juice of one lemon
In a serving glass, combine the ingredients until the candy dissolves.

Finishing Thoughts: One of the distinctive characteristics of the Rittenhouse is that it was bottled in bond, which means it had at least four years of cask aging and is at least 100 proof. That extra aging gives it more complexity than some of the other ryes we've tried, and makes it a worthy substitution for other American or Canadian whiskeys, especially in cocktails. In fact, pound for pound, this is our favorite whiskey in this price range of all the bottles we tried this year, and we plan to try other ryes as soon as we can to see how they measure up.

If you can find it, we recommend Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond for the next time you're whipping up a batch of Rock and Rye cough syrup, when you want to branch away from other types of American or Canadian whiskey, and any time you feel like starting an insurrection.

Learn more about Rittenhouse on the Heaven Hill Other Whiskey page.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at December 7, 2005 6:07 AM
Recent Comments

All these stories of unopened bottles parallel the history of Grey Poupon Mustard. Many a jar of Dijon style mustard sat unopened in kitchen cupboards throughout the land because they were being saved for a really special occasion. People had concluded from the tv commercials that this mustard was rare and treasurable. Rittenhouse is a really good rye whiskey with a smaller bite than some but big on flavor. Please enjoy in moderation.


Posted by: Scooterboy at January 21, 2010 11:06 PM

why does it say "after the jump" when there's no jump?


Posted by: jared spiegel at December 17, 2009 5:59 PM

A secretary gave me a bottle of Rittenhouse Special Edition, 17 year old rye, in about 1973 or 1974 when I was with the University of Minnesota. I saved it until we bought our first house in 1975. It was the best liquor that I ever had. Recently had Templeton Rye (great!) and have just received a bottle of Rittenhouse 100 (which I'm about to open). Heard of the 21 and 23 year old Rittenhouse but, as wonderful as it probably is, they're just too expensive for me.


Posted by: Gene at January 6, 2009 6:54 PM

just found out today that my bottle of Rittenhouse 100 Proof Rye Whiskey was made in 1951, and aged 11 years before being bottled.It remains unopened, with seal unbroken.


Posted by: banj at November 19, 2008 3:54 PM

Rock & Rye is a fabulous cold cure. I need a bottle but I live in Mississippi and they do not allow internet sale of wine or spirits. Any retail outlets near us folks in Mississippi?


Posted by: Jim at November 3, 2008 3:48 PM

I have several bottles of blended whiskeys from the 40's & 50's, just by looking at them, how can one tell if they are still good (before I open them), and are they worth anything? thnx!! Jim


Posted by: Jim at October 28, 2008 6:11 PM

I have an unopened bottle of Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey dated Oct 3 1962. It is 100 Proof, bonded in Bond in Maryland.


Posted by: Douglas at October 4, 2008 7:23 PM

Our family are descendents of the original Rittenhouse Hooch family and we have a bottle sitting on the shelf from back in the 60's


Posted by: Edy Rittenhouse at March 30, 2006 10:32 AM

Got hooked on this stuff about 1964, converted and Overholt sea catain and a gin soaked Catholic priest. Now live in Oregon and have to buy by the case which is ok, but the OLCC there has a lag time up to three or four months. Why the lack of product?


Posted by: Bob at March 15, 2006 2:13 PM

Jim -

We contacted Heaven Hill, the folks who put out Rittenhouse rye, and they suggested that the best place to go for that kind of info is Kovels.com, which specializes in this type of thing.

Other possibilities are straightbourbon.com or bourbonenthusiast.com. Though, most of those connoisseur sites will just say, "It's worth what
someone will pay for it."

Thanks, and good luck!


Posted by: Liquor Snob at December 30, 2005 10:57 AM


does anybody know the value of a bottle of rittenhouse 100 proof bottled in bond. the seal is intact and bottle is full. date on the stamp is dated 1945...

any ideas please e-mail me

thanks,
jim miske


Posted by: JIM MISKE at December 30, 2005 8:35 AM
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