Old Line Spirits American Single Malt Double Oak Series

Development Program – Stout Cask Finish

Old Line Spirits out of Baltimore, Maryland, is a local distillery to me. Thanks to the relationship with my local scotch club, I’ve tried a handful of their bottles, everything from Madeira to Sauternes finished single malt. While the whiskey is aged in Maryland, it’s distilled at Middle West in Columbus, Ohio.

As far as I’m aware, all of their whiskies start in new charred oak including this Imperial Stout Cask finish. The Development Program is exactly as the name implies. A small sample initially sold to members of their “Quarterdeck Whiskey Club”. It’s just a teaser for a future bottling to illicit impressions from their customers and fans alike.

Heavy Seas, a local Maryland brewery, supplied the stout cask for this collaboration. Heavy Seas brews a pretty good dessert stout amazingly named “Chocolate Volcano”. It’s a dense beer that has a malty character to it. One of the things I enjoy about Heavy Seas is at their taphouse, they always have a casked beer on tap. Stouts shine with that slightly higher temp so I’m excited to jump into this whiskey.

Distillery: Old Line Spirits.

Region: Baltimore, Maryland, US.

ABV: 55.3%.

Age: 5 Years, 5 Months. (5 Month Finish)

Cask type: 30 Gallon, New charred oak. 59 Gallon Finishing Cask from Heavy Seas Brewery.

Price: $25 for a 200ml flask.

Color: 1.5, Auburn.

Tasting Notes

Tasted neat in a Glencairn with 15+ minutes of rest. Dilution was added for the second half of the tasting with an additional rest of upwards of an hour. This review encompasses my initial impression to the final glass.

Nose: The whiskey initially presents itself with an extremely medicinal, fruit forward nose. Abrasive, harsh, and honestly offputting. After sitting for a couple of weeks with a dram or two worth missing from the flask, the nose is more approachable now and surprisingly varied. Walnuts, wood ash, and malty, vanilla-infused oak. Fruit juice turning sour like a fruit cup you forgot about in the back of the fridge for a few months. Freckled bananas destined for use in banana bread. Black peppercorn and harsh, almost bitter cassia cinnamon. Raspberry dark chocolate and campfire charred marshmallows. Dank, decaying wood, and forest floor aromas. Dirty gym socks and pungent, cigar smoke. I know this is supposed to be a stout cask but I get more of a Labic beer sharp and sour nose to this whiskey.

Palate: The stout cask influencing the whiskey brings an incredibly silky and enjoyable texture. Grain forward cereals but not overly malty as expected. Harsh, nearing acrid, oak. It’s like you’ve been chewing on your cherry popsicle stick for a half hour after you finished it. The whiskey exhibits a chemical quality reminiscent of hot vinyl seats in your mom’s Buick station wagon or the aroma of red solo cups. An expected vanilla extract note along with a pleasant hoppy and grassy flavor. Dilution brings a kick of black peppercorns and grassy rocket lettuce. Oddly there’s a grilled asparagus vegetal aspect that I didn’t notice before adding water.

Finish: Dry dark cocoa powder finish. Dried cherries, earthy walnuts, and stale dates. Peppery, bright, and a tad bitter like a daikon and spout salad. As it lingers on your palate, it becomes intensely bitter and beacons you to sip water to rinse your mouth. Unfortunately, it’s unpleasant. Water has helped this whiskey greatly on the finish. There are more palatable flavors, but the whiskey still has a backbone of dry, tannic oak that is simply undesirable.


I had high expectations for a stout cask American single malt. The stout cask from Westward is quite enjoyable, as are some of the collaborations with Westland. I find the new charred oak quarter cask here imparts the unpleasant, sour, and tannic notes. The finishing cask is playing catch up to save the whiskey, and 5 months wasn’t quite enough.

I’m not a fan of quarter casks in any spirit category. For that matter, I’ve also not been a fan of malt aged in virgin oak. Old Line has potential but I wish I could try some of their malt that didn’t first touch that new charred barrel. For my preferences at least, you diminish the cereals in favor of barrel influence. Whether it’s bourbon or malt, showcasing the cereals is essential and I find it difficult to taste when the barrel overwhelms the spirit.

I realize this is only a preliminary stage leading to a future release, but I’ll assign a score for the sake of future comparison. As it is now, this whiskey is far from ready for a full release.

Final Score: 78