It used to be true that when one heard rye whiskey, they would immediately jump to Maryland Rye. The two were essentially synonymous. Some of the largest and most prestigious distillers were located in the state, dating all the way back to the 1700s. This was due in part to the large quantity of rye and wheat in the area as farmers planted these as cover crops for tobacco. These same farmers found it easier and more profitable to distill as opposed to ship the extra grain elsewhere.
The profitability of this industry led to the founding of L. Winn & Brothers Distillery. It was here in the 1890s that Pikesville Rye began being distilled. The brand was strong, until shattered by prohibition along with the rest of the Maryland Rye industry and reemerged after the ban. Now, Pikesville Rye is the last-standing brand from the Maryland Rye era.
After prohibition, Pikesville Rye was able to reestablish itself as a high-quality rye whiskey and continued distilling in Maryland. The distillery closed in 1972, but survived on existing whiskey stocks until 1982 when purchased by Heaven Hill, who moved the distillation process to Kentucky.
Among the whiskeys Pikesville Rye distills in Kentucky is the Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey. This whiskey is aged six years and bottled at 110 proof. Its coloring is a pale copper and smells of cocoa with oaky notes underneath mixing perfectly with green apple. The taste is dry and spicy with honey, rye, and cloves with a softer vanilla and spice finish. It bites your tongue immediately so there is no mistaking that this is a rye whiskey. The finish is slow to return, but is warm and steady with the honey and vanilla flavors continuing.
The Pikesville Straight Rye Whiskey has won a Double Gold Award from the World Spirits Competition and Extraordinary and Ultimate Recommendation from the Ultimate Spirits Challenge. This award-winning whiskey continues to live up to its honors.
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