On a late Friday morning I had the opportunity to visit a local distillery here in Baltimore – Old Line Spirits. Meeting Arch and Mark, touring their new (2015) facilities, and hearing the story of their beginnings was a real treat. The tasting that followed was a even more so – one that left me not wanting to finish the business of the day, but rather start the weekend early.
Arch & Mark are somewhat unique in terms of a start-up in that they bought an distillery/business from a gentleman out in Washington State who was looking to retire. They spent some time mentoring out west, learning his methods/recipes/et al and then packed up and moved everything (including some barrels of whiskey distilled as far back as 2011) back to their home in Maryland.
Since apprenticing with that award-winning artisan distiller, they’ve began their process here by not making any ‘new tweaks’ other than everything that will change in terroir simply from the move. Once they’ve got a consistent handle on that (which should be soon), the tweaks, changes, and creatively that seems bubbling under the surface at Old Line Spirits will come to light.
For now – they’ve got a very enjoyable single malt whiskey, finished in a new, charred oak barrel, which achieves a whiskey experience that straddles the fences between the whiskey worlds old and new. They also have two quality Caribbean rums that lend them selves for both sipping and mixing. For the time being the rums are brought in as a finished spirit, wholly produced in the islands, and brought via their relationships. However, soon they will be using some of their ex-whiskey barrels add a new finish to it – and I for one am looking forward to tasting that and anything else they have in store for the future. I could wax on…but you can either read about them on their website, or better yet if you’re within driving distance, make a trip to visit them yourselves. And if you’re not, they have a handy app on their site that let’s you find places that carry their products.