For their Spring 2023 Reserve Series release, Sagamore Spirit is bringing back a well-received and well-aged rye that originally debuted in 2021 with limited distribution. While some of the distillery’s core products, like the Bottled in Bond, have been made with entirely house-distilled spirit, this 8-year-old rye is a product of the Baltimore distillery’s earlier, contract distilling years, produced at MGP in Indiana. In addition to carrying a slightly lower proof from its predecessor, this one will also be more widely available across the distillery’s distribution footprint. I really enjoyed the 2021 release. Let’s see how the sequel compares, shall we?
On the nose, this is a somewhat woodier expression but pleasantly so. In place of the former’s ginger and pie spice, this latest rye showcases dark chocolate-covered cherries and a bit of wintergreen with a dry, graham cracker edge. Damp wood and sweet sawdust notes build with time in the glass, and the chocolate notes turn lighter and drier, almost like cocoa powder. The palate is somewhat less punchy than the first release but bears the same rounded, oily texture and a similar well-balanced profile of spice and citrus. Notes of juicy orange peel and toffee give way to gently warming black pepper that becomes more candied ginger as the finish arrives with waves of cola, baking spice, and soft oak. Good thing there’s more of it to go around this time.