November 29, 2023

700MPH Bourbon Makes Headlines

700MPH Bourbon
Tobacco Barn Distillery lowers barrels of rum into the  USS Constellation in Baltimore Harbor. Tobacco Barn Distillery photo

Making “700 MPH Bourbon” may indeed be “crazy,” admits Scott Sanders, the retired rear admiral and now partner in Tobacco Barn Distillery in Hollywood, MD. Nevertheless, there are four 25-gallon barrels of bourbon to be readied to snug into both of the detachable, and reconfigured, fuel tanks of the restored Sea Harrier jet piloted by retired Marine Lt. Col. Art Nalls. Currently, re-scheduled for spring 2021, that bourbon is going to take flight.

The plan to use the flight as part of airborne infusion process of the bourbon into the wood, something that has never been done before. This event will highlight the aviation and flight test heritage of our area with the innovation and creative energy of Maryland’s craft distillers.

Maryland Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot’s office is encouraging efforts like this among Maryland distillers by sending representatives down to approve the unique “off-site storage” of the bourbon. Significant proceeds from the event and sale of the bourbon will benefit Semper Fi & America’s Fund, a nonprofit that supports combat wounded and critically ill members of the US armed forces and their families.

The idea that these two particular entrepreneurs would concoct such a plan isn’t all that startling to the dozens of community members associated with St. Mary’s County Regional Airport. Both veterans are renowned local boosters, active community volunteers, and creative entrepreneurs. The airport is home to Lt. Col. Nall’s Sea Harrier and RADM Sanders not only the founding partner of the distillery, but one of the driving forces behind the airport’s farmers market collaboration with Historic Sotterley.

This 700MPH bourbon plan, however, did catch the attention of CNBC and Shepard Smith, which ran a segment earlier this month describing “a wild mission to create a one-of-a-kind whiskey … that will hit a top speed of 700 miles an hour.”

Admiral Sanders admits to them, “It is an expensive way to make Bourbon and, my partners would say, idiotic!” But they believe it will successfully raise funds for the nation’s premier veteran’s charity.

Tobacco Barn Distillery is also aging four barrels of rum below deck on the USS Constellation, a 166-year-old decommissioned warship docked in Baltimore Harbor. According to the distillery’s website, “The gentle rocking of the Ship coupled with the fluctuations in temperature gives the Rum a deeper and richer flavor.”

That’s what got Lt. Col. Nalls thinking about the Harrier. He got hold of the retired admiral. The plan rolled out from there.

CNBC asked why. Admiral Sanders said, “Because it’s crazy!”

He did further explain, there are also effects of flight that interest them, including the impact of the change in air pressure at 15,000 feet that will push the liquor into the wood of the barrels and result in a “deeper flavor.”

The pandemic delayed the earlier cleared May takeoff, so the flight is anticipated to be rescheduled for spring 2021. Check with Tobacco Barn Distillery for details on the upcoming 700 MPH Bourbon and also for opportunities to become a sponsor.

For more information about the growing Aviation Technology Park at St. Mary’s County Regional Airport — where 700MPH Bourbon will depart and return — contact Ken Reed, 44191 Airport Road, Suite C, California, MD 20619;  Cell: 301-904-9928  Email: [email protected]. To learn more about S. Hunt Aero, visit their Leader Member Page or their fly2W6 website and Facebook Page.

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