Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
May 6, 2008 11:32 AM

Very nice rye whiskey?

Hi there,

I’m looking for some recommendations for a very nice, aged rye whiskey. My boyfriend is turning 30 and getting his Ph.D. all that the same time, so I’d like to get him something special.

At nice bars he’s tried and enjoyed Michter's (not sure if it was the US#1 or the 10-year) and Rittenhouse 21. And recently at Bevmo he was really curious about the Vintage Bourbon Rye 23 y.o.

Also, I just saw that a Chowhound article that recommends the Sazerac 18, Michter’s 10, Black Maple Hill 18, and Rittenhouse 21. (From


Do any of you have strong recommendations for or against any of these? I don’t usually drop this kind of money on booze so I’d like to make an informed decision…

Thanks so much!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Aside from the Rittenhsoue 21 there is a 23 year old, but they are both very expensive. They are pretty much the most expensive ryes around. (I haven't tried either so can't comment).

    You can't go wrong with the Sazerac 18. It's wonderfully of my favorites.

    Old Potrero Rye is also very nice, though a bit different, being a single malt rye, it has a much spicier kick. Still, as a big rye fan, he might find it interesting.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sku

      Thank you, sku. I'm relying entirely on rye-drinkers like you to figure this out, so I really appreciate it.

      Any other Chowhound rye drinkers out there care to weigh in?

    2. Squidly- (I had a friend who I gave that nickname growing up) They're all pretty darn good. I tried them all recently when I was in Kentucky for a whiskey conference and they all have they're charms.

      Not as available, but special in their own way, are Templeton Rye out of Iowa ( or Tuthilltown's Hudson Manhattan Rye out of NY ( Both are made by very small artisanal distilleries and hard to find. Either would make a nice gift due to their uniqueness. They take the meaning of small batch to a new level and the distillers of both are worth supporting. There are only a small handful of whiskey artisanal micro-distilleries in the world and we could use a few more. In a few years I hope to have my Aroostook Rye in the bottle.

      13 Replies
      1. re: JMF

        Thanks for those artisanal tips, JMF. I have a friend visiting from NY in a couple weeks so maybe she could smuggle me some of that Tuthilltown.

        Thanks and best of luck with your own rye production! I'll keep an eye out...

        1. re: squidly

          I'm not familiar with the artisnal options. I am, however, very intrigued!

          I'm not that excited about the Vintage Rye 23 yo, and I own a bottle. The three other 'occasion' bottles I have, in my order of preference, are Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye, Hirsch 21, and Black Maple Hill 18. All three are fantastic, complex, and worthy.

          I finally had a taste of the Rittenhouse 21, which was on my quest list after the Hirsch 21 and Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond -- -- it is very impressive, with a bottle and a price to match. However, I am perfectly happy with the Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond--which I drink more often than the 'occasion' bottles.

          1. re: j_b

            I really like the Rittenhouse bottled in bond a lot and get an extra whenever I can find it. Great price, great flavor. I thought the Rittenhouse 21 and 23 were way too pricey.

            1. re: j_b

              JB, is the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye the 13-year old we nearly polished off in Bardstown? If so, I agree it was da bomb. How does Rittenhouse bottled in bond compare? I get the feeling that's the Jim Beam Black of ryes...

              1. re: Jim Leff

                Yes, the Van Winkle that got us started on Rye. The Rittenhouse bottled in bond is my current winner in spirit deliciousness to cost ratio. In Bourbon, that prize is split between Bulleit, WL Weller 7 Year Old, and the Jim Beam Black.

                1. re: j_b

                  BTW, there isn't a bourbon aficionado in existence who shares our sentiment re: Jim Beam Black (that it's actually a totally enjoyable no-frills bourbon, much preferable to Wild Turkey or Makers Mark). Regular Jim Beam (white) has totally spoiled anyone for saying anything nice about the brand (yet they extol Beam's separate label stuff....go figure).

                  1. re: Jim Leff

                    Probably due to Jim Beam marketing. I often see the Jim Beam 'small batch' line at bars where they will carry Jack Daniel's and not Jim Beam white, and I can't recall having seen Jim Beam Black at any bar.

                    1. re: j_b

                      I see Black fairly frequently on east coast. I like it more than any of their small batch brands, which taste treacly and contrived to me. Bulleit is growing more and more common. And the $25 shot of (non canadian) Hirsch is becoming almost a cliche. I wonder if the latter's a sham, like many of the trumpeted "real cohiba cigars" you see around.

              2. re: j_b

                I ordered the Templeton Rye from Binny's. I added the Sazerac--Binny's selection--so the Templeton wouldn't be lonely in transit. :->

                The Templeton is what I was expecting from Rye but never found in the 'Occasion' bottles or the Rittenhouse 80/100 'Everyday Priced' bottles. It's not rockgut, but it's a mean-old drink. Dry, no sweetness, after-taste in the back of your throat, almost grassy (in a good way).

              3. re: squidly

                Tuthilltown's site shows a number of retail can't be THAT hard to find. I'll set out in quest tomorrow. I really like the front door of Templeton's web site, and they're sold very reasonably online via Binny's Beverage Deport, which stocks lots of good stuff at fair prices (including some rare Venezuelan rums) . I just noticed btw they stock A H Hirsch 21 Year Old Rye for $109, three of the rittenhouses, and one I don't know: Leroux.

                1. re: Jim Leff

                  Vino 100 171 E Post Rd, white plains (914) 949-8466
                  carries the tuthilltown hudson manhattan rye for $42, and I'm heading thru there tomorrow. Wooo!

                  1. re: Jim Leff

                    Jim- I picked up a bottle of their 'single malt' for my Dad at Astor Wines in Manhattan back in January. Still awaiting a chance to try it.

              4. re: JMF

                I recommend anything made by Tuthilltown. I bought the rye, corn whiskey and baby bourbon for a whiskey+bourbon lover as a gifts, and he absolutely loved both.

                If you can't get them through a friend, you can order them from LeNell's in NY ( They will ship to anyone who can sign off (over 21), and I imagine that the more you order, the cheaper your shipping per bottle will be overall.

                Check out some reviews:

              5. Eastern Standard stocks a goodly selection of exotic ryes that you could taste by the glassful, if that helps. Me, I like the Sazerac 18, but there are a lot of choices, and a good barman (and ES has plenty of them) can help you make your informed decision.

                1. Glen Breton Canadian Rye, from Preiss Imports is vety tasty without breaking the bank.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: MOREKASHA

                    Glen Breton is actually a single malt, not a rye. It's confusing because many people refer to any Canadian Whiskey generically as a "rye", even where there is little or no rye content. Glen Breton is essentially Scotch made in Canada.

                    1. re: sku

                      I may be wrong but it's actually Hirsch Canadian Rye, maybe it's just bottled @ Glen Breton.

                      1. re: MOREKASHA

                        Gotcha. I believe the Hirsch is bottled by Glenora (which also makes Glen Breton), though I don't think it is distilled there.

                  2. I like some of the others above, Black Maple, esp., but none of them really touch a Van Winkle Rye in my opinion. It's what got me drinking rye, whereas before it was only Scotch and Irish.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Captain

                      Thanks to all of you on your feedback. I'm going to include a print-out of this thread with the gift--I'm sure that my boyfriend would love to read it and get ideas for the next bottle.

                      Based on reviews here and on conversations I've had with some liquor store staff, I decided to go with the Black Maple 23. Hopefully he enjoys it as much as you all have the various bottles you wrote in about.

                      thanks again!