Discover the differences between Michter’s Rye vs Pikesville Rye in this head to head comparison and decide which Rye Whiskey is better for You!
Michter’s US 1 Kentucky Straight Rye
|Nose||Herbal, mint, honey|
|Palate||Honey, butterscotch, cherry, rye spice|
|Finish||Medium length, caramel and spice|
|Alcohol content||85 proof (42.5% ABV)|
|How to drink||Add water|
|Similar to||Bulleit Rye, Whistlepig Piggyback|
Michter’s has the nice and pleasing aroma of a new car, along a herbal note, followed by mint and honey.
On the palate, there is maple honey sweetness up-front, followed by caramel, a hint of cherry, rye spice and a tad of oak coming far behind.
The rye spice hit you get is very low when compared to other ryes. There are several bourbons richer in spice than Michter’s.
The finish has a medium length, rich in caramel, with a touch of rye spice and light on wood.
This whiskey has a more subtle rye character than others, yet packs some nice sweet flavors making it a nice sipper.
Michter’s subtle rye spice makes me think that it carries barely enough of this grain to belong to this category. This is what you can call a “barely legal rye whiskey“.
This is an easy and sweet drinker, with no warmth as it’s bottled at low proof and low in spice making it a good option for those who want to get baptized into rye whiskey and are fond of smooth drams.
Drinks nicely neat or rocks, although I would not use it as a mixer as it lacks the punch to deliver good cocktails.
There are a few facts worth knowing about Michter’s Rye:
- This is a single barrel whiskey.
- It does not have an age statement.
- Mash bill is unknown but most be low in rye.
- Made from rye grain, severed to maximize the extraction of flavors from the grain.
- Michter’s is produced in two facilities: their original Michter’s distillery located in Shively, as well as their second Fort Nelson distillery.
- Michter’s was originally distilled at The Pennsylvania Michter’s Distillery which went belly-up in 1989.
- The brand was acquired by Joe Magliocco for $245 in the 1990s.
Pikesville Straight Rye
|Nose||Oak, orange, rye spice|
|Palate||Oak, vanilla, leather, orange, rye spice|
|Finish||Caramel, rye spice, chocolate|
|Alcohol content||110 proof (55% ABV)|
|How to drink||Add water, rocks|
|Similar to||Whistlepig 10, Rittenhouse Rye|
Aroma is soft and pleasant with hints of oak, citrus and faint rye spice.
First taste is sweet and a bit hot due to the high proof. As the burn subsidies you taste a rich oak note that lingers until the very end. Vanilla, oak, and leather are the main taste.
Finish is long, rich in maple syrup, dark chocolate; it warms the belly nicely.
The Pikesville is an easy drinker, smooth for a 110 proof bottle and the thick creamy body adds more points.
A dash of water dulls the burn, but doesn’t really alter the flavor, just allows you to taste and enjoy. An easy sip and a very good whiskey.
It has many features in common with the Rittenhouse Rye which is a fan-favorite and the best affordable rye whiskey as they are both crafted at the same distillery using the mash bill; the only differences are the aging length and the higher proof.
So if you are fond of the Rittenhouse you are gonna love the Pikesville as this is the polished version.
- Mash bill is comprised of 51% rye, 35% corn and 14% malted barley. This is a “barely legal” whiskey due to the low rye in the mash, hence the subtle spicy note.
- Aged for a minimum of 6 years.
- Earned 95 points at the 2015 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
- This brand was originally crafted in Maryland but was moved to Kentucky.
- Crafted at the Heaven Hill Distillery along other brands such as Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Old Fitzgerald, Rittenhouse Rye among many others.
Michter’s Rye vs Pikesville Rye: Price comparison
Prices are approximate and stated in USD:
Michter’s Rye vs Pikesville Rye: Which is better?
Michter’s is a safer bet
- The Pikesville has more body, is more tasty, but it makes you endure a bit of warmth as this is a high proof whiskey.
- Nothing terrible or off-putting and nothing that can’t be tuned with a dash of water but warm, nonetheless.
- It would make a good mixer to make punchy cocktails but I’d rather use the Rittenhouse Rye which shares many of its tasting notes and warmth and is offered at a fraction of the price.
- Michter’s offers moderate rye spice and almost no warmth as it’s bottled at high proof making a safer bet for those who want an overly smooth whiskey and like low rye spice.
I am a bar and liquor shop owner in Oaxaca, Mexico where I have tasted hundreds of different spirits; perhaps more than I should!