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.