Blackwater Distilling of Kent Island, Maryland Taste

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Recently, I visited the Distillery and Tasting Room at Blackwater Distilling in Kent Island. Not only is Blackwater, the brand behind the vastly popular, Sloop Betty Vodka and Picaroon Rum series, they are also beginning to experiment and produce excellent, whiskey in small batch formats, they call one-offs.


Founders and brothers, Christopher and Jonathan Cook, along with distiller, Andy Keller, are enjoying exploring how various wood finishing barrels leave their tasty mark on the aging process of whiskey. After my tasting tour, I left with a purchase of Bottling No. 2 rye whiskey and delved into the background and science behind the booze.


Measured at 86 proof/43% ABV, bottling No. 2 begins with a 50/50 blend of young Indiana rye whiskey and corn whiskey, distilled to 135 proof and housed in new, charred white oak barrels for just six months.  The spirit nevertheless underwent a series of manmade changes to the aging environment to "accelerate" the aging process, resulting in a whiskey that had the composition of something closer to 18 months in the barrel.


The corn whiskey is distilled in Canada to 160 proof and stored in used white oak barrels for three years.


The blend of whiskies is then stored in a Napa Valley Port cask for ten months before bottling. The Napa port gives the whiskey a deep ruby hue, with notes of sweet, dried fruit and pleasing tannins that help to balance the peppery notes of the young rye.


The floral notes of port is obvious and something that both wine and whskey lovers alike should enjoy. And, I say this company is Maryland based with brimming with Maryland taste.



Patti Neumann is  Fouonder of Sip & Swirl Society & Publisher of, an award-winning blog .

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