Sagamore Spirit Calvados Finish is the next release in the Baltmore, MD distillery’s growing line of finished rye whiskeys, including (in no particular order) the Moscatel (a very sweet dessert wine), Vintner’s (finished using multiple types of wine), Cognac, Port, and Double Oak. For the Calvados Finish, the standard rye whiskey was finished for at least 11 months in Calvados barrels, blended together, and aged for another 9 months in low-rye American oak barrels. Technically, this rye whiskey is double finished, a fun extra fact.
I don’t know much about Calvados, but in short, it’s a type of peach or apple brandy specifically from Normandy, France. It’s similar to other regional French brandies such as Cognac, grape brandy from Cognac, France, and Armangac, grape brandy from the Armangac region. Given that I like apple cider (with or without alcohol), this is a promising start.
Twenty months is a lot of extra time to put into finishing a whiskey, but Sagamore Spirit definitely has been at the forefront of finishing to create unique and interesting whiskeys. Doing a quick Google search shows that this is may be one of the first American whiskeys finished in Calvados. The only other one I can think of is One Eight’s Untitled No. 9, a wheated bourbon finished in Calvados casks. Calvados finished whiskey is very novel and unknown to me, so let’s find out if it adds new and wonderful dimensions in this Sagamore Spirit Calvados Finish Rye Whiskey review.
Thank you to Sagamore Spirit for generously providing this sample. All opinions are still my own.
* April 2020 update: Sagamore Spirit Calvados Finish won double gold at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.