Maryland’s Sagamore Spirit is an exemplar of America’s craft whiskey scene. Having begun their whiskey production journey with sourced distillate, they’ve recently turned the corner and begun releasing products they distilled themselves. Sagamore Spirit’s new 5 year-old bottled in bond rye whiskey is a blend of two rye mashbills that showcases what the future will hold for the bold young distillery founded by former Under Armor CEO Kevin Plank and Bill McDermond.
I was recently fortunate enough to visit the Baltimore based distillery where I was given a tour by their President Brian Treacy who made it clear that the brand has been forward-facing from the start. The plan was always to get their start with the use of sourced whiskey, but all the while they’ve been laying down their own distillate which the brand has periodically teased the public with via their Penny’s Proof program. Dating back to 2019, Sagamore Spirit began releasing their 100% Maryland distilled straight rye whiskeys under the Penny’s Proof banner and in late 2022 that project finally culminated in the national release of the expression we’ll be considering today, their 5-year-old Bottled in Bond Rye.
On the nose this whiskey is strikingly lively and loaded with fruity notes of apricot and blood orange along honeyed mint tea. Each of these notes is crisp and distinct without taking the sparse and underdeveloped turn that some young whiskeys tend to show. Instead there’s an underlying inviting warmth that immediately entices.
Once that initial sip is taken there’s an impressive continuation of the nosing experience to the palate where the crisp fruit notes again take center stage, though they’re joined by bits of brown sugar and vanilla extract. The flavor profile is overall very light and engages the palate at the perfect proof to maintain a balance between complexity and easy-sipping enjoyability. With a reasonable asking price of $11 per year of age, and the promise of 100% Maryland distilled whiskey finally fulfilled, it seems clear that Sagamore Spirit’s Bottled in Bond Rye 5 Years Old is an expression that American whiskey fans can readily enjoy at present while also indicating a strong potential for the future.
A- / $55 / sagamorespirit.com