Frederick Rasmussen's article on Maryland straight rye whiskey ("Rye whiskey was once synonymous with Maryland," Feb. 27) evoked powerful but conflicting emotions in this transplanted Southern bourbon drinker (and, alas, now long time teetotaler.) For a moment I could almost taste the acrid shot of Pikesville and feel its warm glow as it travelled down the old alimentary canal, to be followed, at a decent interval, by a cool, contrasting and modest sip or two of National Bohemian. But my warm reminiscences are tinged with vague feelings of guilt. It was just about 37 years ago that I became a total abstainer. Perusing Mr. Rasmussen's chronology, I cannot help but believe that my rash course contributed considerably to the decline of this noble beverage.