Caskaway: Chad Albertson's desert island drams

Caskaway: Chad Albertson's desert island drams

We cast Chad Albertson of Maryland rye whisky producer Sagamore Spirt off to our desert island and ask which five drams he'd take with him

Caskaway | 18 Dec 2023 | Issue 196 | By Bradley Weir

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Chad Albertson has a passion for people, and for bringing great whiskies to their attention. He joined craft distillery Sagamore Spirit, based in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2016 during its start-up phase and helped to launch its award-winning rye whisky in the US. He is now responsible for the company’s international sales in more than 14 countries. Chad has 15 years of experience in the wine and spirits business, which has allowed him to work with several amazing whisky companies and promote their spirits to fellow whisky lovers in the US and further afield.


Whisky #1

Kings County

Empire Rye

I met Colin Spoelman, the co-founder of Kings County, several years back in New Jersey while we were at a trade show; our booths were next to each other. They are always doing really unique whisky expressions in very simple classy packaging. Empire Rye is a great whisky paying tribute and carrying on the legacy of New York distilleries in a unique flavour profile that has become synonymous with producers in New York. Like Sagamore, they are building a sub-category of rye with their Empire Rye and it’s a bottle I’d savour under a palm tree alone in the middle of the ocean, no pineapple… no umbrella.


Whisky #2

Sagamore Spirit

Double Oak Rye

I love our Double Oak not just because I sell it but because of the story behind it… along with the taste. Let’s just say the Double Oak blend may have been a bit of an accident that our team stumbled upon working on putting our whisky into brand-new wave stave barrels that we were testing out for our friends at Independent Stave Company. After resting for more than four years and an additional 18 months in a wave stave barrel, [it] really makes this one of my favourites.


Whisky #3

Old Forester

86 Proof Bourbon

This is a great go-to everyday-drinking bourbon. I fell in love with it while representing the brand while working for a distributor. I was attracted to the story of Old Forester and that it was Brown-Forman’s original brand dating back to 1870. I can drink this on the rocks or neat and it never disappoints.


Whisky #4

Woodford Reserve


Yes, I like other rye whiskies — and Woodford Rye was the first rye I had ever tried back when I was in a tasting with Chris Morris of Brown-Forman down in Kentucky. He pulled out a bottle that hadn’t been released yet — knowing we were all from Maryland, a former leader of rye whisky production. After tasting [it], I turned to our supplier rep and told him we had to get this to Maryland.


Whisky #5

New Riff

Kentucky Straight Rye

I’ve always been a huge fan of New Riff dating back to when Larry Ebersold, who consulted in building the Sagamore Spirit distillery as well as New Riff’s, told me about them. Like Sagamore, New Riff was founded and owned by entrepreneurs who had a passion and dream of making great whisky without the pressures from parent companies and legacy sprits producers. All their whisky is amazing and it’s something I wouldn’t get caught not having on my back bar, or on a deserted island.


Luxury Item

We had a pizza party happy hour at the distillery some time ago. Several members of our team had these Ooni Karu Pizza Ovens that they brought. You can use different types of wood as fuel which added a great flavour to the pizza to be paired with our rye whisky. Having the oven on an island would bring me back to a fond memory, eating and drinking with great teammates and friends.

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