Two high-profile Maryland alcohol producers have come together for a new collaboration.
In the coming weeks, bottles of Port Finish Rye Whiskey — made by aging Sagamore Spirit’s Signature Rye Whiskey in wine barrels, some of which were provided by Boordy Vineyards in Baltimore County — will start to hit local shelves.
Bottles of the limited release will cost $69.99, and will be available at Sagamore’s Port Covington distillery and liquor stores where Sagamore products are regularly sold, according to Sagamore brand director Rachel Fontana.
Max Hames, Sagamore’s distillery operations manager, said the product represents a natural progression for his brand’s “limited-time only” series, which has previously released other wine-barrel-aged spirits such as the Moscatel Barrel Finished Whiskey and Vintner’s Finish.
Sagamore’s distillers were encouraged by the flavors other wine barrels imparted on the whiskey for those products, so when Boordy put a call out asking if any distillers were interested in some Port barrels, Sagamore didn’t hesitate.
“We thought it was a fantastic opportunity to work with somebody close by, and really be able to trace and do sensory analysis on the barrels we were going to put all this whiskey in,” Hames said.
Sagamore obtained nine 60-gallon barrels from Boordy and used 41 other barrels from a Philadelphia company that imported them from Portugal, Hames said. After aging the whiskey for nine months, Sagamore blended all of the barrels’ contents together for a consistent taste, Hames said.
Phin Deford, vice president of Boordy, said the sweeter, fruity flavors come from Boordy’s wood, while the other barrels provided spicier notes. Hames said he was very satisfied with the taste.
“Being able to get those dried cherry and plum notes out of the whiskey, and letting them come to the front really worked well,” Hames said.
Boordy usually ages its Port — a typically dark red fortified wine — for two to three years in oak barrels whose wood came from France, Deford said. He said he’s noticed more alcohol producers using wine barrels for one-off products.
“You are seeing distilleries and breweries trying to use red wine or Port-aged barrels just to add some different flavor notes,” Deford said.
While Boordy won’t be able to sell the Port Finish Rye Whiskey at its Hydes facility due to license restrictions, the two companies will come together to celebrate the release on Sept. 26 at the vineyard from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets, soon to be for sale for $45 at sagamorespirit.com, include a flight of wines, a taste of the new whiskey and light appetizers, according to Fontana.
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