[Review] Rittenhouse - Straight Rye Whisky 40%

A first for me on the Malt Cask, the review of a bottle of rye whisky. I have not really spent much time with rye since I got into whisky apart from Woodford reserve rye -which is actually excellent- so I thought it was time to change that and get myself a bottle of the stuff. But which one to choose? As usual, I did my homework and went online checking different names and reviews and came up with a few names which seemed to be highly recommended, Rittenhouse amongst them. From the web to real life, I ended up finding a bottle of their Straight Rye 40 % (they also have a bottled in bond version at 50%) in one of my local spirit shop and what was even better is that it only cost me £29. 
Rittenhouse Rye is produced by the Heaven Hill Distillery, based in Kentucky. Heaven Hill also produce Henry McKenna, Elijah Craig, Evan Williams and a few other names. 

So what is the difference between a standard Bourbon and a Rye whiskey. Of course the base of the mash bills, Bourbon being mainly made of corn versus rye for a Rye whiskey. The corn generally gives the Bourbon a very sweet flavour profile, when the rye creates a spicier, dryer whiskey.
So let's see what I got with this bottle.

As mentioned above, this is the 40% version of Rittenhouse Rye not the 50% version. It has been aged for 4 years. It is a golden honey colour which I expect, coming from an American whiskey, to be natural.

Nose: Citrus and spice notes with a floral sweetness, acacia honey, cedar wood and hints of eucalyptus.

Palate: Floral, sweet with some spice too, citrus, bitter orange and after having try hard to find a taste I knew, it finally came to me: I get quite a lot of Angostura bitters notes.

Finish: sweet and spicy with muscovado sugar, hints of vanilla, not very long.

With water: Nothing too different, the whisky becomes a little sweeter and rounder but still with some herbal bitterness.

I am no rye expert but I really enjoy this bottle. I would think it might not be the most flavourful or complex rye out there but it is rather easy to drink as you can tell by the amount I have already had. Many people actually use it as a cocktail base and I can see why, even if it is perfect for sipping on its own. I now need to get hold of the 100 proof version to compare both, and also maybe any of the other recommended bottles available around...


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