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Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey (110 proof)

Posted on by Eric Burke

I tend to like rye whiskey more than my wife does. She’s coming around, but things that show a lot of rye character still aren’t her drink of choice. When I find my hand hovering over an open bottle of rye on the shelf it is usually one that is a nice change of pace from bourbon. To be honest, it is probably either from Canada or Indiana. If I’m grabbing a rye, I don’t want it to be confused for a high rye bourbon. If I wanted that I’d just have a bourbon. 

My wife on the other hand, tends to like her ryes more bourbony. With rare exceptions, the Kentucky-style barely-legal rye is the style she’d reach for first. Which makes our most recent whiskey to be opened one that is more up her alley than mine. 

Pikesville Straight Rye whiskey is a wide-release line extension to the Pikesville Supreme Rye whiskey that is mostly available only in Maryland where the brand was originally from. It is an older and higher proof version of Rittenhouse Rye. But those 10 degrees proof and 2 years time come with a price. Where Rittenhouse can be found hovering around $22 at my nearest Total Wine, Pikesville clocks in at $44. 

I guess the only question is…is it worth it?

Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey

Purchase Info: $54.95 for a 750 mL bottle. Heaven Hill Gift Shop, Bardstown, KY

Details: 6 years old, 55% ABV

Nose: Mint, cloves, caramel, a mild fruitiness and hints of cotton candy.

Mouth: Ginger spiciness, cloves, mint and a fruitiness that is more forward on the palate than the nose would lead you to believe. 

Finish: Cloves, mild fruitiness and mint follow a lingering spicy ginger heat.

a smile because I like this

Thoughts: Though this is a barely-legal rye, it has enough rye character that it straddles a line where both my wife and I tend to like this one. Like it’s younger cousin, this is a hot rye whiskey. Unlike it’s younger cousin, I like this in a glass with an ice cube rather than in a cocktail. 

So to answer the question above, is it worth twice the price? To me, the answer is yes since I actually like this one where I’m just sort of meh on Rittenhouse outside of a cocktail. If on the other hand, you love your Rittenhouse, your milage may vary. Certainly try it but the value may not be there for you.


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