Meinelschmidt maryland rye Whiskey

DISTILLER –  Meinelschmidt Distillery, Hagerstown, Maryland

ABV –  51.5% (103 proof)

AGE – 6 months in barrel

PRICE – $50


AROMA: Raisin, floral, earthy and faint butterscotch

TASTE: Notes of caramel followed by spice and pepper with a subtle vanilla and flecks of sweetness

FINISH: A distinct black pepper that eases into a smooth vanilla finish

MASHBILL: 65% Maryland rye, 17% corn, and 18% malted barley

Review: Meinelschmidt Maryland rye whiskey

Meinelschmidt’s rye is a young all-star that skips college, bypasses the minors, and goes straight to the bigs. You can taste the budding of a heavy hitter. Is it drinkable? Very!

The six-month old Maryland Rye Whiskey defies expectations. High alcohol content, yet smooth. 

Our tasters were Jack, a rye whiskey fan, and Mike who grew up in Kentucky’s bourbon territory.

The whiskey comes out of the bottle clear, the color of apple juice that shows its youth out of the barrel.

Interestingly, Mike smelled raisins.

“When I first smelled it, I thought fruit,” Mike said, “Then, I thought ‘oh no, that’s RAISINS! It’s right in your face with that.”

Meanwhile, all Jack could smell was the alcohol. His nose couldn’t get past the 103 proof of alcohol.

“I was smelling it before it even got to my nose,” Jack said.

Eventually, when his nose recovered slightly, he picked up a bit of plum.

I got raisins too, but raisins that had been stored in a wooden canister with a bit of maple syrup dribbled on top.

Everyone enjoyed the smooth richness as the rye sloshed around in the mouth.

Jack got dark dried fruits and sweet prunes. Raisins stayed with Mike, but he also picked up chocolate.

This Maryland Rye finishes smooth. Mike described it as earthy.

“That’s actually better than I thought it was going to be,” said Jack.

And that’s how Meinselschmidt’s rye rolls.

“It’s a high proof and it’s not stinging my throat at all,” Jack added.

The rye is there all through the sips, but only as an undercurrent to the sweetness of dark, dried fruits, but when the vanilla and light-sweet wash away, the pepper stays to remind you that this is a rye.

“Yeah, that is good,” Jack said as he let the finish linger as long as it could.

We all found that water opened up the flavors and smoothed it out even more. That’s to be expected with the high alcohol content.

Jack found that the alcohol kept catching his nose when he picked up the glass.

“Then I think I’m not going to like it,” Jack explained. “Then it surprises me with the flavor. It’s different than what my nose is picking up.”

Mike jumped in, “And, every time I pick it up, I get raisin.”

That’s the fun of whiskey. Everyone picks up something different.

Mike noted that it hadn’t been in the barrel long enough for the color to change much. Jack added, “For having been in the barrel for only six months, the complexity of the flavors is there!”

Both Jack and Mike said they’d buy it. Mike would drink it on the rocks, while Jack prefers drinking it straight despite the alcohol smell. He claimed it clears his sinuses as he sips it.

Before ending, Jack said he’d like to see what happens to this Maryland Rye after it’s spent some time in the barrel.

Meinelschmidt is a young distillery. They released some batches early in order to get revenue flowing. Even so, their Maryland Rye got the highest rating so far in our exploration of regional whiskeys. Its youth held it back from a higher score. 

Other barrels are aging away in Meinelschmidt’s unheated and uncooled rack-house in the distillery’s basement to be released in a few years.

Enjoy the young version while waiting to see how it turns out after more aging in the barrel.

Meinelschmidt Maryland Rye Whiskey scored 78 points, winning a Bronze Medal. 


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 meinelschmidt Distillery

Meinelschmidt Distillery

Meinelschmidt Distillery is located in a former Masonic Lodge building in historic downtown Hagerstown, Maryland. 

It has a full-service cocktail bar with tables. The floor in the back section had to be cut away to make room in the basement for the pillar still. It’s enclosed in glass giving visitors a nice view of the brewing area and the basement rack house. 

It’s owned and operated by a Navy veteran and his wife, Cort and Chelsea Meinelschmidt. They handle distilling as a team. 

Meinelschmidt sells Maryland Rye Whiskey, Wheated Whiskey, Cinnamon Flavored Whiskey, and Honey Flavored Whiskey.

The Cask Strength Wheated Whiskey won a Gold Medal in the 2022 Bartender Spirts Awards. 

District Made Straight Bourbon Whiskey SCORE

Rating – 4 out of 5

ChesapeakeLiving Spirits Scoring

  1. Never again. I can’t untaste that.
  1. Better blended into a cocktail
  1. Not for me, but a nice whiskey
  1. Would buy
  1. Excellent! Where’s that bottle?