Straight Rye Whiskey Head to Head - Pikesville vs Sazerac Flash Reviews



Bit of a late post on this one, I wrote notes for this head to head yesterday (Sunday, July 11th). I still like to write reviews by hand before transcribing them to digital text for some reason... Call me old fashioned, but it just has a different focus and flow to it. Anyway, I've been meaning to do this rye face-off for a little while. I love a budget bottle that can still hit the spot. Let's see if either of these fit that bill!


 

Pikesville

Company on Label: Heaven Hill

Whiskey Type: Straight Rye Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 35% Corn, 51% Rye, 14% Barley

Proof: 110°

Age: 6 years

Further identification: Unique "D" bottle shape, purchased early 2020


Sazerac

Company on Label: Buffalo Trace

Whiskey Type: Straight Rye Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed Buffalo Trace Rye Mash Bill

Proof: 90°

Age: NAS (~4 years)

Further identification: Purchased early 2020


 

Pikesville


Nose:

  • Citrus

  • Pepper

  • Allspice

  • Herbal funk

  • Vanilla

  • Robust Oak

Palate:

  • Herbal caramel

  • Dusty oak

  • Spicy mouth coating

  • Big lemon peel zest

  • Long linger

  • Layers, complexity & intensity

  • Touches of sour molasses

  • Yum!

 

Sazerac


Nose:

  • Apricot / green apple

  • Floral

  • Light / airy

  • Very light stone fruit

  • Touches of citrus & vanilla

  • Fresh sawn pine

Palate:

  • Syrupy, sweet

  • Fresh, juicy apple

  • Slight medicinal cherry

  • Light milk chocolate

  • Silky smooth, goes down easy with a light creamy linger


 

Final Ranking: Situational, see below!


I went into this thinking there has to be a clear winner between these two. There is extra age and proof to the Pikesville, surely that will outclass the younger buck? I came out not so sure. I think both have their time & place and I will highlight which stood out for this tasting in particular on a muggy New England Sunday in July.


Overall the Pikesville is far more robust, intense and flavorful. I dream of the beginning of Fall when I taste this … but then a bead of sweat forms on my forehead as the more intense proof and spice works it's way out of my pores. I find myself gravitating towards finishing the Sazerac first. Then I find myself pouring a follow up Sazerac once both the glasses are empty... While I think on any cool day, or under a bit of air conditioning, the Pikesville would get the nod; today the lower proof and sweetness of the Sazerac is more enjoyable. Both are really solid rye offerings I will be keeping on my shelf. Cheers!

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