Old Line Spirits - Grand Opening!

Old Line Spirits in Baltimore, MD will open to the public today (February 18, 2017) for tours.

I recently had a chance to interview distillers Mark McLaughlin and Arch Watkins who founded OLS in 2015. They met as Naval aviators, assigned to the same squadron, over ten years ago. After leaving active duty for graduate school and other job opportunities in Maryland, the guys decided to go into business together in 2014.

That year, Mark attended the American Distilling Institute’s Spirits Conference & Vendor Expo in Seattle where he met distiller Bob Stillnovich. Bob, the proud owner of Golden Distillery on Samish Island, Washington, is also a combat veteran, having served as an Infantry platoon leader and Company Commander in the most dangerous jungles of South Vietnam in 1965-66. 

After his war ended, Bob came home and embarked on a career that included stints in high school education, seafood trading, developing restaurants, and whiskey making. When he introduced himself to Mark, Bob and his partner Jim Caudill, a U.S. Navy veteran, were looking to sell their five-year-old Puget Sound micro-distillery. Jim was ill and Bob was interested in retiring, so he went searching for the right buyer.

Mark and Arch rode out to Washington State to inspect Golden’s copper stills and Minnesota white oak barrels, taste Bob and Jim’s single malt whiskey, and learn everything they could about the Golden recipes and methods. In 2015, Mark and Arch purchased all of Golden’s equipment and product and transported it to Maryland where they developed the Old Line Spirits brand. 
On the Old Line label, there are two small naval flags, “bravo” and “zulu,” the military maritime signals for “well done.” It is not only Mark’s and Arch’s vision for their distillery, it is a message to fellow veterans Bob Stillnovich and the late Jim Caudill.

Old Line Single Malt American Whiskey

Distilled on Samish Island, WA
86 proof
$50 MSRP

Color: Dark copper.

Nose: Cereal grain, malt, sawdust, new oak, dusty chocolate, hint of caramelized sugar.

Tasting Notes: A nice balance of malt, caramel, and vanilla. Mid-palate, I get oak, subtle red fruit, and maple candy. The moderate finish is marked by the sweeter notes. A very smooth sip.

Overall: A surprisingly nice American single malt whiskey. It's on the mellow side, which makes it dangerously drinkable. I'm excited to try future Old Line single malt whiskey releases, which may include a "Navy strength" version.