Review: Baltimore Spirits Fumus Pumila
Maryland’s Baltimore Whiskey Company is producing far more than just whiskey. In fact, their portfolio has become so varied that they changed their name recently to Baltimore Spirits Company. We haven’t even reviewed one of their whiskeys. They only offer one. Why were they called Baltimore Whiskey Company to begin with?
Our first taste of this whiskey, err spirits, distillery was their Baltamaro line of enjoyable herbal liqueurs. Recently, we sampled an even more unique offering: Fumus Pumila, a Mezcal-style smoked apple brandy. I won’t even begin to attempt to explain this one, so here’s some background from their website:
North America has a number of great distilling traditions, but only in Fumus Pumila have Northeastern Apple Brandy and Mezcal been joined. Inspired by the rich smokey spirit from our southern brethren, Fumus Pumila ferments and distills smoked apples in lieu of agave for a one of a kind spirit that’s both reverent of tradition, as well as strikingly new.
Fermented in wooden vats on smoked apple pommace, Fumus Pumila is double copper pot distilled. The spirit is diluted to proof with the end runs of the second distillation and never watered down: a process unique to Mezcal. By sticking close to these traditional Mezcal production techniques, we create a spirit that’s not just a smoked apple brandy, but a spirit that truly carries with it the expressive qualities of a Mezcal.
The nose is certainly Mezcal-y, showing an abundance of rich wood smoke, but it’s sweet, not savory or meaty like many Mezcals. That sweet smoke turns fruit-forward quickly with (unsurprisingly) a variety of apple aromas – sour, stewed, and candied – but also some greener, sharper notes that border on dish soap. The palate is creamy and sweet with a warming, peppery heat. The flavor is somewhat one-dimensional on the whole, with baked green apple and campfire smoke dominating, but those flavors linger for an impressively long time. It’s worth exploring just for the uniqueness of it all. While I can’t really see this one as much of a sipper, there’s plenty of opportunity here for unique cocktails, especially at its higher proof.
B+ / $33 / baltimorespiritsco.com