Riverset Rye r/Bourbon Single Barrel Selection

It’s from Tennessee but not Dickel!

Over the past few days I’ve been putting this bottle through its paces. I enjoy rye greatly. More so than bourbon. Specifically, I enjoy a rye that has big grassy, herbal notes. I love rye both neat and in my cocktails so at $40 I was skeptical which shelf this bottle would complement. Is it a sipper or a cocktail bottle?

I should preface this review by saying my favorite daily rye is Willett 4 Year Small Batch. It has a really unique character that I rather enjoy. Not quite a funky Wild Turkey but somewhere in the same ball park. For those nights I want something a bit more I reach for Alberta ryes. Either Lot. 40 Cask Strength or a Wistlepig 10 Year pick. My go to cocktail bottle right now is Pinhook 4 Year “Tiz Rye Time“. It was $25 which put it right at Rittenhouse’s price. I enjoy the 95/5 MGP ryes a lot, but this one is cheap enough I don’t feel bad throwing it in a cocktail.

Riverset Rye is distilled in Tennessee by Old Tennessee Distilling Co. and aged in Memphis along the Mississippi River. This bottle is 5 years old and bottled at 115.1 proof.

In the glass it has a nice deep tawny color. On the nose there is a lot of alcohols to dive under despite being in a glen. It’s very sweet smelling with a ton of fruit. Peaches or Apricots and big apple cider flavors. Not much rye spices I’d expect but some cinnamon and the slightest fresh cut grass and hay notes.

On the palate I get a nice sweet apple cinnamon bread flavor but that comes with a rather astringent burnt herb unpleasantness. More apple and pear juice sweetness and oddly less rye than I expected. I’d almost guess this was a high rye bourbon if there had been more brow sugar sweetness in there.

On the finish you’re greeted with a warm herbal spice finish on the dry side of the spectrum. Mulling spices and mild stone fruits. Uncharacteristic to MGP 95/5. This is its own profile so don’t be fooled by the mash bill. Less herbal and more mineral in flavor.

Overall I think this is a decent sipper. It’s good and different but not great to me. It lacks that rye punch I enjoy so much from the spirit. At $40 it wasn’t much of a risk to take but this bottle might be one of those I pull out for bourbon friends dipping their toes into rye. I think the minerality would make for some truly unique cocktails. Water sources really make a difference!

While I won’t be reaching for this every night, it will be nice to pull out every once in a while for a different 95/5 profile.