Rittenhouse Rye 100 Review


Rittenhouse Rye 100 Bottled In Bond Review

Rittenhouse Rye 100 (bottled in bond) is among the best whiskeys you can buy in the $20 – $25 range. It’s just plain magnificent. The nose may be a tad weak, but the flavor, finish and balance completely save the day.

Rich in flavor and full of complex notes that run the gamut from sweet to savory to spicy and back again it’s everything you want in a good quality whiskey and a strong and fearless bannerman for the rye category. For years I considered Sazerac rye (baby saz) THE quintessential rye by which all others are judged, but I’m beginning to sway and have recently been leaning a bit more towards sliding Rittenhouse into that category.

Overall this rye is about as balanced, flexible and versatile as they come. Delicious neat? Check. Holds up on the rocks? Check. Amazing in cocktails? Double check. It’s just not possible to go wrong with this rye and when it comes to value for money the Rittenhouse Rye 100 is incredibly hard to beat. If you’ve never had it you need to do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle this weekend. You can thank me later.

Feel free to add your own thoughts or notes on the Rittenhouse 100 below.

Rittenhouse Rye 100 Review

ABV: 50%
Price: $24
Distiller: Heaven Hill

Dark rich caramel with hints of copper.

Light on the nose, the rye spice floats out first followed by a modest caramel and vanilla. Pepper, leather and fresh tobacco mix with rye spice, a dusty oak and tiny bit of iodine to make for a light, but pleasant, sniffing experience.

What the nose lacks the taste more than makes up for. Big bold rye spice floods the palate along with honey, red pepper, cinnamon and caramel syrup (like Torani, not the ice cream topping). There is a bit of fruit like those apple pear hybrids and some leather hanging out in the back. Subtle, but definitely making themselves known. A splash of water kicks up the vanilla, ice seems to bring out more of the rye and in a Manhattan or Old Fashioned it makes one hell of a statement.

A bit hotter compared to similar whiskeys bottled in bond like Old Grand-Dad. It’s a tad rough, but it’s such a well balanced whiskey that the burn just becomes part of the experience; in no way detracting from the whiskey as a whole.

The finish is long and delicious with the rye fading to some oak with a hint of caramel, corn and barley.

SCORE: 90/100

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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Filed Under: Rye

52 Responses to Rittenhouse Rye 100 Review

  1. After having Bookers which is not a full rye but what I thought would have some of the same characteristics as a rye, I really wanted to try Rittenhouse. It’s amazing this stuff is as cheap as it is for the quality you get. Also your reviews are great keep up the good work.

    • Hi Mike, thank you for the compliment and I completely agree with you. I’m constantly blown away by the quality and value in this stuff. Which is why it’s always stocked in my house 🙂

  2. I wouldn’t have thought to nab a bottle were it not for this post, but I’m happy to report that Rittenhouse absolutely lives up to your recommendation. That’s some seriously tasty whiskey for a fine price. Thanks for the review, and keep ’em coming!

  3. This is good stuff and I have not yet found a better cocktail rye anywhere. In my house a bottle is not long for the world, put to furious use in Manhattans or with a splash of water. I like the fire, suits my tastes; the price is just outrageous given whats in the bottle.

  4. I bought a Rittenhouse rye yesterday, 100 proof, bottled in bond, all the same info on label, but it didn’t have a picture of a barrel, but a diamond shape emblem in the center of the label, with the word Rittenhouse. Is there more than just one variety of this rye as I found this bottle to have a particularly medicinal flavor and aftertaste, and to be lacking the flavor notes that you describe. I find most of your reviews to be spot on and am hoping I just made the mistake of assuming this was the same rye that reviewed.

    • Hey Greg,

      They put out a new label so it is the same brand. Check the back of your bottle and see what it says for the DSP-KY. Mine was a DSP KY1, but yours might say DSP KY 354. However, I’ve also been reading in some forums that there was a change in the DSP KY blending recipe recently. I haven’t had the new bottle yet to verify myself, but if yours is a DSP KY 1 I might have to go pick one up and find out.

  5. OK, so you may have seen my comments elsewhere regarding Rittenhouse vs others. I didn’t mean to imply that Ritt is unacceptable in Manhattans. Quite the opposite. Is is great. I just think a Manhattan is a cocktail that showcases what a rye has to offer. This may be an odd description, but a Rittenhouse Manhattan lingers on the sides of the mouth, in the inside of the cheek, once it washes over and leaves the palette.

    Overall, it’s a very assertive rye. I can see why it is universally lauded, especially for cocktails. I’m not certain it’s as good as the baby Saz or the Russell’s Reserve, but it’s really good.

    • I like all 3 and you’re right about them all having noticeably different qualities in cocktails, which is half the fun. Figuring out which combo of ingredients hits your palate just right. I haven’t deviated from Ritt in a while, but your comments convinced me to shake things up a bit next time I’m mixing up some rye based cocktails.


  6. Great review. My favorite thing about Rittenhouse Rye is its absolute flexibility for drinking, not only is it fantastic by itself but it also can make a great cocktail that (thanks to the 100 proof) is hard to hide the Rittenhouse in because….why would you want to?

  7. Having read yours (and a few other blogs) reviews I knew I had to try this. Since they don’t sell it in Utah (of course!) I had a friend grab 2 bottles while driving thru Idaho. Looks like I’m going to have to make more trips to Idaho!

    I wish I could say how it holds up in cocktails, but I just cant stop drinking it neat. I can tell from the flavor profile it will be amazing in a Manhattan though.

  8. Based on the well written review and all of the comments I’m going to purchase the Rittenhouse over Templeton, Bulliet, or Wild Turkey. I’m only using this for mixed rinks, I’m a single malt scotch whisky guy. What brand of sweet vermouth would you recommend as the perfect match for the Rittenhouse in a Manhattan?

  9. Since my local store starting carrying Rittenhouse, it and Sazerac are the only ryes in my cabinet. This one to me is BOLD. Butterscotch sweet up front. Big cinnamon tingle in the middle and a hot spicy rye finish. I like it neat, on the rocks and in my Old Fashioned. I appreciate the sweet vermouth recommendations. I do not care much for Manhattans, but I think it must be my choice of vermouths (usually Trader Joe’s). I can throw just about any dry vermouth in my Martini and be fine with the result, but have yet to make a Manhattan that I was crazy about.

  10. That’s right Josh- 1st time I had a perfect Manhattan was with some friends at the Redhead piano bar in my beloved hometown of Chicago-Great drink!

  11. I must disagree with your rating on this bottle. I find this whisky to be rather unappealing in almost every way. Id give it a low 70s….maybe 74. It’s astringent, spicy (not in a nice way) bitter and hot. To be fair, my bottle has the diamond label on it. Maybe they’ve changed up the sauce? I was REALLY hoping to like this bottle based upon reviews found here and elsewhere. Maybe I’ll just mix it with coke.

    • Hey Mike,

      You’re not the only one to bring that up recently. There was a change at the distillery, especially in regards to this, and maybe I need to pick up a new bottle and try it again.

      • I think different people may just have different tastes. Or perhaps there’s some inconsistency in the bottling. But as a long-time rye drinker Rittenhouse has been a staple and I’m sipping one right now on the rocks and it’s as lovely as ever.

  12. I’ve really enjoyed Rittenhouse with a bit of water and ice. Quite a bold, spicy dram with a lot of flavor and complexity. It also makes a great Manhattan when paired Martini and Rossi sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters. Both add more layers of complexity. You can also try different sweet vermouths and creole bitters such as Peychaud’s, or Regens’ orange bitters. Rittenhouse is a great platform for all of this experimentation.

  13. This IS, in my opinion, not only the best value rye on the market, it’s simply the best rye out there at ANY price. Just flat out, an amazing product! Complex, bold, and wonderful. It’s the Four Roses Single barrel equilivalent of the rye world. Makes other rye’s, (especially the myriad of ridiculously priced rye’s) irrelevant.

  14. ^^^ This. What Cliff said. It’s is unbelievably good. Finished off a bottle over the last three days: neat every time. It works.

  15. This is a lively Rye . It’s the only Rye in my home . My son visited me this past week , along with his best friend . The bottle dint last very long . It’s the Manhattan king Rye and good neat

  16. Trying to decide on pulling the trigger between this and Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye… Two different price points I know but… I like it neat if that helps

  17. I have been really into rye for a few years and Rittenhouse is my absolute go to rye. I love the great Canadian ryes like Whistle Pig (Alberta Premium) and mastersons etc. Rittenhouse is every bit as good and almost always better than most other ryes on the market. If you want a bold pepper taste like good rye has but a lot of nuance and a good burn then Rittenhouse is your choice. Also its like 20-30 bucks – for good rye that is ridiculous.

  18. After several years of super high rye MGP variants I decided to get back to basics with Rittenhose Rye. I am amazed with how much I enjoy this whiskey. The flavor profile is similar to Heave Hill’s bonded bourbons, especially JTS Brown but with a more rye forward flavor. Now that I’ve tried it I don’t know if I can go back to the 95/5 rye I enjoyed. It’s like I found. a new best friend in rye whiskey.

  19. If I had to pick two sub-$30 bottles to always have around the house for everyday drinking, it would be Rittenhouse and Henry McKenna 10yr. Two super solid bourbons that are both sleepers and punch way above their weight price wise.

    This stuff is fantastic at any price, IMO.

  20. This makes a mean Sazerac, sorry Baby Saz lol. Rittenhouse 100 is by far one of the most under appreciated whiskeys, in my opinion. Probably because it’s a rye, and Baby Saz steals most of the spotlight for that kind of whiskey.

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