Pikesville Rye is a straight rye whiskey that has been around for more than 120 years. First launched in Maryland in 1895, production of this whiskey was stopped multiple times throughout the year.
It finally made its way to the Heaven Hill distillery in Louisville, Kentucky and was relaunched in 2015. At 51% rye, the Pikesville has the minimum amount of rye to be classified as an American rye whiskey
The Pikesville Straight Rye dates all the way back to 1895 where it was first produced at the L. Winand and Brothers Distillery in Scott’s Level, Maryland. They named the drink after a neighbouring town, Pikesville, in the Baltimore County.
Like many other distilleries, the L. Winand and Brothers distillery also shut down during the Prohibition in the United States. After the act was abolished, businessman Andrew Merle acquired the Pikesville brand in 1936. Monumental Distiller was contracted for the distillation of the Pikesville Rye shortly after. After a series of more unfortunate events and change of ownerships, sales of the rye started dwindling and the distillation was eventually stopped in 1972.
This made the Pikesville Rye the last-standing brand of Maryland rye. In 1982, the brand was sold to Heaven Hill, and the Pikesville still remains a label of the Heaven Hill Bernheim Distillery.
The Pikesville Straight Rye is made of a rye, corn, and malted barley mash bill. The milled grains are cooked to create the mash which has a porridge-like consistency. The grains are cooked in water from the Kentucky River that has been filtered through limestone. The limestone filtration removes iron and other impurities from the water.
Next, Heaven Hill’s proprietary yeast strain is added to the cooked mash and this yeast naturally converts the sugars into alcohol. The fermented mash gradually creates a thick liquid called the "Distiller's Beer,” which has a low proof.
This spirit is then distilled. It is slowly passed down the column stills through a series of perforated copper plates. Steam from the bottom of the stills converts the liquid into vapours. The alcohol vapours rise to the top of the stills where they're cooled down and condensed into liquid alcohol.
This alcohol is transferred to virgin American white oak barrels for ageing. The Pikesville Straight Rye is aged for six years.
The Pikesville Straight Rye contains 55% ABV (110 US Proof), which is much higher than the standard permissible limit for Kentucky whiskeys.
Silver at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2019.
Gold at the International Spirits Challenge in 2019.
Silver at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2018.
Gold at the Liquid Gold Award in 2016.
Double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2015.
20th February 2019
Dusty spices with touches of dry cocoa and sweet vanilla.
Rich and fruity with layers of spice, vanilla, cloves, and honeyed rye.
Dry and long with notes of soft vanilla.