Rittenhouse Rye Bottled In Bond Review
Rittenhouse Rye Bottled in Bond is a budget, straight rye whiskey produced by Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc. in Bardstown, Kentucky. Heaven Hill's BIB game is among the strongest in the industry and its no surprise that their catalog includes a straight rye. It's worth noting that the only other BIB rye in the game today is the Colonel E. H. Taylor Jr. Rye which commands nearly 3 times the price. In addition to the Rittenhouse BIB, Heaven Hill produces two other straight rye whiskeys from the same 51% "barely legal" rye mashbill - Pikesville Supreme (80 proof) and Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey (110 proof, 6 years old).
Tragedy struck Heaven Hill when their production plan was nearly destroyed from a fire that began in an aging warehouse on November 9th, 1996. 90,000 barrels of whiskey were destroyed in the fire. If you want to read more about the fire check out this article on Industrial Fire World. In order to keep the Rittenhouse brand alive production was moved to Brown-Forman until 2008 when HH was able to begin distilling their rye mashbill again. Pre-fire Rittenhouse and other HH products are highly sought after by whiskey enthusiasts. Also worth nothing that Ritt BIB recently underwent a label change in the spring of 2014 with mixed responses. On to the review!
Cost: $25 in South Carolina
Distillery: Heaven Hill
DSP: DSP-KY-1, DSP-KY-31
Age: NAS but at least 4 years old
Mashbill: 51% Rye / 31% Corn / 12% Barley
Pour: 2 oz neat in a Glencairn Glass
Nose: Misc baking spices, brown sugar, vanilla, black tea, menthol, and clove.
Palate: Light/medium viscosity. Brown sugar, cinnamon, caramel, and vanilla.
Finish: White pepper, cinnamon, light oak astringency. Short fade.
Everyone remembers their first rye whiskey - mine just so happened to be Rittenhouse Rye Bottled In Bond. And as first ryes go it was a fantastic introduction to the style of whiskey. What makes this juice so special? Nothing in particular other than $25 gets you a 100 proof, 4 year old, readily available straight rye whiskey that is a versatile mixer and will work neat in a pinch.
However, that being said Ritt BIB is just OK neat - there are far better sipping options with higher rye contents, ages, and/or proofs. Don't get me wrong, this rye will always have a special place in my heart but it has its place and that place is in mixed drinks. I'm of the opinion that using high end super premium whiskeys in mixed drinks is a waste. Evan Williams BIB Bourbon and Rittenhouse BIB Rye are my go-to whiskeys in cocktails and for good reason - cheap, readily available and with enough proof to stand up to other flavors. Whatever your preference give Rittenhouse Bottled In Bond Rye a shot if you haven't - you won't be dissapointed. Cheers.