Maker: Heaven Hill, Bardstown/Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Style: Kentucky straight rye whiskey
Age: 6 y/o
Proof: 110 (55% ABV)
Michgan state minimum: $50
Appearance: Dark auburn
Nose: Cut grass, oak, alcohol grape soda, caramel.
Palate: Full bodied. Spicy and hot. Caramel, root beer. Water brings out sweet cinnamon and chili powder.
Finish: Oak, and then habanero. With water: a splash of caramel corn, then a low ancho burn.
Parting words: Pikesville is a fairly old Maryland brand that ended up being the last rye distilled in the state. The distillery stopped distilling in 1972 but kept going using old stock until 1982 in a testament to how bad sales were. Heaven Hill bought the brand then and it served as their bottom shelf, 80 proof rye for the next 30+ years. In 2015 they decided to reboot Pikesville as a 110 proof upper-shelfer. Judging by this bottle, the reboot is a success.
There seems to be a large proportion of pretty old (12 y/o or older) stock in the mix. I have never had an young Kentucky style rye with this much oak showing. It’s remarkable and well worth the price. This a is well balanced with loads of character that drinks pretty easy for 110 proof. If you enjoy Heaven Hill’s other rye, Rittenhouse, you’ll love this. It even stands up to the hallowed Van Winkle Family Reserve rye well. I hope they don’t let the high quality slip over the next few years. Highly recommended.