ADVENTURES IN WHISKEY: THE PECULIAR PIKESVILLE FROM PROHIBITION
What do you do when the following email arrives in your inbox? You go on a whiskey adventure!
My mom has a bottle of whiskey that her grandfather purchased just before prohibition started. Bottled in spring 1922 in Pikesville Maryland, pure rye whiskey, 100 proof. It has never been open. Is it worth anything?
Is it worth anything? Hell yes! See, a hundred years ago, rye whiskey was synonymous with Maryland. And Pikesville was a brand of considerable reputation. But, it died when Prohibition began. Even though Pikesville was resurrected in 1936, it was in name only. The old mashbills and secrets were lost forever.
But this bottle might contain some of the good stuff!
If it was real, of course.
RULE NUMBER ONE: FORGET THE STORY
The first step in dating any "superdusty" is to disregard the story that comes with it. The storyteller's integrity is irrelevant. Details just tend to get jumbled and altered over the years. It's never intentional, but almost always the case.
Just like here. Did you catch the problem? The email said this was purchased "Just before Prohibition started." But that can't be true if this was bottled in 1922. Because national Prohibition began in 1920.
OK, BUT IS IT REAL?
I'd never seen a Pikesville from the 20's before. But post-Prohibition ads matched this design. Plus, a trademark search confirmed that this logo had been in use since 1895.
Most of all, I was really encouraged to see a tax stamp over the top. That meant this was legal, government-bonded Prohibition booze. That's right -- even though Prohibition was in effect, you could still buy whiskey "For Medicinal Purposes Only." Like this Paul Jones pint:
All you needed was a prescription! If that sounds like it was at all difficult to get, then you probably don't know anyone who smokes medical marijuana today. (The obvious difference being that cannabis has accepted medical uses, and booze treats no medical conditions).
So, if there was a "Medicinal" statement somewhere on this -- probably on a back label -- I could very well be looking at a jackpot find! I excitedly asked for more pics.