September 4, 2013

Review: Rittenhouse 21 Year, 23 Year, and 25 Year Rye - Beast Masters Volume 2!!!

Oh baby, it's on.  The Beast Master series is back, featuring a mildly INSANE series of whiskies from Anthony Colasacco of Pour Mt Kisco!  Our first Beast Masters episode set the bar pretty high, but Anthony seems primed to step up to the plate.


Anthony runs a first-class joint out in Mt. Kisco, NY.  It's about half an hour by car, maybe 50 minutes if you're slumming it on public transport (which is a better option if you can't find a sucker for designated driver).  Heading out there, we saw a quaint town, and then some ominous looking mini-mall-type establishments, and then finally a perfect house with a wide front porch and dim-lighting.  Fingers crossed, we entered.

Firstly, the people are awesome.  You'll feel welcomed right away.  And second (ok who are we kidding?!?) was the bar itself.  A whiskey collection out of our wildest dreams.

The objects of tonight's affection: a line-up of outrageous ryes.  Rittenhouse 21-Year, 23-Year, and 25-Year.  Try and find these.  Go ahead.  Then cry yourself to sleep.  Spend the rest of your life living vicariously through our review.  Or, alternately, go to Pour and have Anthony pour you some.

Does this picture have you making sort of a combination of a smile and a whimper?
Then you're one of us...

What Are They Pouring???

Ok so before we get to the review, we have to take a look around Pour.  Because, well...  How could we not?  It's like the Egyptian God of Booze Hounds.

First stop: 5-piece Van Winkle Series. Yeah.  Deal with it.

12-year "Lot B".  Rip van Winkle Family Reserve Rye.  Pappy van Winkle 15-year.  Pappy van Winkle 20-Year, Pappy van Winkle 23-Year.  

What was that?  There were a couple of bottles on the sides that we left out?   Yeah there were.  Hirsch 25-year Bourbon.  Hirsch 28-year Bourbon.  Yup.

Then there's the top shelf over the bar...

Black Maple Hill Small Batch,  Vintage Bourbon 17, High West 21-year Rye, Vintage Rye 23-year

Feel free to read the rest of this post from your mobile device aboard the Metro North to Mt Kisco.  Here's the schedule.

And here's the man himself eagerly pondering our vintage rye tasting.

Clearly Anthony had been saving these in the bunker long enough to have the above look on his face when we actually opened them.  And speaking of that secret bunker...  Yeah, there's shit like this in there!

From the top: A.H. Hirsch 16 Gold Foil, A.H. Hirsch 16 Blue Wax, A.H. Hirsch 20 Year Red Wax, and original Michter's 101 Proof Whiskey
Yup that's a whole line of original Michter's juice from Schaefferstown, PA.  We'd never even seen a Hirsch 20 Year in the flesh until that moment.  Sadly we couldn't convince Anthony to do a tasting of these!  Maybe one day.

Ok enough teasing, let's drink!

Tasting Notes

Rittenhouse 21-Year

Nose: Vanilla and chestnuts.  Brown sugar.
Body: Dry, crisp, sweet honey.
Finish: Short, nose warmth, dark chocolate.

So far so good.  The 21 is a big sweet bold rye with lots of dessert flavors.  Warm, sweet, and very very good.

Rittenhouse 23-Year

Nose: Way less vanilla, way more wood.  Less sweet and more spicy.
Body: Herbal and floral scents come off this one: mint & menthol, daisies & celery.
Finish: More heat, not less!  Celery coming through over thick oak and spice.

This one lacks the big bold sweetness of the 21.  It's a bit more complex, but so far the 21 is the favorite.

Rittenhouse 25-Year

Nose: Now we're into both the big vanilla and the big wood coming together into something altogether beautiful.  Sweet, spicy, and deep.
Body: Cherries, honey, caraway, mint, molasses, chocolate, wood & leather.  It keeps opening up and revealing more layers.
Finish: Surprisingly, it's the shortest finish of the bunch.  The warmth spreading from nose to throat.  It's got all the elements - sweet, spicy, smooth, woody.  Every time you take a sip you discover a new layer of flavor.

And the winner is...

From the first three sips, the 21-Year was the favorite.  It was the sweetest, most vanilla and chocolate flavored, had the biggest boldest taste, and really just hit the ground running.

Once we dutifully sipped these three glasses over the course of half an hour, the 25-Year started to morph into something otherworldly.  The sweetness and body from the 21-Year came out.  All the florals and herbs from the 23-Year started to mix in.  The result was really just mind-blowing.  Very sophisticated layers of wood and spice and sweet all coming together perfectly.  It was worth the wait and in the end, the clear favorite.  These are all stellar ryes, but we'd rank them 25, 21, 23 in order of preference.  Never mind that though, jump on the chance to try any of these if you get one.

Thanks to Anthony and Peter at Pour for a night to remember.  Stop by, it's definitely worth the trip!



  1. Awesome post and and an awesome evening it was. Thanks for researching and setting the whole thing up. Thanks, too, for informing me that I left one of my special glasses there. So now we have to go back!

  2. The Steve Irwin banner has me pissing my pants laughing. I guess in the end he wasn't so much of a beast master after all! When you did the first one from that 80's movie I didn't know if it was a mistake, now I get it. friggin amazing!!!!