Heaven Hill sure knows how to make a rye. Forget for a moment it is 110 proof.
It’s color is a medium-dark amber which they call pale copper.
The nose is at first strong with alcohol then mellows and offers less rye than I would expect. Instead it is a fairly smooth, oaky caramel. No surprise that 110 proof generates some burn when you do taste it but don’t expect it to overpower the spicy flavors. It has a sugary, almost buttery-thick mouthfeel which surprised me as I was thinking the high proof would make it fairly thin. Instead, it is smooth and rich and almost dark with tremendous complexity. The finish burns just a touch on the lips and throat but nothing too strong leaving behind a lingering rye flavor. I admit it.. I really didn’t expect to like sipping such a strong rye!
The taste is where you understand the quality Hevan Hill brings. There is no question this is well aged. Their website sais it is at least six years in “extra aged” barrels (whatever that means) and stored in prime warehouse locations. I can’t help but think it started when someone put a few barrels in back and forgot about them. I don’t care what the real story is because they came up with the right formula.
As a Manhattan, the spice takes center stage. Again, it’s strength sneaks up on you so take it slow. Savor it. Try to get it with cherry bitters if you can.
Go find a bottle of Pikesville and enjoy it slowly. Not only because of the strength but also because it’s worthy of a nice, slow experience.
Country: United States
Region: Bardstown, KY
Binny’s Price: $49.99
Acquired: The author bought his own at 1913
Barrel/lot sampled: Unknown
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