Wacky Wednesday Tastings

What a day for spirits tasting in Redwood City, and it wasn't even my day to taste!  First off was the arrival of the new Tempus Fugit Violette Liqueur, technically not a Creme de Violette because it's not sweet enough to be a creme like cassis.  This is more pink and very, very delicate.  The aromas are stunningly beautiful and the flavors decidedly elegant.  The violets are pure and somewhat tart, but that soapiness found in other Violettes is nowhere to be found.  A magnificant product from the company that brought us the Gran Classico.  These guys have more in store for later this year including the original formula for Fernet (get ready to cream your pants Bay Area - source of more Fernet consumption than most of Italy!).

Then my favorite vendor Val walked through the door with the new Roughstock Wheat Mash Whiskey from Montana.  This baby is light and easy drinking, while maintaining a creamy mouthfeel and beautifully concentrated graininess that seems like something from an 1849 wild west cantina.  This is the kind of dram that makes you want to go ride a horse and do something out on a ranch, if only to justify having some Roughstock to wind down with when you're through.  Well made and a welcome addition to their regular Montana whiskey.  I think it will catch on nicely here in Whiskeytown U.S.A.  Seriously, it seems like the Bay Area cannot get enough and will buy literally anything I put on the shelf!

Then I had to laugh because Val pulled out this set of products from the new, craft Kentucky distillery called MB Roland.  They make some interesting spirits and when I saw the baked apple pie whiskey I just started laughing, thinking he can't be serious!  But he was, and MAN! is that stuff good.  It's like the Godiva chocolate vodka where if you act like you don't like it, you're obviously lying.  Just admit that it's actually delicious!  Here are my notes for the products I'll be bringing in:

MB Roland Distillery Apple Pie Kentucky Shine 375ml 16.99 - Made of corn and sugar cane distillate, apple cider, spices, and brown sugar (nothing synthetic), this is everything the name says it is and everything you hope it will be - baked apple pie flowing creamy smooth over your palate, not too sweet, not overly cloying.  There's nothing more I can say other than this product is really really good.  It's not something to breakdown flavorwise, or analyze the complexity.  It's meant to drink as a dessert and to have fun with.  If you let your guard down, you're in for a very tasty time.

MB Roland Distillery Black Dog Kentucky Corn Whiskey 375ml $19.99 - The white corn distillate from a small Kentucky distillery is made by roasting the white corn in a miniature tobacco barn, giving it smoky and spice flavor similar to an Islay-style whisky.  Lots of toasty, earthy, concentrated flavor and very interesting.  Great for sipping or for exotic cocktails.

MB Roland Distillery Kentucky Lemonade 375ml $16.99 - An all natural hard lemonade made from a sugar cane and corn distillate base with only lemon juice and sugar added to give it flavor.  This is super high end stuff and packs a punch at 22% alcohol but you'd never know it.  Watch out because this is a super party in a bottle that can really wallop an unsuspecting drinker!

MB Roland Distillery White Dog Kentucky Corn Whiskey 375ml $15.99 - Delicious corn white whiskey from all locally grown Kentucky white corn.  Flavorful and more interesting than the standard white whiskies on the domestic market.  Fun for sipping or for cocktail mixing.  Can't wait until they start aging it!

As if all this tasting wasn't enough to overwelm my palate, then Henry Wine Group came by with a new set of Italian spirits that should all retail for under $20 - a new amaro, sambuca, and anisette from Meletti that should serve any Italian lover well.  All three are quality and a bargain for the price!

When it rains it pours.  That was the literal and figurative motto for the day.  The weather literally poured here when it did rain, and when the tastings happened, they happened all at once!

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll