This 125 proof distillate, the same as that destined for the Rittenhouse label, is crystal clear. I cut this rye dog from 125 proof to about 100 proof for safety's sake......... no burning down the gullet or the house.
The nose is distinctly rye grainy with some citrus and some pine needles rubbed in the hand aroma. Not a strong nose and surprisingly little alcohol. The taste has that rye grain essence along with some cinnamon and some concentrated orange notes. There is just a hint of the piney astringency noted in the nose.
Some time back our saint bunghole noted that rye whiskey can be enjoyed straight off the still. The man (saint, if you prefer) is absolutely correct. This is very good spirit, even at full strength 125 proof. It is a bit amazing to me that even at full proof the alcohol is tame.......... until it hits the more sensitive gullet. This is an excellent distillate with no harshness or wayward flavors. No wonder Rittenhouse Rye is an excellent whiskey.
I do not know what percentage the rye grain constitutes in Rittenhouse, but it is considerably less than Cheryl Lins' (delaware phoenix micro distillery) marvelous Rye Dog which is 100% rye. These spirits are cousins at best so I do not have to say one is better than the other, each existing on its own merits. In my mind, there is no doubt that both were distilled with great care and attention. The output of both is pure and free of obnoxious hangers on. One would expect this of Heaven Hill, where Parker and Craig Beam have years of experience behind them and have vast knowledge of how to make whiskey.
One can only imagine (as I can), the hours Cheryl spent worrying her spirit out of the still like some mythological spirit mother.
I compared HH 'New Make' to delaware phoenix 'Rye Dog' and enjoyed the sipping immensely. 'Rye Dog' fits my description of an 'exotic' spirit nicely. Cheryl may not be able to spare the time, but I would love to have her 'Rye Dog' aged to about 23 years, the age of the most highly praised Rittenhouse Rye. I have a bottle of the 21 year old and it is a truly great whiskey.
Last edited by Mike
on Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas