Rittenhouse Rye has the herbal and sweet licorice and honey that I expect from rye whiskey, but again not as intensely herbal or tropical as MGP ryes. Rye bread and grain mixed with oak and cinnamon appear afterwards, reinforcing that this is a youngish rye, but the lack of strong kick also tells me that this has been aged long enough to develop some maturity. Like many rye whiskeys, this reminds a lot of sweet and bitter herbal tea.
After “chewing”, I still taste sweet honey baked rye bread and licorice. After a moment the oak starts to settle-in with cinnamon, clove, and just a sprinkle of cocoa with hints of apples and oranges. The alcohol bite is a tad stronger now, but it’s still not harsh at all. Rittenhouse Rye starts sweet and herbal then transitions to dark, roasted, and bitter (but only slightly) after a few seconds.
Many of the same notes carry over into the finish. Overall it’s quite dry with honey, licorice, and oak. With “chewing”, the finish is still sweet, herbal, and bitter, but now with hints of grated dried orange rind. Rittenhouse leaves such a dry sensation on my tongue that I didn’t expect. Also quite interesting, a fleeting cocoa note appears after about a minute, so it’s nice that the finish continues to evolve over time.