Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Nestled on Baltimore’s Port Covington waterfront on a plat of 5 acres, you will find Sagamore Spirit Distillery. The distillery is built with top notch material and architecture composition for a visually pleasing and inviting space for thirsty visitors. The buildings are a mix of modern design and old rickhouse vibes, with grassy yards that fill exterior space for a setting to enjoy a dram while overlooking the harbor.
A 22,000 sq. ft. building holds a handmade, 40ft. mirror finish copper still by Vendome Copper, three tasting rooms, a full service restaurant and a retail shop. A separate building is also on site, at 27,000 sq. ft. that is their processing building for a bottling and labeling line, barrel filler, and ten 1,000-gallon proofing and gauging tanks.
The whiskey that is made here (distilled or finished) is in the Maryland Rye style, one with a rich history that was lost, but Sagamore is bringing it back. Maryland was once at the top of the whiskey game, specifically with rye whiskey, and by 1912 there were more than 40 distilleries in the state. This fell away over time but now, years later, thanks to Sagamore and others, Maryland is making a come back by establishing Maryland Rye once again.
For the whiskey I’m reviewing here, Sagamore Spirit Sherry Finish Rye, it is an expression that’s part of the distillery’s Reserve Series. Initially a 4 year aged straight rye, it is then aged an additional additional 18 months in 132-gallon PX sherry barrels.
Sagamore Sherry Cask Finish Rye (image via Sagamore)
Vital Stats: 106 proof. 4-year old straight rye whiskey that spent an additional 18 months in PX sherry barrels. At least 51% rye in the mash bill. $94.99 for a 750ml bottle.
Appearance: In the early misty lighting, a blushing tawny liquid swirls around in my Glencairn glass. Like awakening in the mornings, the legs are slow to emerge. It charms me to take the next step, a smell and a taste. I happily oblige.
Nose: Upon initial aroma entrance, it’s a fresh pack of Fig Newtons being ripped open. Other dark fruits like black cherry and raisins join in on the celebration. Chocolate covered walnuts reveal itself as I sit longer with it. Remarkable that a high proof whiskey would have a buttery and soft sensation on the nose, but then again, having spent 18 months in PX sherry barrels sure soothes it.
Palate: The high proof shows itself as the initial sip is abrupt and spicy, especially after having such a gentle a soft connection on the nose. But of course, with time and with each sip, a velvety mouthfeel enters your senses and then slowly dries out the palate. Then I pick up on a cinnamon greeting with a fruity farewell. Similar to a hot toddy, there is heat from the spices, with also a touch of ginger and an orange peel that balances and rounds out the tasting adventure.
To my surprise, the citrus conclusion to end the journey is not a lengthy one, but it does leave you yearning for another sip.
Whiskey Review: Sagamore Spirit Sherry Finish Rye
I have yet to find a sherry finish whiskey I didn’t appreciate, but Sagamore’s sherry finish bursts through as a memorable one.
Moriah Hilden is Vice President of Women Who Whiskey Portland Chapter and the first American to complete the Whisky Trek in Appenzell, Switzerland. Her love for whiskey was unexpected - a life changing moment in a micro bar, in the heart of Kyoto, Japan, quickly sparked her curiosity for the...