Sagamore Spirit Port Finish Rye Review

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The Sagamore Spirit Distillery in South Baltimore is known for its rye whiskeys made in the old Maryland style. Their Sagamore Spirit Port Finish Rye, first released in 2019, is aged 6 years in high char new American oak barrels, and then finished an additional 3 years in port barrels. It has a complex flavor profile, well suited for cold weather and the holiday season. Read our review to learn more!
Sagamore Spirit
Port Finish Rye
Reserve Series
103 Proof
MSRP: $99.99

Please enjoy our Sagamore Spirit Port Finish Rye review!

The Sagamore Spirit Distillery

The Sagamore Spirit Distillery is located in South Baltimore, in the newly developed Baltimore Peninsula neighborhood, a short distance from downtown Baltimore and some popular attractions. They produce rye whiskeys in the old Maryland style, using a blend of two rye mash bills, proofed down with spring water from Sagamore Farm.

History of Maryland Rye Whiskey

It turns out that long before bourbon was our nation’s spirit, rye played a very dominant role. And, not coincidentally, Maryland, along with Pennsylvania (and to some degree, New York), was one of the states producing the majority of early American rye whiskey. However, rye whiskey significantly declined in popularity after World War II. It was only in recent years that rye whiskey distilling experienced a revival in Maryland, with Sagamore Spirit Distillery playing a major role.

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Sagamore Spirit Port Finish Rye Wins World’s Best Rye

Sagamore Spirit Port Finish Rye was first released back in 2019. At that time, it won a Double Gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and was crowned World’s Best Rye Whiskey. Since that time, it has only been released twice; once in 2022 as a distillery exclusive, and now, in late 2023, at the distillery as well as in select markets nationwide.

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A 6 Year Old Rye Finished For 3 Years In Port Barrels

This release of Sagamore Spirit Port Finish Rye begins with rye whiskey aged 6 years in high char new American oak barrels. As with all of Sagamore Spirit’s ryes, it is a blend of a high rye and a low rye mash bill. The rye is then finished an additional 3 years in port barrels from Maryland’s Boordy Vineyards. This is a bit different from the initial 2019 release, which was finished for just 6 months in port wine barrels from both Portugal and Boordy Vineyards.

Sagamore Spirit Port Finish Rye Review - Bottle
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Tasting Notes – Sagamore Spirit Port Finish Rye Review

Let’s taste it:

🛏 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn

👉🏻Nose: Port wine, raspberry, sweet dried cherries, caramel, floral notes like roses, hints of bitter orange peel, rye spices like cloves, with a hint of anise later on; oak & cedar which gradually become more pronounced; mild alcohol
👉🏻Taste: Port wine, dried cherries & relatively subtle rye spices; medium dark caramel; mild sweetness but some tannins, too
👉🏻Finish: Fruits become more tangy and the mouthfeel becomes more dry; there’s building white pepper spice and more noticeable dry oak; rye spices linger as well; long finish with a moderate warmth

Sagamore Port Finish Rye Has A Flavor Evolution

The flavors truly evolve with each sip and sniff. Initially, it is difficult not to notice the port. However, as I acclimate, I can pick out more singular fruit flavors, like raspberries and sweet dried cherries. There’s some medium dark caramel in there, as well. Later on, the rye spices become increasingly noticeable, with some orange peel and oak, as well. Similar flavors continue into the taste, while the finish becomes a bit more tangy, dry and spicy. Long afterwards, there is a bit of an older wine soaked wood flavor that remains on my tongue, but in a good way.

Three Years Is A Long Time

Sagamore Spirit Port Finish Rye spends three years in port barrels, which is quite a long time. I was initially a bit concerned that the port would become overpowering after all that time. However, my worries were for naught. The port is definitely noticeable, don’t get me wrong. But, rye has strong flavors itself, which is why I often prefer it to bourbon in finished whiskeys. Also, with each sip, the port becomes less noticeable, while the other flavors grow. And it all ends in a nice contrast of white pepper spice and dry oak.


Overall, Sagamore Spirit Port Finish Rye is a very enjoyable whiskey. It is also perfect for cold weather and the holiday season. As I sip it and enjoy its warming finish, I can almost picture a nice toasty fire with “stockings all hung in a row”. As someone who is generally not a huge fan of red wine finished whiskeys, I can honestly say that this one is not overdone, and I quite like it. But, don’t fret. If you are someone who does love red wine finishes, there are still plenty of port and fruit flavors to satisfy your cravings.

Have you had any of the Sagamore Spirit Port Wine Finished Ryes? What did you think? Cheers!🥃

We hope you have enjoyed our Sagamore Spirit Port Finish Rye review! If you would like to learn more about the distillery, then read our Sagamore Spirit Distillery Tour Review. Or perhaps you would like to read about another Sagamore Spirit rye in our Sagamore Spirit 6 Year Rye Review.

This sample was graciously provided by the company for my review. Thank you!

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