Food & Drink

Roaming Man Tennessee Rye Whiskey Isn’t Just a Bottle, It’s an Honest Tradition

This article is sponsored content from Sugarlands Distilling Co. 

When you buy your go-to bottle of whiskey, what does it look like? If you?re like most Americans, you head down to the corner liquor store and select the same bottle every time. There?s not much tradition that goes into your regular liquor store transaction.

So when Sugarlands Distilling Co. decided to make a rye whiskey, they wanted to make whiskey meaningful again. And they succeeded with their Roaming Man Tennessee Rye Whiskey.

Roaming Man’s beginnings

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Head Distiller Greg Eidam II and his shy distillery dog, Frodo.

When asked about the process of creating Roaming Man, Head Distiller Greg Ediam II smiles. After all, his first effort to barrel age something resulted in a gold medal at the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition in 2017 for the category of “American Straight Rye Whiskey.”

Greg looks at barrel aging as a three-part process:

“If you have a good quality mash, you have to have a good quality distillation. The third part of it is in the barrel. And after that, you just have to be patient.”

“I remember thinking early on, ‘We’re never going to get to try this whiskey.’ And the next thing you know, it’s time to start dumping some barrels.”

Roaming Man Tennessee Rye Whiskey
Barrels of Roaming Man, patiently aging away.

Patience and process aside, a unique part of Roaming Man Tennessee Rye Whiskey isn’t just the creamy mouthfeel or the light aromas of Gala apples and notes of pear in the smooth finish. It’s the way the team treats it with a real respect, one that cannot be bought. It’s one that is earned in the details of respecting a real American tradition of liquor.

The transparency and tradition of each bottle

Roaming Man Tennessee Rye Whiskey
Roaming Man Tennessee Rye Whiskey

“We just want to share the experience,” says Greg. ?We want you to know what you?re getting when you open a bottle ? and how we got there. We will always say, this is what we did different with this batch and this is how it is changing what you?re drinking.?

This kind of transparency is rare in the distilling world. It’s common practice for a young craft spirits company to buy a pre-aged whiskey and add depth and flavor through distillation and other tricks of the trade; Sugarlands had no intentions to take this route.

Roaming Man Tennessee Rye Whiskey
The Gas Chromatogram for Bottle #3 of Roaming Man.

This attitude extends beyond the personal when it comes to the whiskey. Every bottle of Roaming Man Tennessee Rye Whiskey comes with its very own Gas Chromatogram. This is the DNA of your very own bottle. The yellow line represents the batch pre-aging, and the blue line represents the flavors after aging.

“This aging process is the most interesting because you can see the spikes where the flavor profile developed that weren’t there before,” says Reede Copeland, Sugarlands General Manager. “That means something happened in the barrels, in the wood, that allowed that flavor to come through.” In this way, they?re educating both novice and expert whiskey drinkers on a long-standing American tradition.

The Roaming Man experience

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Tugboat takes Andy and Jennifer on a tour of the distillery before tasting their Roaming Man.

At Sugarlands, when you pick up your bottle of Roaming Man whiskey, you can stick your whole face into the mash, shake the cuts of the liquor in the sunlight to watch the bubbles fade, and taste with a manager who guides you through the distillery every step of the way.

Every bottle of Roaming Man is distributed in the same unique way. There are no bottles sold in the store, and to order it, you must join their Whiskey Club to receive alerts of when the next batch, or edition, of Roaming Man will be released.

Roaming Man Tennessee Rye Whiskey
Tugboat, Jennifer, and Andy checking out the mash as Connie, the distillery tour master, looks on.

Andy and Jennifer from Athens, Ga. drove in to pick up two bottles of Roaming Man. “It’s really cool how they do it, and it’s what brought me back more because it’s that one-on-one experience,” says Andy, who’s on his third purchase of Roaming Man. “We tested the batches each time we came to pick it up and there have been subtle differences in each one. I found that enjoyable, it’s like a secret in each bottle. Our first tasting together here, they opened her [Jennifer’s] eyes to whiskey by tasting it different ways.”

At Sugarlands, they can tell you the origin of every ingredient, every barrel, and every still they own. That’s because Sugarlands isn’t making liquor for just anybody; they’re making it for family.

Roaming Man Tennessee Rye Whiskey
The stills at Sugarlands Distilling Co., that are open for tours to the public.

Tennessee is whiskey country, and in a distillery known for moonshine, there’s a storehouse behind the porch where aging whiskey barrels sit on shelves that reach the ceiling.

Inside those barrels, Roaming Man Tennessee Rye Whiskey is aging. It tastes like a whiskey that’s proud of where it came from. It’s an experience, a whiskey for the wandering soul.

The Sugarlands Distilling Giveaway

Sugarlands Distilling and Wide Open Country hosting a holiday giveaway of 15 total prizes! The grand prize is a trip for two to the Great Smoky Mountains to visit Sugarlands Distilling Company in downtown Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Four lucky winners will each receive a $100 gift card for Sugarlands Distilling Co., and 10 lucky winners will receive boxes of Sugarlands Distilling gifts! Customers that order between November 14 and December 14 will receive a gift with their purchase courtesy of Sugarlands Distilling.

Enter the giveaway here.

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Roaming Man Tennessee Rye Whiskey Isn’t Just a Bottle, It’s an Honest Tradition