Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey Review
Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey is a 6 year old, 110 proof offering from Heaven Hill. The whiskey was announced earlier this year with an expected release date of September 2015. Exciting news for Rye fans especially at a time when Smooth Ambler announced the discontinuation of its Old Scout Rye line due to dwindling stock. It would seem that the supply of aged rye from distillers other than MGP and Buffalo Trace is finally catching up with the recent demand.
Pikesville is marketed as a "Maryland Style Rye" which was historically distilled from a mashbill lower in rye than its "Pennsylvania Style Rye" counterpart. If you want some more information on the differences between these to styles as well as the history of Rye Whiskey head on over to Serious Eats. Heaven Hill essentially markets 3 different Straight Rye Whiskeys that are produced from the same mashbill at various strengths and ages:
1. Pikesville Supreme Straight Rye Whiskey - 80 proof and 3 years old
2. Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond - 100 proof, at least 4 years old, Bottled in Bond
3. Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey - 110 proof, 6 years old
Rittenhouse Rye has been a staple in my bar for a while now and for good reason. Cheap ($20), readily available and stands up well in mixed drinks. As you can imagine the announcement of an older and higher proof version has had me excited to try this release. However, the Pikesville is nearly 3x the cost of Rittenhouse Rye with only a marginal improvement on age and proof. Lets see how it stands up.
Cost: $60 retail in South Carolina, pre tax. This review was conducted with a sample received in a swap.
Age: 6 years
Distillery: Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc.
Mashbill: 51% Rye / 39% Corn / 10% Malted Barley
Pour: 1 oz neat in a Scottish Glencairn
Nose: The aromas coming off this rye are fantastic. Vanilla bean and powdered nutmeg start the show. Next are baked and boozy confections - coffee cake sitting beside hot rum bread pudding and fresh baked pumpernickel bread. What surprised me most was the lack of ethanol burn on the nose. Typically Ill let the pour rest for about 10 min before but even then there is usually some ethanol burn on anything higher than 100 proof.
Palate: Toasted, seeded rye bread, mega baking spices (nutmeg and cinnamon) and some heat from the proof. I see so much of the Rittenhouse in the palate but cranked up to 11. Medium viscosity.
Finish: Very pleasant with a super long fade. Warm with some lingering spice and caramel. Really coats the mouth.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is distilled from the same 51% rye mashbill as the Rittenhouse BIB. The palate is strikingly similar in regards to a baking spice mega bomb. More of a straight forward rye without the mint and dill notes that MGP ryes are known for. However the biggest shock for me is the complex nose full of fresh baked and boozy confections. Price wise this is in line with other premium rye offerings from Wild Turkey, Buffalo Trace, and High West. If you're a fan of Rittenhouse BIB I recommend giving this rye a taste.
Recommended: Rittenhouse Rye, Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 Year Straight Rye, Smooth Ambler Old Scout 8 Year Cask Strength Straight Rye, Wild Turkey 101 Rye, Sazerac Rye (90 Proof, 6 year), High West Double Rye!
- Mark @ Entry Proof