Thanks to a local whiskey friend for supplying a sample.
Nose: Rich, buttery rye with complements of maturity in all the right places. The profile of the rye features a lot of rich, fruity tones. Apricots, honey, cinnamon, and a lot of brown sugar. It is a sweeter rye profile, but not quite as sweet as the Sazarac 6 or THH. A few select briny, salty notes keep this nose from being one dimensional. Smells younger than 21 years. If not for the intense hue of this product I would have blindly guessed it was much younger than it actually is.
Taste: Yeah, never mind about the age of the nose thought. The age comes through on the palate in spades. Intensely dry, sharpened rye delivers a dominant peppery note. It’s hard to translate into other rye flavor profiles, there’s just a pure, loud rye whiskey note that really masks everything else. Wood influence is surprisingly nuanced, but definitely present and contributes a smaller bitter/sour note. The mouthfeel of this product is fully developed. Some floral notes and cloves strike at the back of your tongue when you think you have an idea of where this is going.
Finish: Strong pepper notes with a touch of salty brine ride this one out for a long time, but it’s pretty subtle. Long, but light, if that makes any sense to you. Weirdly salty (in a good way)
Balance: Rittenhouse 21 offers a matured high aged rye that puts maturity in all its right places with a very limited wood trade off. The word that keeps coming back to me on this one is “Pure”
Stupid letter grade: B NOTE: If you didn’t already know I am an age queen and have a really hard time getting into anything even over 12 years. If age isn’t such a deal breaker to you (or even your thing...weirdo) this is getting into A- territory.
Would I buy again: At retail. See above.