Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A couple of very different whiskeys from Kentucky

1. Rittenhouse Rye 25yo 50%
Barrel no. 6

Rittenhouse is a label by Heaven Hill. The old Heaven Hill distillery burned down in the 90's and a few years later Heaven Hill acquired the modern Bernheim Plant from Diageo (who had closed a range of distilleries in the 90's and moved all their production here, before moving away from the production side of american whiskeys). This rye is most likely distilled at the old Heaven Hill distillery. 

I think that rye whiskey can age a lot easier than bourbon. It seems the spirit is a lot more robust for wood influence. It could be the fact that the rye spirit itself is a lot more flavourful than corn spirit?. This barrel no. 6 Rittenhouse 25yo has retained a surprising amount of the rye flavour after so many years in the barrel. The nose is very similar to a much younger rye, without the spirit burn. I usually find older ryes more woody, but not as woody as older bourbons. The nose puts me into a scenery of walking through a forest of fresh pine woods in the summer. Very aromatic and spicy, and you just want to get your nose as close as possible to the spirit to inhale these nice aromas. Opposied to scottish single malts, I don't really mind that bourbons and ryes are watered down. They are far more intense and flavourful. This is well represented at 50% and will still be too intense for some, if not most. The palate has got the same rye spices, with a lot of delicate toffee-caramel flavours and the wood is coming in the finish. Seems more intensive than the other Rittenhouse 25yo's I tried. A very delicious dram, and it benefits a lot from a few drops of water - and I don't add water to whisky very often

Rating 86

2. Kirkland 7yo Straight Bourbon 51.5%
Batch B-5183

Corn Juice. Sweet and woody. Nothing spectacular, it can be drunk neat, with ice or in a cocktail. At 20$ish a liter this is quite a good deal. A lot of dominant flavours, wood, toffee and slightly bitter on the finish. Lasting impression is a lot of toffee and very drinkable- For a lower priced bourbon that easy matches and beats a lot of the more known brands

Rating 80

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