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Pikesville 6 Year Old 110 Proof Straight Rye

The Other Heaven Hill Rye 55% ABV

3 1990

@VictorReview by @Victor

19th Sep 2015

0

  • Nose
    22
  • Taste
    23
  • Finish
    22
  • Balance
    23
  • Overall
    90

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

...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

Related Pikesville reviews

19 comments

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge commented

Heaven Hill is quickly becoming one of my favourite distilleries. I am amazed by the high quality of their products. Thank you @Victor for another interesting and informative review. I definitely have room for a bottle of Pikesville Rye 6 YO 110 Proof on my shelf.

3 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@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.

3 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Benancio
Benancio commented

Hope to see this on the shelf at my liquor store. Sounds like my kind of Rye, sweet and very spicy, fantastic.

3 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Another observation: this 6 yo Pikesville is quite sweet, but the bottles I have had of the Pikesville Supreme 3 yo 40% ABV Rye have usually been more toward the typical dryness usually the characteristic of the US Straight rye profile. Is it the longer barrel aging giving additional sweetness? Probably so.

3 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

At 55% ABV Pikesville 6 yo Rye is the highest alcohol content rye sold by Heaven Hill. All of the Rittenhouse Ryes, 4, 21, 23, and 25 Years Old, are sold at no more than 50% ABV. Come on Heaven Hill! Give us some special release ryes at Barrel Proof!

I am drinking some Pikesville 55% Rye now and loving it...having just learned that Jim Murray gave it 97.5 points and named it Second Finest Whisky in The World 2016. Really, Jim, did you have to do that in the same year that you gave World Whisky of The Year 2016 to Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye?

3 years ago 0

Astroke commented

I need this Rye, killing me that I cannot purchase this because of my location and the state of our dollar.

3 years ago 0

@newreverie
newreverie commented

I was happy to find this bottle for $40. I've yet to open it, but I look forward to the day. I was aware that this would be a slightly different style than my preferred American "Willet" style ryes, but I wasn't expecting the level of sweetness you describe. It almost sounds Canadianesque as a rye profile.

3 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

Bottle open 10 months, down to 150 ml, I'm having some Pikesville 55%. This has a distinctly fudge-like element, especally now. Chocolate is a very unusual flavour in rye whisk(e)y. Maybe that was why Mr. Murray was so enamoured with Pikesville this past year. I like Pikesville fine, but I don't put this flavour profile at the top of the heap.

3 years ago 1Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander commented

I absolutely love this one, but at $CDN90 (or $US67) it is a bit pricey - not for quality, but for a 6 year old rye. I score this a 95, and totally get the chocolate notes you mention. It does seem to get better with time in the open bottle.

2 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@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.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@talexander
talexander commented

@Victor I, unfortunately, keep buying bottles...........

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

Astroke commented

@Nozinan as do I, matter of fact I picked up a backup for Pikesville 110 on Monday.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nock
Nock commented

Drinking this now. I have to agree with the assessment. My bottle has been open for 2 months. I hope the finish improves with time. It certainly ended with a bitter/sour note. It was very sweet up to that point. I still like it, but it isn't that much better than the Rittenhouse 50% (which I am trying next to it). This is certainly thicker.

2 years ago 0

Taco commented

I really enjoy this one, much more than Rittenhouse. Only paid about $36 and it was definitely a good choice.

2 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Taco $36 is a righteous price for this one. Glad that you are enjoying the Pikesville.

2 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Victor Now that I have tasted it, I can say you nailed it with your review. The funny part is how the spices remind me of the spice profil of Bernheim Original after 6 months of air. Could that be that this specific profil of spices is related to the still (since Pikesville does not have any wheat)?

about one year ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Robert99, I would credit any similarity to the wood influence.

It was a very sad day in this region, especially in the state of Maryland, when, about 18 months ago, it was announced that there would be no more 3 yo 40% ABV Pikesville Rye coming to this market. The 40% Pikesville had been a local staple here for decades, and cost almost nothing, between $ 9 and $18 per 750 ml bottle. Initial quality was batch variable, but it usually improved greatly with air exposure, and could often be quite good. I have tried diluting the 55% ABV Pikesville to see if I could find similarities.It was not easy to do so. Maybe a much longer opened 55% bottle would show more. The 40% 3 yo stuff developed a lot of fruit after the bottle would take a lot of air. I just haven't seen the fruit influence in the 55% ABV Pikesville yet. But I haven't had a bottle of the 55% Pikesville 6 yo open on a shelf for multiple years yet, either. My sister has a bottle open maybe about 3 years now. I will have to watch it to see whether and how much it changes. .

about one year ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Victor Yes, please, keep us posted. I would describe what you are saying as the rye profile taking the upper hand on the corn profile. Interesting.

about one year ago 0

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