Tasting Notes – Rittenhouse 25 Year old Straight Rye
The plight of the middle aged man is often questioning the sum of his lived life and asking himself the inventory of obliged questions. Have I done enough? Am I where I am supposed to be. Is this all there is? If you are among the lucky and enlightened, you will arrive at the answer that it doesn’t matter. You are. That is all that matters. Let others judge if they will. You don’t care. You embody many of the qualities people find compelling in certain older men. You have quiet confidence that is born of experience. Your wild untamed days of youth have been replaced by an ease of self that only slightly hides your still present potential to let the wild side out. You aren’t the most successful, handsome or refined but you magnetically draw people in even though you are perfectly comfortable alone. If you were whiskey, you’d be Rittenhouse 25 year old Rye.Like you, the single barrel Rittenhouse 25 is not refined or perfected or mellowed by its journey through time. Rather, it has, in the true spirit of Rye Whiskey, gone it’s own way, followed it’s own path, and refused to become anything by one’s definition other than it’s own. It isn’t harsh or spicy enough for some. It isn’t mellow or velvet enough for others. And it doesn’t care. It just is and that is good enough.
Like the fully formed man in the middle of his life, Rittenhouse 25 is willing to spend time with others but is more than comfortable alone. I had the most memorable Perfect Manhattan of my life with Rittenhouse 25, Carpano, and Dolin Blanc. That said, I prefer it as a double paired with a stout glass and possibly a very peppery cigar and ample time to watch the world go by.
The nose offers warmth and touches of spice coupled with bits of sandalwood, torrone, and a rounded sweetness that suggests butterscotch and raisins. The dram presents itself stoutly as the full breadth of its 100 proof musculature flexes alongside a tinge of black pepper. The power here does not bully or provoke but rather acts as a vehicle for an oily oak mouthfeel. The slight butterscotch vapor of the aroma progresses to a tinge of apple tart titan on the tongue while the torrone notes are suggested by the presence of thistle honey. The finish is anthemic: long and inspirational with a proud peppery spice (suggestive of rye) leading a chorus dried fruit sweetness consisting of apricot, cherry, and raisin.
Time spent with this dram relaxes its vaporous introduction and intensifies the presence of its time spent alone in oak. A touch of water brought out a thyme flower note of the nose and introduced the hint of toasted nuts while slightly diminishing the dried fruit flavors. I normally enjoy a single large ice cube in my whiskey, especially, my corn and peat distillates (notably certain middle-age bourbon and speyside Scotch) but felt the cold hid many of the livelier characteristics I appreciate in this offering. A single frozen Whiskey Disk brought the dram to 60˚ fhr/15.5˚ cel added the essence of cool without losing signatures on the palette. In this instance, however, straight in an old fashioned glass slightly warmed by my hand was preferred.
As a bonus, Rittenhosue 25 is also a extremely cigar friendly dram big enough to stand up to a full flavored stick but not too intense to drown out a more mellow smoke. After my days of critical tasting, I took time to introduce my Rittenhouse 25 with an Olivia Serie G double robosto. This is, for me, an appropriate match. Grattitude goes to the fine folks at Rich’s Cigar Store in Portland, Oregon who took great care before suggesting this stick as a fine pair with our current bottle under review. If you find yourself just near The Pearl District of the Rose City, do not fail to avail yourself of their timeless service and patiently applied knowledge.
I like to have a good smooth vanilla laden bottle of bourbon in the back of my liquor cabinet ready to be brought to the fore when those special few find favor in my company. But I also require the presence of one bottle of Rittenhouse 25 to employ either alone or with that special one or two. For it is only they who have been down similar roads or faced many of the same pitfalls as I and, from time to time, enjoy lifting a glass to toast nothing but the moment.
Spend time with Rittenhouse 25 year old single barrel Rye Whiskey and take the time to get to know one another. It is a special offering that, like you, both marks the passage of time while accepting our place in it.
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