I recently acquired a bottle from Baltimore. The bottle looks very recent. Stamped on the base is a 2001 by which I infer it was filled with Bernheim whiskey. This is 4 year old rye and it doesn't taste older.
This rye tastes quite different than Rittenhouse. Assuming it is the same mashbill, the differences must result from maturation alone which means different locations in the warehouse. But I wonder if in fact the recipes are different since the whiskeys have always tasted quite different to me.
In the past, Pikesville (from HH - not the Maryland original) was aggressive in taste. It had a huge raw rye hit and needed taming with ginger ale or in a cocktail mix.
This current one is far more drinkable on its own. The rye is quite evident but does not obtrude overly, and the background is medium-age "bourbon" wood (probably the corn element and char) with some pleasant appley notes in the background. There is also a pleasing, "creamy" quality, it reminded me of the aromatic sweetness of cream soda pop.
It would be interesting to try this at 100 proof but at 80 it is very approachable and very well balanced for neat sampling.
Like Rittenhouse, I find Pikesville has gotten better. In Rittenhouse's case, I thought perhaps for the current BIB it might have something to do with the still it was made in (Early Time's) but because this current Pikesville is so good I think the reason in both cases is simply a renewed focus on these whiskeys. I think HH realises the market is aware of and wants quality rye and it is ensuring that its batches are better than ever, I think it is giving more attention in other words to the category.
Whatever the reasons, Rittenhouse BIB and Pikesville are excellent whiskeys and they come to boot at a bargain price.