Friday, February 17, 2017

Otis Gibbs - Mount Renraw and Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey

I've been following folkster Otis Gibbs since hearing The Darker Side of Me - a song I was convinced was done by Johnny Cash. This year Gibbs released his seventh album, Mount Renraw, which includes similarly meaningful songs - simply performed but complex in thought. The mid section is the strength of this album starting with Sputnik Monroe - another Johnny Cash style ballad. This song tells the story of wrestler Roscoe Monroe Brumbaugh who single handily desegregated sporting events in Memphis. One night he refused to wrestle unless the black patrons could sit anywhere and not just in the balcony.  Empire Hole honors all working fathers  and contains the enshrining line:  "there's a graveyard my Daddy now calls home". The song also references how Gibss' native Indiana was the source for the limestone used to build the Empire State Building (Indiana limestone is the nation's stone as it was also used in building the Pentagon, Washington National Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, the Biltmore Estate, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Ellis Island -- among many other notable structures). The album continues with Blues for Diablo and its haunting fiddle and 800 Miles with the soothing fiddle and simple guitar.


I paired Mount Renraw with the Maryland produced Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey ($40) - a working man's whiskey despite the fact that the distillery is owned by Maryland native and Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank. Eventually the rye will be sourced from Plank's Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Maryland and distilled in Baltimore but for now they are bottling from the infamous MGP of Indiana located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. The 4 year aged whiskey is a blend of "two rye recipes (one that is high rye-based and another that is low rye-based)" and is cut to 83 percent using Indiana limestone rich water. The nose is noticeably spicy and caramel which carries over into the middle mouth where it remains through the smooth finish.  A very nice pairing of music and rye whiskey.

Update: The post was revised to state that the Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey is aged 4 years instead of 2 years.
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