Distiller: Heaven Hill. ABV: 50%. Age: 4 years. Mashbill: 51% rye, 37% corn, 12% malted barley. Price: $20-25.
What’s Heaven Hill’s Rittenhouse Rye doing with a 1960 Chevy Apache 100 pickup? One unpretentious American workhorse deserves another.
Don’t let anybody tell you there are no great whiskies left under $25. The Rittenhouse is one of the gold-standard ryes, and is a spectacular value. It has a somewhat hot nose at 50% ABV, then hits you with a flood of creamy, toasty, brown sugary goodness on the palate, with plenty of spice.
It’s made from a mashbill of only 51% rye, which is the minimum for the category, and the balance of the corn and malted barley make it rounder and darker than the Willett 2- or 3-year-old or the many MGP-sourced bottlings out there (Bulleit, Dickel, etc.). But I’d have it as a sipper any day of the week, and there’s nothing I’d rather have in a Manhattan. Period.
The Rittenhouse’s older brother, the Pikesville Rye (same juice with 2 more years of age and 10 more proof points), won Jim Murray’s rye whiskey of the year in 2015. But if you can’t track that down, just get yourself two bottles of Rittenhouse for the same price. You’ll be glad you did. – BO