Following up on its recent Port-finished rye, Baltimore-based Sagamore Spirit again takes a blend of MGP-sourced ryes and finishes the whiskey in a unique barrel, in this case, one that previously held Cognac. The rye starts off spending four years in new, charred oak barrels, then gets an extra 8 months in the Cognac casks. Sagamore does not elaborate on the distillery which provided the wood.
Let’s give it a try.
A was expecting a flavor bomb, but the nose is surprisingly indistinct, with the wood doing most of the heavy lifting. It’s simply a bit closed off, though notes of cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper eventually come through, with a menthol-laced tobacco note laced through it. The palate, fortunately, offers a much different experience, immediately sweet and fruit-forward, with notes of raisins and apricots against a core of vanilla caramels. The whiskey is tinged with licorice and incense, giving it a sultry and exotic character. Notes of shortbread, cherry pits, and a whiff of cigar smoke inform a rather sharp finish.
All told it’s not my favorite expression from Sagamore to date, though it’s certainly got some level of charm. My suspicion is that a few more years of primary aging before it went into the Cognac cask would have rounded out some of the whiskey’s tougher elements and given the finished product a clearer sense of balance.
101 proof. Reviewed: Batch #2AB.