Time for some updates.
Back after a break due to work commitments, I will continue with my visits to the distilleries in the state of Washington. Since my last post I have visited a number of distilleries throughout the state. This post will include 5 I visited since last fall.
First is Heritage Distilling in Gig Harbor. They are one of the big boys in the micro distilling market, I even saw a couple of their items in a liquor store in Los Angeles last March. I didn’t get a chance to try any samples during my visit due to the crowd at the store at that time. I bought a number of the small bottles to sample their product. In my opinion the best is the Heritage bourbon. It is a blended bourbon which makes for a smooth drink. I found this bourbon to be smoother than their Elk Rider bourbon. I give the Heritage bourbon a 4.2 out of 5, the Elk Rider gets a 3 out of 5. I also tried both of their BSB bourbons, the regular and the BSB 103. The only difference is the proof. I assume the cinnamon in them would make them a version Fireball but this is not true. Both are very drinkable, the 103 has a bit more kick. For those that like to cook with spirits, I poured some of the regular BSB over some homemade bread pudding. It was a big hit. I give both BSB bourbons a 4 out of 5.
I also tried Heritage vodka and gin. The vodka is pleasantly smooth, I drank it with a splash of Cran-Raspberry juice and it was delightful. At the time I was not a fan of gin but I am coming around. I didn’t care for their gin at the time I tried it, I will have to give it another try before rating it. The vodka is a 4.4 out of 5.
The next Distillery I visited was Valley Shine in Mount Vernon. Besides samples, they also have food and mixed cocktails in their tasting room. Since my first visit I have been back twice. For my first visit I tried a number of their products and came home with a 200 ml bottle of Benjamin’s barrel strength bourbon and a plastic can of 50 ml bottles of their products. The barrel strength bourbon was easily one of the best bourbons I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. The flavor is strong but oh so smooth. I do wish they sold it in bigger bottles. I have brought home some with each visit.
The sampler can contained bottle of the Ascension Vodka, Bonfire Toffee Liqueur, Limoncello, Red X gin, Revolution Rum and Spider Bite liqueur. I like the vodka, toffee, Limoncello and the rum, all were high quality and will stand up to any national brand. Like my other tries with the gin, I didn’t care for it but need to try it again. The Spider Bite is anise flavored and I’m really don’t care for it.
The next distillery I visited was a surprise, I didn’t know it was there till I saw the sign. It is Adrift Distillery in Long Beach down on the coast. They had only been open a few month so they only had a few items to try, that was their vodka and a cranberry liqueur. The vodka was very good. Smooth and clean with just the right amount of burn. The distiller didn’t try to over process this vodka which tends to hurt the product. I give it a 4.8 out of 5. I left with a bottle of this and it didn’t last long. It was a favorite at my Christmas party. The cranberry liqueur was overpowering, they could lighten the cranberry flavor some and have a good liqueur. I like cranberry product but not this one. They have now come out with a couple new products that is going to mean another trip to the beach, a wheat whiskey and a triticale whiskey. Dry Fly has set a high standard for the triticale whiskey, I would like to see how Adrift’s compares.
Next was a visit to the Blue Spirits Distillery in Leavenworth during the holiday season. They have a new retail, restaurant and tasting room along with another tasting room in town with all the other shops. I tried 3 spirit flight that included their rum, a lime tequila and rye whiskey. The rum is a blend with a rich flavor of better rums. My wife and I stopped by later for a hot buttered rum and it was excellent but came with a hefty $15 price tag. The rum is a 4.4 out of 5. The tequila is not made by Blue Spirits, it is a private label imported from Mexico. It is refreshing by itself or can easily be used in any tequila recipe. I have used it to make my own version of a margarita, equal parts lime tequila and Squirt soda. I give it a 4.2 out of 5. The rye is a blend from various sources. It is a notch below the good national brands. I give it a 3.9 out of 5. I left that day with a bottles of rum, lime tequila and cherry bourbon. The cherry bourbon is very sweet with a good cherry flavor. I drink it with a splash of diet cola.
The last distillery for this entry is a newcomer on the Kitsap Peninsula, Black Ring Spirits. They are located in small shopping center in Port Orchard not far from the waterfront. Didn’t know about them till I stopped at the Port Orchard Farmer’s market and they had a booth. My wife and I stopped by the distillery for some samples. Heather was behind the counter and it very knowledgeable about Black Ring products. My 5 sample flight included their bourbon, single malt whiskey, apple brandy, rye whisky and vodka. The 3 whiskey all pack a punch and have an edge that tends to come with products from new distilleries. My favorite was the single malt, nice wheat flavor and a clean burn going down. The rye was a bit heavy handed and could improve with a bit more time in the barrel to mellow. It’s the same with the bourbon. I give the single malt a 4.5 out of 5, the rye and bourbons both get a 4 out of 5. I would proudly serve any of these to guests. Unfortunately they were out of the single malt and rye when I visited so I came home with a bottle of the bourbon.
The Discord apple brandy is very good, almost like biting into a crisp apple. If I already didn’t have an apple brandy at home, I would have bought one. It’s a 4.2 out of 5. The vodka is typical of most small distilleries, good but is just missing something. Vodka is something that is hard to mess up when distilled and Black Ring does a good job like most. I give it a 4 out of 5. For me the vodka all are aiming for is from Glass Distilling, they have set the bar very high for the other distillers in Washington.
My next update will be about my recent vacation, a lap around the state of Washington and planned visits to 16 distilleries. Check back soon for that update.
Check out the websites for the above distilleries and plan a visit to one or more of the distilleries soon.
3207 57th St Ct NW, Gig Harbor.
Also had locations at the Gig Harbor waterfront, Eugene, Oregon, Roslyn, Ballard and Capital Hill.
Valley Shine Distillery
320 S 1st St, Mount Vernon.
409 Sid Snyder Dr, BLDG #3, Long Beach.
1310 Highway 2, Leavenworth
920 Front St, Leavenworth
Black Ring Spirits
1700 SE Mile Hill Dr, Suite 124, Port Orchard.