Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Sagamore Spirit Distiller's Select Straight Rye Whiskey Finished in Armagnac Casks

- $80
- 113 Proof
- 4 years
- Finished 3 years, 1 month
- Indiana

This is one of those bottles that somehow went under the radar at least among the social media community of bourbon lovers/chasers.  That said, among my personal group of bourbon-loving friends, everyone who has tried this bottle has loved this bottle, has purchased their own bottle, and in a few cases, purchased multiple backups. 

This is a 4 year MGP rye that Sagamore then finished in Armagnac barrels. Now, that in and of itself is not novel or any reason to bat an eye. What's unique about this rye is the incredible length of time that it sat finishing in those Armagnac barrels. Usually I see barrels finished for anywhere from 3 months to 9 months. This one, though, was finished for 3 years and 1 month! That's an incredibly long finishing period, but here, it paid off!!

The nose was full of rich notes of molasses and raisin and dates. It also had a bread-like note to it, as well as an earthy, nutty note to it. It kind of reminded me of pecan pie (a must have at any Thanksgiving meal in my household).  There was also a light cinnamon spice to it, telling me that the rye wasn't completely buried by the Armagnac finish, and was still able to stand up on its own.

The Armagnac finish was immediately noticeable from the first sip. That influence was strong, but not overly done by any means. It was just as nutty and rich as the nose would indicate. I got the figs and raisins that I got off the nose, along with that nutty note. In a way it reminded me of bread pudding.

I also got that pecan pie note that I got off the nose. However, the sweet element wasn't so much of a molasses note, but rather sweet honey and caramel. Again, I feel like this is where the rye still held its own despite the extra-long finishing period. It even had a graham cracker flavor to complement those sweet notes and really round out that pecan pie note.

There was also the lightest salinity that I noticed, and when paired with the rich raisin and fig notes, reminded me a bit of bacon-wrapped dates. It sounds weird, but if you've ever had bacon wrapped dates, they have a sweet and rich and salty quality to them that makes for an amazing appetizer. As weird as it seems, I got a bit of that here, and it was delicious!

This rye also had a nice, oily texture which provided for a long finish that coated my mouth in those same rich, dark fruit notes. The fig and raisin was there, but there was also a sort of bright and flavorful blackberry note that came through. That was complemented by that cinnamon spice in a way that had me diving back for each next sip.

I wish I had been wise and purchased as many bottles of this stuff as I could. Unfortunately I'm not finding it anywhere any more. This was fantastic, and that extra long finishing did everything right by what was likely a very solid MGP rye to begin with.

Grade: A+

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