At the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this brand new Sagamore Spirit Rye Cask Strength received a unanimous Double Gold medal.
In the early 1800s, Maryland farmers were known to use rye as a cover crop. Its fibrous and sturdy nature kept soil healthy, protecting the land from erosion, not to mention it made a great quality whiskey. Rye whiskey production also proved to be more profitable than selling the raw grain. After the spring harvest, the grains were distilled, and rye whiskey became the unofficial spirit of Maryland.
Sagamore Spirits is reminiscent of these early days of Maryland distilling, paying homage to this era with a uniquely crafted spirit. Maryland rye whiskeys are historically smoother. Kevin Plank, a Maryland resident, known for his monumentally successful sportswear brand Under Armour, is the visionary behind this new whiskey company, Sagamore Spirit. In their early stages, the majority of production went into blends for other companies; they currently own their private distillery outfitted with a brand new visitor center in Maryland.
Sagamore produces a range of four all American Rye Whiskies. Historically, Maryland Rye Whiskey is a much smoother whiskey than its Pennsylvanian and Kentucky counterparts, harboring creamy tastes and textures from the calcium rich waters of Maryland limestone.
This Sagamore rye is meticulously crafted. Each batch is scrutinizingly analyzed for consistency in aroma, flavor, and texture. The spirit is crafted from two distinct mash bills of rye, corn and malted barley, that yields a signature bold flavor profile. The first is high in rye, with a bit of corn and malted barley, a ratio that yields flavors like baking spices and fruit. In the second mash bill, rye plays second fiddle, allowing the corn and malted barely to become more prominent. This ratio yields smoother and sweeter spirit. The two recipes are distilled, and aged separately, creating a bold, approachable rye.
The spirit is crafted from water that flows from a Spring House, built in 1909, at Sagamore Farm. Fed from a limestone aquifer, this water is pure and naturally filtered; a crisp, cool, calcium-rich liquid that is perfect for making whiskey.
“The spring remains at 52 degrees all year long, and Maryland farmers chilled their milk bottles in the bubbling pool during hot summers. This water is so essential to our rye whiskey; we drive it 22 miles from the farm to our distillery in Baltimore. We store the water in our iconic 125-foot water tower until we prepare to bottle our Rye Whiskey. This spring-fed water imparts a smoothness to our Signature 83-proof spirit, and a subtle creaminess in our Cask Strength Rye” (producer).
Expertly analyzed by Sagamore distillers to ensure each batch of cooked mash reaches the correct consistency, the proprietary mash is fermented in nine 6,500 gallon fermentation tanks for anywhere from three to five days, yielding Distillers Beer of 8% alcohol. The beer is then distilled through their 40-foot-mirrored finished copper column still.
The excess “stillage” grains are collected and distributed to local farmers as pig feed. The resultant spirit is then distilled twice more through two copper doublers and then aged for over four years in handmade, level 3 char, new barrels, cut from American White Oak trees, seasoned for six months, and then hooped and charred by a Cooper.
Fluctuating Maryland temperatures creates a dynamic aging process imparting flavors of caramel, vanilla, and baking spices onto the spirit. At the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, this brand new Sagamore Spirit Rye Cask Strength received a unanimous Double Gold medal. Bottled at 57% ABV.
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114 (57% ABV)
Sagamore Spirit Distillery
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Full-bodied with notes of dark chocolate on the nose. The palate is bold with spontaneous flavors of honeysuckle and citrus with a touch of caramel. The finish is bold with notes of black pepper and vanilla.