The Baltimore Whiskey Co. recently introduced a host of new flavors to the local spirits scene this fall with the release of three amaros. The new offerings will expand the products offered by the distillery, which began operating in 2015 and so far has produced four year-round spirits.
American-made amaro is “still a very small niche” that is growing, co-owner Max Lents said. He and the distillery’s other owners are fans of the herbal liqueur, and wanted to create a homegrown version. “From when we opened, we were kind of amaro enthusiasts and always had some bottles sitting around,” he said, so “we started poking around on it at a personal level.”
Developing the amaro recipes took about a year of work, with multiple test batches and revisions, Lents said. The spirit comes in three flavors: Szechuan pepper, coffee, and fernet, which has a bitter, minty taste.
Baltimore Whiskey Co.’s other products include Shot Tower Gin, Charles Street Apple Brandy, 1904 Liqueur, a limited-release apple brandy, along with a unique pechuga and a rye whiskey.
Baltamaro Coffee Liqueur (70 proof)
Visual: Medium orange.
Nose: Heavily herbal and spiced. The coffee scent is comprised of high top notes. Engaging and unusual.
Taste: Somewhat sweet, with notes of orange and clove. The coffee comes through well, with a deep permeating richness and natural flavor.
Finish: Quite long with softer bitter notes tying into the coffee fade.
Overall: Excellent and a perfect after dinner amaro to drink neat or on the rocks. This also makes for a fantastic cocktail amaro with rye, bourbon, dark rum, and lighter tequilas. This is an ingenious addition to the amaro world.
GSN Rating: A
Baltamaro Szechuan Liqueur (70 proof)
Visual: Bright yellow.
Nose: Grassy herbality with a slight lemon hint. Hovering over this base is a light wave of peppery heat.
Taste: Medium sweetness with a light herbal touch of lemongrass and ginger. However, the heat kicks in quickly and while not overwhelming, gives a beautifully subdued warming effect.
Finish: Medium long with the lasting impression being one of cinnamon/ginger/red pepper heat layered over dried herb.
Overall: Wow! Another winner and this one is totally balanced in every way. We were expecting a blast of pepper that would obliterate everything else. Instead, this is a subtle and very unique amaro which is just begging for use in cocktails. Try this with light rums in a tiki styled concoction, or with vodka and reposado tequilas.
GSN Rating: A
Baltamaro Fernet (100 proof)
Visual: Darkening orange.
Nose: A massive dose of spiced orange with lighter notes of spearmint.
Taste: There’s a lot going on in this one. The higher proof brings sharper and crisper herbs into play. Not as intensely minty as many fernets on the market, but still quite bitter and rugged. As the initial flavor wears on, more bitterness creeps out and the menthol kicks in on the front palate.
Finish: Very long with a bittermint finish.
Overall: A good effort that seems to lack intensity. We liked the overall bitterness, but were looking for something that resembled the traditional fernets we’re used to. This makes for an interesting rinse in a Sazerac or as a shot to celebrate the end of a shift.
GSN Rating: B
For more information go to: The Baltimore Whiskey Co.