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Pikesville 6 Year Old 110 Proof Straight Rye

Average score from 5 reviews and 8 ratings 90

Pikesville 6 Year Old 110 Proof Straight Rye

Product details

  • Brand: Pikesville
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 57.0%

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@RianC
Pikesville 6 Year Old 110 Proof Straight Rye

Lots one could say about this whiskey but I'll settle for saying that it has had the critics drooling since its release and, so it would seem, also the 'layperson'. I've liked all previous Heaven Hill products and have been really enjoying my forays into the rye world. It's also fairly hard to come by in the UK so I grabbed a bottle while I could. Expectations were a little high, it must be said . . . so how is it?

Bottle's been open almost two months with about 4/5's left. Pour is neat (and large!) and, for a change, from my Taylor D glass.

Nose - Big, sweet spices; lots of clove, some cinnamon, baker's ginger, pepper a little cardamom and a hint of anise. What's delightfully unusual here though is that it's as though the spices (which are mostly sweet in relation to spices in general, but not sweet per se) have been sugar coated. Spices on candy floss, if you will. It's delightful. There's a little chocolaty toffee in there, sour red apple and rye bread along with a slight gherkin note. The alcohol is present but it doesn't burn or sting, but rather warms the senses.

Taste - Oh man, you can chew on this for an age - great body and grip. More of the sour apple and spun-sugar on the arrival, which seems contrary to the nose's suggestion; but then the spices from the nose unfurl on the tongue. Would it be pretentious to say they dance? Yes. Moving on. Turns a little drier as it develops and the pepper sings loudly. I also get some vanilla and a slightly floral, bourbon like flavour.

Finish - Fairly long. More pepper and some oak tannins that balance nicely with the sweet, spicy nose and palate.

This isn't far of the bliss point in terms of whisk(e)y, it really isn't. I've never had a rye that offers such a sweet counter balance to all the spice the way this does, and it is immensely enjoyable. In fact, balanced is a great way to describe this along with cliches such as 'it's like a fireworks display in my mouth'. I am left a little sorrowful as each sip passes though as a) it's not a cheap bottle over here and b) it's not all that available. Still, this is a must for a repurchase - I'd buy a case if I could.

@RianC

Heaven Hill are really doing things the right way

For their rye, maybe. The Elijah Craig Small Batch that replaced the old Elijah Craig 12 Year Old is an absolute disaster, as far as I’m concerned. Just a hot mess and embarrassing to the Elijah Craig brand. But that’s “just an opinion, malt-mate. It’s just an opinion.” stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

@OdysseusUnbound you and me both. There are quite a few products I will not buy because I do not want a second bad experience. There are no guarantees, though, including loving your first, second, and third bottle of a given product.

What is heartbreaking is when a great favourite fails you. I was totally flummoxed when the bottle of George Dickel # 12 I insisted that my friend @Nock buy because it was such a favourite of mine tasted not good, and nothing like the Dickel # 12 which I had known. You do not ever know in advance what you are going to get when you buy a bottle of whisk(e)y. @Nock and I also have bottles of Aberlour A'bunadh Batch # 45, which when tasted side by side, we both agree that my bottle is 10 points better than is his.

@markjedi1

Six years seems young, but for an American whiskey, that is already quite well matured. This Pikesville is a straight rye whiskey, which means the main ingredient is rye, in this case upholstered with corn and malted barley. Pikesville was initially produced in Maryland – from 1895 until Prohibition – but nowadays is a Kentucky product from Heaven Hill. It was launched in the summer of 2015 and bottled at 110 Proof, or 55% ABV.

Hello?! What a beautiful nose on freshly ground coffee beans, milk foam, charchoal, flambéed pancakes with banana and a hint of mint. Milk chocolate. Brown sugar. A cinnemon bun. A bit of caramelized orange peel in the backgroud. This is very nice.

Oily, spice and sweet on the palate. After a few moments that spiciness becomes really big and leaves your mouth completely dry. The oak roars! Think cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper. The sweetness translates into caramel, vanilla, dried coconut and some honey. This is again very pleasant, although it does not quite fulfill the promise of the nose.

That spiciness continues on in the long finish.

Very much worth your while. A bottle will cost between 80 and 100 EUR, depending on where you look. In the States, it is just below 60 bucks, but hey, I do not come there very often. Pity, for this is really good. Thanks for the sample, Peter.

@talexander

Recently resurrected by Heaven Hill, Pikesville is a brand of of straight rye that was first distilled in the 1890s. The style is of the "Maryland" style, which is softer than the more ubiquitous "Pennsylvania" style of American rye on the shelves today. This bottle has been open for some months, and this is the very last dram left.

The colour is a dark reddish copper. On the nose I get freshly ground coffee, dark caramel, candy floss, bubble gum, cumin, dark chocolate and date squares. Extremely complex. Lots of rye spice, but not overpowering at all. Doesn't need water, but if you add it you will get sawdust and black liquorice. Old-fashioned in the best way possible.

On the palate the spice is much hotter, with charred oak, thick honey and cloves. Mouth-coating. All is balanced by a candied sweetness on the back palate. A bit spicier with water. Brilliant.

The finish is dry and dusty with buttered rye toast, baking spices and a gentle sweetness right at the end. This is the very last drop of the second bottle I have owned; I am only getting to reviewing it now because I loved drinking it so much (and they seem to be fading from LCBO shelves now - don't worry, I have another bottle on the way!) This is as great an American rye whiskey as you can imagine - it not only ticks off all the right boxes, it flies right off the page. It has had nothing but accolades, winning World's Best Rye at the 2016 World Whiskies Awards, and winning Rye of the Year and #2 World Whisky of the Year from Jim Murray (who scores it a 97.5) - and this liquid deserves it all.

@MuddyFunster, since you are one who acknowledges a close rapport with Jim Murray's taste, I am astounded that you have not tried Pikesville 6 yo Rye already. He doesn't give out many 97.5 scores, which is the highest score he has ever awarded.

Pikesville 55% 6 yo goes a rather different direction from every other rye I know. It is buttery, thick, CANDIED, like American candied sweet potatoes, and has a different sort of spicing from other rye whiskeys.

Taste is so individual here. It is extremely interesting to me to see who likes Pikesville 6 yo best. My own taste differs strongly from you folks, many of you who are good friends of mine. I like the Pikesville 6 yo, but I would always prefer to drink Thomas Handy or a Willett Family Estate Rye of any age.

@talexander, while the 6 yo 55% Pikesville has been resurrected, the 3 yo 40% Pikesville which we in Maryland have been drinking for 50+ years is now being discontinued. When current stocks are sold, that is all she wrote. Lots of locals around this region miss their reliable very inexpensive rye. Current price for it in my county is $ 14.16, including the tax. Five years ago it cost $ 9.17 here. But those are good prices compared to everywhere else.

It was really late in the game, 1974 I believe, when Heaven Hill bought out the Pikesville brand and moved its distillation to Kentucky. Pikesville had limped along after Prohibition ended despite big declines in the US in the popularity of spirits that had any flavour in them.

Nice review, and I am happy that you enjoy the Pikesville.

@jeanluc

I bought a bottle of Pikesville 6 Year Old 110 Proof Straight Rye around Christmas time and I must say it is absolutely superb. I have a few glasses left in and will be said to see it go.

Rich, spicy and chocolatey and bottled at a wonderful drinking ABV of 55%.

(I'm using this review to test the custom image upload).

Nice photo! Is the "subscribe to follow this discussion" new as well?

I think that's always been there @Nozinan :)

@Victor

...or, alternate title: Baltimore, Maryland Rye from Heaven Hill in Kentucky.

People know Rittenhouse Rye by Heaven Hill because it is distributed worldwide. Rittenhouse is a Pennsylvania or Monongahela Style Rye whiskey. Heaven Hill also makes what has been until now a much more limited distribution edition 'Maryland Style' Rye whiskey named Pikesville

Pikesville Rye was first established in 1895, and, with the exception of the Prohibition years, was made in Pikesville Maryland, adjacent to the City of Baltimore, Maryland, into the 1970s. Heaven Hill bought the rights to Pikesville Rye, and has since that time distributed Pikesville Supreme Rye, 40% ABV, 3 years old, to a limited area, mostly within its traditional market in the state of Maryland. Pre-Prohibition US Rye whiskeys were made almost exclusively in the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland. Before Prohibition there were a number of rye whiskey distilleries in the State of Maryland. 'The Maryland Style' of rye is described as being softer than the Pennsylvania "Monongahela" style. I have previously only known 'Maryland Style Rye' through my experiences with Pikesville Supreme 40% ABV Rye made at Heaven Hill. Leopold Brothers in Denver, Colorado also makes a Maryland Style Rye Whiskey. Maryland was famously pro-alcohol in that it refused to enact its own state laws to enforce the US Federal Prohibiton amendment. I read that this brand new Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey 6 yo 110 proof is intended to have a national rather than regional distribution. I expect that some of it will reach the international market as well. I have been wishing and hoping for years that barrel strength or near-barrel-strengh versions of Pikesville Supreme, Old Overholt, and Jim Beam Rye would be released. One for three is much better than none for three. The reviewed bottle was a gift from my sister, and has been open for 6 days

Nose: spice, caramel, vanilla, and molasses all bundled together, with heavy char and light floral notes. This has mostly middle pitches, but also some high confectioner's sugar notes and a few molasses-y bass notes from wood. Water added homogenised the flavours even more

Taste: thick mouthfeel; buttery taste and texture. Bright woody tannic tones arrive first, followed by the onset of great sweetness, and then a lot of baking spices and black pepper from rye grain. You could also make a case for describing the sweetness here as honeyed. This appears simple at first, but is actually deceptively complex. Water added bundled the palate flavours and accentuated brown sugar/molasses

Finish: long finish; stays sweet and spicy until the death, which moves slightly to the sour. Water added continues the bundled palate and brown sugar overlay for a very long slow fadeout

Balance: the flavours cooperate well together. Pikesville Rye is a very interesting and unusual style of rye whiskey which tastes much different from Heaven Hill's other rye, Rittenhouse. Pikesville is also sweeter than are most US straight rye whiskeys

Strength: strong flavours across the board. Score: 23/25 points

Quality: very good quality of all of the flavours. Score: 22.5/25 points

Variety: a very adequate variety of flavours is available when you look closely. Score: 22/25 points

Harmony: the flavours work together quite nicely. Score: 22.5/25 points

Total non-sequential score: 90/100 points

Comment: it should be very interesting to see how 55% ABV Pikesville Rye takes air in the open bottle. The 40% ABV 3 yo Pikesville I've had has been batch variable in its initial quality, but has often aged very well, bringing out fruity elements later which were not much manifest early after the bottles had been opened

My only substantial disappointment with 55% ABV Pikesville 6 yo Rye is that I was hoping for a low price point, something like the pricing for Old Grand-Dad 114 bourbon from Beam. Why? Because Pikesville 40% ABV is sold very inexpensively here. At $ 50 US retail Pikesville 55% ABV 6 yo Rye Whiskey is a very worthwhile whiskey, but is not inexpensive

@paddockjudge, it is good to hear from you. Heaven Hill puts out enormous volume, has literally hundreds if not thousands of independently bottled brands, and competes on price perhaps the best of ALL the US distilleries in the domenstic market.

A couple of additional observations on Pikesville 6 yo Rye 110 Proof:

1) the nose just gets better and better

2) the bottle label is of a totally retro olde-timey look, right out of 1915

3) there are a lot of great rye whiskeys, e.g. High West Rendezvous, which usually leave me sated after just one dram. Pikesville Rye 55% leaves me hungry for more...and more

4)oddly, Pikesville 6 yo Rye, 110 proof, reminds me VERY strongly of a rye whiskey version of the Elmer T. Lee bourbon profile: very sweet and very spicy.

@talexander, I wouldn't want to pay US$ 67 for Pikesville either. Here it is currently $ 55 including the tax, but I have lots of rye whiskey. Now that my bottle of Pikesville is gone, I am currently expecting to get my Pikesville cravings satisfied by the occasional dram at my sister's house. Maybe 5 years down the road I'll pick up another bottle of my own. I am actually doing a pretty good job of not buying new bottles these days, but it is still very slow going finishing off the gazillion open ones we have in the house.

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