This is the first rye I’ve tasted for American Hooch. Why Rittenhouse? It’s a brand I’ve seen in many bars – a brand that’s constructed some of the finer mixed drinks I’ve tasted – so it seemed like a good place to start.
– Made by Heaven Hill
– 100 proof
Rittenhouse Rye’s 100 proof line comes in the standard cheap-liquor bottle with the plastic cap, but its black label and well-known name makes it stand out from the crowd. The label consists of familiar American whiskey motifs: the barrel, the flowing script, and the proud declaration of its bonded status to name a few. There is no mistaking RR for anything else but a classic American rye.
Rittenhouse provides a nose full of lemon and mashmallow. It is very sweet through all of this. There are points when the alcohol sneaks through, but that’s probably because your nose is too close.
To the palate, RR displays the lemon certainly, but the dominant flavors are black pepper and licorice. All this is front-loaded and dissipates quickly after the initial sensation, leaving a mild peppery finish. That first wave of flavors, however, is suitably complex and pleasantly angular.
I enjoyed the angularity and peppery beginning to Rittenhouse, but was let down by its quick dissipation and lacking finish. So, I’m not sure where I come down on this one – it would make a fine mixed drink, but a lackluster sipping selection. Though I’d be lying if I said I didn’t pour myself a second helping.