Lap of Washington, Rivers and the Sea.
We left Eastern Washington by following the Columbia River west. The only distillery along the Columbia is located in the town of Stevenson. Skunk Brothers Spirits was not scheduled to be open on the day we passed by but in an email was told if someone was there, they would give us a tour. But alas, no one was there so all I got was a few pictures from outside. Tami and I stopped for lunch at nearby café so my hopes were high I could at least try something skunky. But they did not carry any Skunk Brother products but had a bottle of bourbon from Whitefish Distillery, I live only a few miles from there.
My next planned stop was Double V Distillery in Battle Ground. But we had a change in plans the meant a much longer drive that day so we didn’t make it. I will be down that way later in the year, I will stop by then.
This change of plans also meant we skipped Eagle Cliff Distillery in Longview. But I did buy a bottle of their Exalt Vodka at the Cathlamet Market. I finally opened the bottle a few weeks ago to give it a try. Unlike most vodkas that are made from grains, Exalt is still made the old fashioned way, with potatoes. It has the iconic vodka taste one would expect but is very smooth. I took a few sips straight and would have had no problem drinking it that way. I added a splash of black cherry flavored water and it made for a delightful drink. I later tried it in a vodka martini and it was just as I expected. The distiller describes his vodka as velvety, I agree. I give Exalt Vodka a 4.4 out of 5.
Disappointment rained on me for my next planned stop. Wishkah River Distillery in Aberdeen had a couple of special bottling of their whiskey on their website and I really wanted to buy one, and possibly both. We arrived shortly after the scheduled opening time and found the tasting room still closed. Another potential customer showed up and we waited for a while to see if anyone would arrive. No one did so Tami and I left to go get some lunch. I called 3 or 4 times but no one answered to we continued on to Ocean Shores. I called later that day and a couple time the next but again, no answer. I visited their website about a few weeks ago and all it shows is a simple message, www.wishkahriver.com is inactive or not published yet. Their Facebook page hasn’t had anything new posted in over a year. For now, I am moving Wishkah River Distillery to my list of closed distilleries. Their products are still shown as available at the Total Wine near me, guess that will be the only way to sample their products.
The last stop was a last second addition, Evil Roy’s Elixirs in Sequim. I tried 3 samples, an apple brandy, Rumkin, and their gin. Their brandy, unlike most that are made from wine, is made from apple cider. It has a definite apple smell with just a hint of spice. The first taste reminded me of drinking apple cider but with a kick. Swallowing it produced a warm glow on the back of the tongue and it warmed on its way down and leaves and aftertaste in the mouth. This would be enjoyable this on a cool night or sitting in front of a fireplace. I give it a 4 out of 5.
Next was a product unique to Evil Roy’s, Rumkin. Following Washington State law that requires spirits made in the state contain 51% home grown products, Rumkin is made with a mash bill of 51% pumpkin. It has a light pumpkin smell without the cinnamon usually added to pumpkin products. The taste is also of pumpkin and it has a slightly sweet following on the back of the tongue. This would make for a nice twist to traditional rum drinks. I am also going to jump on the bandwagon and make some pumpkin pie spiced hot buttered rum mix. I give it a 4.3 out of 5.
My final sample was their gin. It has the tradition heavy handed juniper berry flavoring. I prefer a gin with a nice mix of botanicals and don’t really care for this type of gin. Those that like a traditional gin would like this. I am not going to rate this, I let gin drinkers decide for themselves.
That wraps of our Lap of Washington distillery tour. The plans are now to start checking out the distilleries of Seattle and Woodinville. Wherever you go in the State of Washington, take some time and visit one of our craft distilleries. The folks that run these really appreciate your business and love to know that they have a customer base that includes the entire state, not just the locals.