The Whiskey Mystique

McClintock Distillery is Blazing Their Own Trail

“We take our cue from the spirit of McClintock Young and try to shake things up a bit in how we think about creating whiskey,” says Zac Kennedy, head distiller at McClintock Distillery. “He was an inventor with such a creative mind who lived in the area in the early 1900s. Finding and creating new and innovative ways to do things was his passion. We’ve come up with new ways to enhance and add flavor notes to our products, such as creating a way to vapor-infuse our gin. But we like to keep things as traditional and simple and close to nature as possible in how we produce our products. We are proud to be the only certified organic producer in Maryland and one of a handful who still stone-grind our grains, which we found preserves the flavor and character of the grain. We take the time to make something not just for the sake of making it, but for people to enjoy.”

McClintock Distillery opened in 2016 after years of preparation by Braeden Bumpers and Tyler Hegamyer. Since then, their Maryland Heritage White Whiskey, Bootjack Rye Whiskey, Forager Gin, Reserve Gin, Gardener’s Gin and Epiphany Vodka continue to be awarded Gold and Silver in major markets. They received the double gold medal for their Matchstick Straight Bourbon at the San Francisco International Spirits Competition. That squarely placed McClintock alongside national brands such as Knob Creek, David Nicholson and McKenna Bourbon in the double gold category.

For those who don’t know the difference between bourbon and whiskey, Zac explains that the main difference is the type of grain that is used. Each must have 51% of the primary grain–for bourbon, it’s corn. Rye whiskey has to include 51% wheat. Another difference is in the aging.

“It’s aged anywhere from 18 months to two years or more. Bootjack Rye Whiskey is aged 18 months while our Matchstick Bourbon is aged two years. It depends on the size of the barrel,” says Zac.

“One interesting fact is that bourbon is a whiskey, but bourbon can only be made in America,” says Zac. “It has a long history and pride behind it. It’s embedded in the culture. Bourbon will always sell quicker just off the name alone. For example, our Matchstick Bourbon completely sold out on our opening day.”

“I am not sure why there is such mystique about whiskey,” says Zac. “We know that it was part of our country’s fabric as the government gave away spirits as rations during the wars, but it has grown beyond that. It was kind of thought of as a man’s drink, but it’s become a popular choice for everyone. Things change. We’ve gone from primarily drinking whiskey and bourbon straight to combining new and interesting mixers.”

“I like drinking my whiskey on ice,” says Zac. “That’s the way I tend to enjoy it but, I have recently been adding a splash of McCutcheon’s cider to it. They make an amazing peach, cherry, and of course, apple cider. The sugars of that mix really well with our American Heritage Whiskey or Matchstick Bourbon.”

“Come in enjoy yourself at the tasting room. Sit at the bar or tables, get a sample and talk about what you’re drinking. We do give tours, but even if you’re not doing a tour, our facility has a huge glass wall so you can see the production. Our cocktail lounge will open soon, so that’s going to be great for people to experience our whiskey with mixers,” says Zac.

"We are proud to be the only certified organic producer in Maryland and one of a handful who still stone-grind our grains."

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