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Rittenhouse Rye vs Pikesville Rye: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Rittenhouse Rye vs Pikesville Rye in this in-depth comparison and decide which Rye Whiskey is better for You!

Rittenhouse Rye

rittenhouse-straight-rye-whiskey
NoseRye spice, vanilla, oak
PalateRipe fruit, nutty, citrus
FinishLong, Citrus, pecan
Alcohol content100 proof (50% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toElijah Craig Rye, Bulleit Rye

The Rittenhouse Rye only carries just above 51% rye in the mash providing a modest rye spice hit.

Light on the nose with vanilla, oak, spice, a citrus note coming behind and just a whiff of ethanol.

Palate is fruity up-front, low in rye spice, with a nice nutty hint and citrus notes along a good hit of baking spice.

Finish is surprisingly long and buttery, providing good warmth throughout.

This is not the smoothest 100 proof whiskey as it burns a bit, but the overall flavor profile makes up for it. Adding a dash of water tunes down the Rittenhouse Rye making it easier to sip.

Overall, the Rittenhouse is not too complex and a bit burny, low in rye spice, great quality and flavorful making an easy drinker and an even better mixer as the high proof will add a nice kick to your favorite cocktail

This whiskey is a no-brainer due to its well tasting flavor profile and it affordable price making it the best affordable Rye Whiskey to buy!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Rittenhouse Rye:

  • Aged for 4 years in charred oak barrels.
  • “North American Whiskey of the Year” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Earned a score of 94 points from Wine Enthusiast.
  • “Best North American Whisky” by Whisky Magazine.
  • “Best Buy Whisky of the Year” by Whisky Advocate.

Pikesville Straight Rye

pikesville-rye
NoseOak, orange, rye spice
PalateOak, vanilla, leather, orange, rye spice
FinishCaramel, rye spice, chocolate
Alcohol content110 proof (55% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks
Similar toWhistlepig 10

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 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.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Pikesville Straight Rye:

  • 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.
  • Pikesville was originally crafted in Maryland, but is now made in Kentucky.

What do the Rittenhouse and the Pikesville have in common?

Both crafted at the same distillery

  • These whiskeys are both crafted at the Heaven Hill Distillery in Kentucky along other brands such as Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Old Fitzgerald among many others.
  • These whiskeys are crafted using the same exact mash bill made from 51% rye, 35% corn and 14% malted barley.

Are Pikesville and Rittenhouse the same whiskey?

Proof and barrel management make them different

  • The Rittenhouse is aged for 4 years whilst the Pikesville for 6 year. Those additional two years add a rich oak note that does not overwhelm, quite the opposite as it makes it more pleasant.
  • The Rittenhouse is bottled at 100 proof whilst the Pikesville at 110. That difference means that the Pikesville was subjected to less water-dilution before bottling making it a bit more flavorful and warmer, but nothing off-putting as it doesn’t burn.

Rittenhouse vs Pikesville: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPrice
Rittenhouse Rye$22
Pikesville Rye$52

Rittenhouse vs Pikesville: Which is better?

Pikesville is the polished version of the Rittenhouse

  • The Pikesville is marginally better, you can tell that those 2 years made a difference while the additional proof also makes it more tasty.
  • But “marginally better” is not enough to compensate for such a lofty price differential making me prefer the Rittenhouse over the Pikesville; especially when looking for an affordable rye whiskey to make homemade cocktails or casual drinking.

The Rittenhouse is a champ in terms of value for the money making a fan favorite.

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