The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2018

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40  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2018 NEW RELEASES B efore Prohibition, Maryland was known for its rye: recognizable by its slightly sweet yet bold and spicy character and often made with corn added to the rye mash. After the repeal of Prohibition and both World Wars, produc- tion of bourbon in Kentucky and whiskey in Tennessee quickly resumed, and today both states enjoy notoriety for their respective spirits. Maryland, on the other hand, struggled to recapture its pre-Prohibition reputation, but new distillery Sagamore Spirit has set out to make a name for itself—and its home state—by bringing Maryland-style rye back into the national spotlight. Sagamore Spirit's five-acre distillery, which features a 27,000-square-foot process- ing facility and 22,000-square- foot distillery building, opened in Baltimore's Port Covington neighborhood last year. Just 22 miles away lies Sagamore Farm, where the company's barrel-aging barn and source for its limestone spring water—with which the rye is proofed—is located near stables of thoroughbred horses and a three-quarter- mile racing track. The company is fresh off a Double Gold win for its first limited release—Sagamore Spirit Reserve Series Double Oak Rye Whiskey, finished in a second "wave stave" oak barrel—at this year's Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Spirits Competition, where it also won a Gold for its Cask Strength Rye expression. Sagamore Spirit's newest limited release, the 98-proof Reserve Vintner's Finish Rye, features a blend of rye aged in premium red wine and Port casks and is available for a limited time in Maryland and Washington, D.C. "We were eager to experi- ment with finishes," says Sagamore Spirit President Brian Treacy. "Maryland-style rye whiskey, with its sweet corn and spicy rye, lends itself well to a secondary maturation, so aging our whiskey in Port and red wine barrels was intriguing. The Vintner's Finish whiskey gathered notes of dark cherry and a smooth smokiness we thought tasted spectacular. Taking risks is one of the best parts of making whiskey, and finishing our rye in wine barrels proved to be one well worth taking." Sagamore Spirit's first limited release, its Double Oak Rye Whiskey, recently won a Double Gold at the 2018 Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Spirits Competition. Getting into the Rye Spirit Sagamore Spirit hand-selected Port, Shiraz, and Cabernet barrels to create its new, limited-release Vintner's Finish Rye expression. SAGAMORE SPIRIT LAUNCHES VINTNER'S FINISH RYE FOR LIMITED RELEASE by Jesse Hom-Dawson PHOTO: RONNIE NETTLES PHOTO: TASHA DOOLEY

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