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Rittenhouse Rye vs Woodford Reserve Rye: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Rittenhouse Rye vs Woodford Reserve Rye in this in-depth comparison and decide which Rye Whiskey is better for You!

Rittenhouse Rye

rittenhouse-straight-rye-whiskey
NoseRye spice, vanilla, oak
PalateRipe fruit, nutty, citrus
FinishLong, Citrus, pecan
Alcohol content100 proof (50% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toElijah Craig Rye, Bulleit Rye

The Rittenhouse Rye only carries just above 51% rye in the mash providing a modest rye spice hit.

Light on the nose with vanilla, oak, spice, a citrus note coming behind and just a whiff of ethanol.

Palate is fruity up-front, low in rye spice, with a nice nutty hint and citrus notes along a good hit of baking spice.

Finish is surprisingly long and buttery, providing good warmth throughout.

This is not the smoothest 100 proof whiskey as it burns a bit, but the overall flavor profile makes up for it. Adding a dash of water tunes down the Rittenhouse Rye making it easier to sip.

Overall, the Rittenhouse is not too complex and a bit burny, low in rye spice, great quality and flavorful making an easy drinker and an even better mixer as the high proof will add a nice kick to your favorite cocktail

This whiskey is a no-brainer due to its well tasting flavor profile and it affordable price making it the best budget Rye Whiskey to buy!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Rittenhouse Rye:

  • Aged for 4 years in charred oak barrels.
  • “North American Whiskey of the Year” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Earned a score of 94 points from Wine Enthusiast.
  • “Best North American Whisky” by Whisky Magazine.
  • “Best Buy Whisky of the Year” by Whisky Advocate.

Woodford Reserve Rye

woodford-reserve-rye
NoseOak, vanilla, rye spice
PalateRipe fruit, rye spice, vanilla, oak
FinishLong, vanilla, tobacco, oak spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toBulleit Rye, Knob Creek Rye

The Woodford Reserve Rye is a “barely legal” Rye Whiskey as it only carries a bit over the minimum of rye in the mash established by law to belong to this category.

This makes it taste like a spicy version of the much beloved regular Woodford Reserve and the best Woodford Reserve for mixing.

The nose rich in oak at first and as you let it develop vanilla and rye spice appear.

First sip provides mild rye spice followed by rich and sweet hints of vanilla and a fruity note that tastes like apricot. The body has a good texture, not too creamy but thick nonetheless.

The finish is long and pleasantly warm with little burn leaving vanilla and a bit of oak spice.

The Woodford Reserve Rye drinks nicely neat, due to its low rye content it does not have much spiciness making it quite easy to sip.

If you add a little ice it will become even smoother and will bring out some sweet vanilla making it more enjoyable.

It shares many features of the much beloved Woodford Reserve such as the signature toasty note oak, yet I prefer the Rye over the Bourbon as this provides tastier cocktails due to the spicy character of rye.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Woodford Reserve Rye:

  • Made from a mash of 53% rye, 33% corn and 14% malted barley.
  • There is no age statement on the bottle, but it is a straight rye so that means it’s at least 4 years old.
  • Woodford Reserve Rye is crafted in its own distillery in Woodford County, Kentucky.
  • The Woodford Reserve brand is owned by Brown Forman who also holds Jack Daniel’s and Old Forester.

Rittenhouse Rye vs Woodford Rye: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPrice
Rittenhouse Rye$22
Woodford Reserve Rye$32

Rittenhouse Rye vs Woodford Reserve Rye: Which is better?

Woodford Reserve is easier to like

WhiskeyRittenhouse RyeWoodford Rye
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • The Woodford Reserve Rye is a safer bet than the Rittenhouse Rye for most folks as it is quite smooth yet tasty.
  • The Woodford Reserve Rye is pretty much the spicy version of its Bourbon sibling making a crowd-pleaser.
  • Personally, I prefer the Rittenhouse as it has a higher proof that burns a bit but nicely and has a nice creamy texture that keeps you coming back for more.
  • If you feel it too burny add a large ice ball; that always works!!!
  • One point in favor of the Rittenhouse is the price. You are unlikely to find such a fine tasting rye whiskey at this price!

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