Pikesville Straight Rye 6 Year Old
Heaven Hill Distillery
Taste score: 95
Category: Straight Rye, 6 Years Old
Whisky Cabinet Score: ★ ★ ★ ★
Pikesville Straight Rye is celebrated amongst whisky enthusiasts. It's been winning many awards since being released in 2015, including coming in second in Jim Murray's The Whisky Bible for 2016 right behind Crown Royal Rye.
It's a barely legal rye, containing the minimum amount of rye in the recipe (51%). The rest is corn with a dab of malted barley. While technically a rye, it can easily be mistaken for a bourbon. In some ways, it's closer to a great bourbon than a great rye.
Pikesville Straight Rye is a product of Heaven Hill, and similar to Rittenhouse Rye in production. It's released by Heaven Hill as a premium rye, and its priced at the suggested retail price of $50 US. The name comes from an old Maryland distillery that closed before prohibition. Like with most Heaven Hill products, it be difficult to trace the historical brand to its current owners.
I was initially bored with the first sip after a just-opened bottle. That quickly changed, and the whisky started to grow. After some time in the glass and a few more sips, it became clear that this whisky the standard whisky review clichés: complex, balanced, layered; it's all those things. Left sitting in the glass, I quickly became enamored with this rye.
Nose: Alcohol soaked cherries, yeast, some hard candy, wonderful floral rye notes, ginger soda, and black tea.
Palate: Like a layered cake, this has many levels of flavours that hit you all at once. The sweet caramel layer is at the bottom, pushing through dark chocolate, butter, and cinnamon spice. There’s a smooth creamy middle layer that separates out the high-spice rye. The rye is beautifully shown; bright, grassy, floral, and spicy. It hangs around beautifully. The finish is stunning, and wonderfully layered with a continuation of those flavors.
*Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆ Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆ Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original