To say that Sagamore Spirit rolled out the red carpet for our barrel pick would be an understatement.  We started off at Sagamore Farm, a former Vanderbilt estate, and got introduced to a few thoroughbreds that were hanging around.  We toured their 500+ acres where all of the grains for their whiskey are grown.  The bottle name, COWS Catcher in the Rye, is a nod to the endless fields of rye – and a fun double entendre.  The spring that serves as the water source for the whiskey is at the farm, and they transport the water to the distillery.  We did our barrel pick at the farm after our tour.  We then had dinner and drinks that evening.  The next day we toured the distillery and took in an Orioles game.

But let’s get down to what matters most – the taste of the pick.  Make sure you put in the comments any bottles that you would like me to review.

NAME – Sagamore Spirit Single Barrel, Barrel Proof – COWS Catcher in the Rye

PROOF – 110

AGE – 7 years

COLOR – Auburn (1.5 on the Whiskey Magazine Color Chart)

NOSE – Raw honey, vanilla, cracked walnut, dried grains, cinnamon.

TASTE – The honey, vanilla, and nuttiness hit up front for a sweet start.  Baking spices and cinnamon hit mid-palate with the nuttiness lingering.  There is a hint of bubble gum that emerges as well.

FINISH – The rye makes this a longer finish.  The baking spices and cinnamon carry through the finish, but the honey and vanilla provide a continuing sweet note.

REVIEW – I describe the first COWS Sagamore pick as “Cinnamon Toast Crunch” cereal.  Sticking with the cereal theme, I describe this COWS pick as cinnamon “Honey Nut Cheerios.” It is a very enjoyable pour and while the rye makes its presence known, it does not create any harshness on the palate or the finish.

FINAL COMMENTS – Sagamore Spirit is a rye whiskey, but very much a bourbon drinker’s rye. This in large part is due to its blended mash bill for the barrel selects:  a high rye 95/5 (MGP) and their low rye (Maryland Rye) 51/45/4.  This is a pour that can be easily enjoyed by those in both the bourbon and the rye camps.

A number of people who tried the first Sagamore pick regretted not getting a bottle – don’t be that person on this pick.