Here at The Whiskey Wash we cover the launch of new whiskies, be it American or otherwise, on almost a daily basis. Many of them are purely passion plays, the idea of one small entrepreneur’s dream of distilling or bottling something which hopefully will gain them some notoriety and claim in the ever evolving whiskey market. What happens though when you are already a billionaire in another industry and decide to jump into craft whiskey as a new venture? That’s something to think about as you read about the new Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey and its backer Kevin Plank, the billionaire founder and CEO of Under Armour.
Plank, according to the Baltimore Business Journal, decided some three years ago he wanted to develop whiskey which was touched by water from his Sagamore Farm “by time the Preakness came around in 2016.” Well, that time is now, and his new sourced (for now, see below) whiskey is here, taking the form of something which has been initially distilled and aged in Indiana, according to Baltimore news sources.
While you might think at first, oh great, more MGP juice, things seem to be a little different with this particular rye whiskey animal. The distilling team behind it took two different straight rye whiskies – a high rye and a low rye – and blended them with “spring-fed water” from Plank’s previously mentioned farm to create what’s described as “an 83 proof Maryland-style rye whiskey.” The water, said to be the same which “fuels [the farm’s] champion thoroughbreds,” was trucked some 22 miles from the “limestone spring” at the farm to the current bottling facility before being used to cut to proof the whiskey blend.
The resulting Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey, of which we have official tasting notes at the end of this story for, is now being released into the local markets for around $40 a bottle. Its temporary bottling home will be replaced by a more permanent, super fancy distillery by year’s end, again according to local news sources. It has been reported, at that point, that all aspects of production, ranging from distilling through bottling, will happen at the new facility.
Sagamore and Plank, by the way, did get it all done in time for Preakness. They are, in fact, a sponsor of the upcoming race. Their new whiskey also joins another recently launched local whiskey brand from Old Line Spirits.
“We couldn’t be more excited to launch and bring the tradition of rye whiskey back to Maryland,” said Brian Treacy, President of Sagamore Spirit, in a statement. “We are proud to make spirits worthy of our state’s distilling heritage.”
“Our water and our mash bill make us unlike anything else on the market,” added co-founder Bill McDermond. “We’ve waited patiently for the spirit to age to perfection. We believe it’s reached a quality that’s both complex and captivating.”
- Color: A fall bonfire glow-amber with gold undertones
- Aroma: Complex and captivating aromas of warm cinnamon, vanilla bean, honey, and nutmeg.
- Palate: Smooth mouth-feel, with caramel and molasses up front and peppery baking spices on the end.
- Finish: A refreshing and zesty rye spiciness.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...