Pikesville Rye 6-years-old

"Tasteful rye whisky that finds a proper balance between the rye spices and the bourbon sweetness, and it adds some surprising notes, which makes it fun to drink"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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Originally produced as one of the great rye whiskies before the prohibition in the state of Maryland, Pikesville Rye is now owned by Heaven Hill and distilled at Bernheim Distillery in Kentucky. I guess most whisky enthusiasts noticed it when Jim Murray surprisingly rated Pikesville Rye as the second whisky of 2016 in his notorious bible. Looking at the mash bill, it is nearly identical to that of Rittenhouse Rye, but with an additional 2 years of maturation, and a doubling of the price. In fact, looking at the price range here in Europe, it should categorised under the premium rye whiskies. Can it hold up to that reputation?

Nose

The first thing that I notice is that it is not that spicy, for a rye, more towards some spicy honey. Furthermore, I get peppered caramel and really nice curry spices, the latter reminds me of some bottlings of Indian whisky like from Amrut. There is also a hint of mint, which I adore in a rye whisky, and dragon. Strangely I get a sense of babi pangang, a well-known Chinese/Indonesian take-off meal in the Netherlands. The freshness is highlighted in the development with some grapefruit, lemon, and a (very) faint hint of smoke. A good nose I would say!

Taste

On the palate I tastes very earthy, again not that common among rye whiskies, and more spices compared to the nose, still not overly spiced though. A hint of a slightly spicy tea and pine apples (agains surprising). It become slightly tannic and peppery (hot red peppers). Also slightly dry, but there is a lovely hint of strawberry ice cream.

Overall

I think this is a tasteful rye whisky that finds a proper balance between the rye spices and the bourbon sweetness. Moreover, it adds some surprising notes, which makes it fun to drink. Not that much resembles to the Rittenhouse from the same distillery, I would say, but almost just as good, and it would reach my list of possible future purchases if the price was just a bit lower. I do love the bottle design.

What others say

Whiskybase: 86.86 (111 votes) * Serge Valentin @Whiskyfun: 80/100 * @BreakingBourbon: 3.5/5 * @TheWhiskeyJug: 94/100 * @ModernThirst: 92/100
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
60%
Peat/smoke
5%
  • Spicy honey
  • Indian spices
  • Mint
Nose 87%
Taste 86.5%
Balance 87%
Depth 87%
Finish 86.5%
Score