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Sagamore Spirit Cask Strength Rye

Baltimore Company Sourced Cask Strength MGPI Rye

6 588

@VictorReview by @Victor

12th Apr 2017

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  • Nose
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  • Taste
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  • Finish
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  • Balance
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  • Overall
    88

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Under Armour Company billionaire CEO Kevin Plank has ambitions to distill rye whiskey and to re-establish the traditions of Baltimore, Maryland rye whiskey. Sagamore Spirit has a distillery, but the currently sold Sagamore Spirit rye whiskey is spirit sourced from MGPI distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. While the reviewed bottle is bottled at Cask Strength, I read that there is some Maryland water used to dilute the currently sourced standard 83 proof Sagamore Spirit Rye. I am always amazed at how strong the impulse is for new distillers to come up with some mythologising local BS to sell their whisk(e)ys. The reviewed bottle, # 765 from Batch 1A, is 3 years old, is Cask Strength Straight Rye, has been open for 3 days, and is owned by my sister @Maddie. I liked this batch when my sister and I tasted it at a commercial tasting, and I egged her on to buying a bottle of it. She is a wonderful and generous big sister

Colour: medium caramel, medium for American whiskey. It would be dark for Scotch

Nose: strong intensity in the middle and lower ranges. There are just a very few high pitches available. Like so many other MGPI ryes, this Sagamore Spirit Rye has both dark fruit and spice from rye grain. The fruit is medium in intensity, and lingers omnipresently around the periphery. The spice contains black pepper, cloves, and cassia/cinnamon. There is a sweet caramel backdrop which is unusually strong for a straight rye whiskey. There is also a nice floral element to the nose which reminds me of carnations. This is a little dusty in the style of many Canadian ryes (from the old Seagram's Distillery, no less!), which detracts a little. Overall, this is a very good nose. Water added: 1) raises the pitch, 2) increases sweetness, 3) reduces dustiness, and 4) bundles the flavours. Slightly better with water added. Score: 22.5/25

Taste: very fruity delivery, more so than the fruitiness of the nose. Spicing is still strong, particularly showing black pepper. The cask strength intensity remains. A little sourness joins the dustiness in the mouth. Water added bundles the flavours. Score: 21.5/25

Finish: flavours fade out slowly after a long time. Stays quite fruity and quite spicy. Flavours continue bundled with water added. Score: 21.5/25

Balance: good-very good balance throughout. Score: 21.5/25

Total Sequential Score: 87

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Strength: very strong flavours throughout. Score: 24/25

Quality: very nice rye flavours, except for the dusty element, for which I have never had enthusiasm. The wood flavours are very good. Score: 22/25

Variety: very adequate variety of flavours. Score; 21.5/25

Harmony: very good on the nose; good-very good in the mouth. Score: 22/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 89.5

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Comment: without question my enthusiasm for this particular rye is largely the result of its intensity. When a rye whiskey shows intensely both dark fruit and spice the combination becomes very attractive to me. Many MGPI ryes show both the fruit and spice elements of rye grain, as does this batch of Sagamore Spirit Rye. If the flavours were cleaner, viz. less dusty this whiskey would have rated 3-5 more points from me. As it is, this is a solid enjoyable rye dram. I do hope that Mr. Plank is able to mature whiskey from his own distillery which equals or exceeds the quality of this Midwest Grain Products Ingredients distillery spirit. That is a tall order, because MGPI distillery knows what it is doing

5 comments

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Victor Great review. Could you tell us to which American Rye it is closer. I was also wondering if you have almond and cherry?

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Robert99, for a close comparison US rye? Hhmmm...maybe a somewhat dusty version of Bulleit 95 Rye. I think that if you tasted it you would find both almonds and cherries. I didn't notice almond flavour until you mentioned it. As for cherries, yes, they fit in with the dark fruits present here.

Actually, imagine a barrel strength vatting of 2 parts Bulleit 95 Rye and 1 part Hiram Walker's Special Old Canadian Rye Whisky. This is also pretty similar to Lock, Stock, & Barrel Canadian Rye.

5 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 commented

@Victor Thanks for the answer. I just take a sip of Bulleit 95 Rye to understand your comment and it makes sense. This bottle has been opened for more than 6 months and now I have the candy you are talking about. I remembered that there was some bitterness when it was freshly opened that went away now. I like it more now and that makes me curious about the Sagamore.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@Robert99, that Bulleit 95 Rye of yours will probably be much better still after 2 years open. The fruitiness just seems to get bigger and bigger, especially on the nose.

5 years ago 0

storm1969 commented

Just opened and tasted this. Wow, The intensity is incredible. Probably going to be a month or more before I taste it again. Should get better..

5 years ago 0

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