Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Gunpowder Rye Whiskey (ME)

So, I was in Kennebunkport, Maine, in the grill room of The Colony Hotel, a classic old Grand Dame of the New England inn world. And while scanning their bar for something to try, I spied a bottle of Gunpowder Rye from New England Distilling.

According to Ned Wright, the owner/master distiller:
"Our whiskeys and gin are distilled from grain grown in New England and the Midwest, our rum from Caribbean molasses, and we ferment our wash with yeast harvested from Maine Beer Company. 

At the heart of New England Distilling is a custom designed, hand-made copper pot-still. The design of the still allows us to produce robust whiskeys and rums alongside clean, crisp gin. The still is heated with direct fire which creates more caramelizing reactions in the pot leading to a more complex, robust spirit. The spirit leaves the pot and passes through two thumpers, driving the proof up and picking up flavor compounds on its way to the worm where it is cooled and condensed back into a liquid. The spirit is collected as it leaves the worm, and matured in oak barrels or, as with our Ingenium Gin, allowed to rest a while and get its wits about it before bottling.

We traveled to Maryland to rescue several racks from the last standing rick house of the Sherwood Distillery and put them back to work. Now, our barrels rest on the same racks as those my great grandfather laid down."

There re two styles of rye: Monongahela and Baltimore/Maryland. Monongahela style is 100% rye. Baltimore/Maryland style is a minimum of 51% rye (or more) but mixed with other grains. Purists prefer Monongahela. But champions of Baltimore/Maryland champions counter that the other grains can offer more complexity and some smoothness. I have been a fan of both styles.

Gunpowder Rye Whiskey is made from beer brewed from local grains. It's distilled in small batches in a traditional copper pot still. Gunpowder is a  Maryland style rye. Lots of toasty malt flavor and lovely floral, spicy pop! There are lovely notes of vanilla and mocha, with a smooth caramel coating. Great lingering finish. One of my new favorite ryes on the market! 

Great job Ned Wright and the group!!!!