Maryland Straight Bourbon Whiskey
DISTILLER – Fiore Distillery, Pylesville, Maryland
ABV – 45% (90 proof)
AGE – 2 years in new oak barrels
PRICE – $35
AROMA: nutty, very mild smell overall with just a tingle of alcohol in the nose
TASTE: creamy mouth-feel with a buttery, vanilla flavor
FINISH: dry, slight woodiness. Very short finish. No lingering taste.
MASHBILL: 85% corn, 15% proprietary blend
Review: Maryland Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Fiore Distillery’s Bourbon has a very mild taste and is considered “drinkable.” With a $35 price point, it’s understandable that it has a strong following in Maryland’s upper northeast corner.
Our tasters were Jack, an Irish whiskey fan who’s traveled to Ireland several times, and Mike who grew up in Kentucky’s bourbon territory. Both went to Kentucky in 2021 to celebrate Jack’s birthday.
Jack found Fiore has a smooth beginning and a light earthy finish. I suggested a slight leatheriness in the finish.
“It’s certainly more appealing to me than leather,” Jack responded. “I can’t tell what it is, but it’s not a bad flavor.”
Fiore is a clear, copper color when poured into the glass. Jack immediately caught a nutty smell, but then couldn’t capture it again. Mike got a bit of an alcohol tingle.
They both enjoyed the taste, but it didn’t linger to be savored.
“Whatever flavor is there at the beginning is gone,” said Jack.
“Like quick,” Mike agreed.
This bourbon whiskey is aged for two years in new oak barrels at a Level 4 char, which is a bit higher than many Maryland whiskeys. The additional charcoal in the barrel may have something to do with cleaning out the alcohol taste.
Adding water didn’t seem to make a difference with the flavor, nor did it water down the bourbon.
“And I thought I put too much water in!” Mike declared with astonishment.
On the upside, you can drink it with an ice ball and the flavor would stay the same.
“Wouldn’t hit ‘ya as hard,” Mike said in his heavy Kentucky accent.
Jack wouldn’t use Fiore bourbon with a mixer. “(Fiore) is so light on its own that if you mix it you might lose what whiskey flavor it does have,” Jack said.
Mike agreed, “If it’s not broke, let’s not go fix it.”
Overall, both said that Fiore bourbon is light and uncomplicated. But Mike added, “If I saw this in a store, I’d want it in my cabinet. It’s a good-tasting bourbon.”
Jack is a rye whiskey drinker and said the mild flavor means he’d probably get bored after one glass, but added “I’m not going to throw it out.”
Mike‘s go-to whiskey is Bulleit Bourbon, while Blanton’s Bourbon is his favorite.
Jack‘s go-to whiskey is Jamison Irish Whiskey, while Sazerac Rye is his favorite.
About Fiore Distillery
Fiore Distillery originally started as a destination winery. It’s smack in the middle of farm country where Maryland turns into Pennsylvania.
When Maryland law changed making it easier for distilling, Fiore became one of the first Maryland distilleries since prohibition. Their first products were Grappa and Limoncello. Fiore released the first rye in October 2015, and the first bourbon in June 2016.
The distillery started with smaller, 35-gallon barrel experiments and has done well enough to use full-sized 60-gallon barrels.
Fiore has new products throughout the year and expects to have canned cocktails out in the summer of 2022.
Maryland Straight Bourbon Whiskey SCORE
Rating – 3.5 out of 5
ChesapeakeLiving Spirits Scoring
- Never again. I can’t untaste that.
- Better blended into a cocktail
- Not for me, but a nice whiskey
- Would buy
- Excellent! Where’s that bottle?