Eau de Vie - Framboise
Framboise Eau de Vie (Raspberry Brandy)
Westford Distillers, Ashford, Connecticut
INGREDIENTS: Raspberries - nothing else.
PROOF: 80 (40% )
AGE: Rested for 1 year then bottled
TYPE: Eau de Vie
PRICE: $26.00 200 ML
Notes: This is a Eau de Vie, and distilled in pot stills in small batches. It does not use bulk ethanol, sugar, artificial colorants, or chemical flavors like some (O.K., most) of its competitors. It uses a much more true (but expensive) process requiring about 5 pounds of for each bottle.
Appearance: Clear bright, no impurities whatsoever. On swirling, it leaves a thick clear coat on the inside of the glass, shows some very long legs, then crinkly edges,some turning to a batch of small droplets.
First Impression: Deep woodland scent of fresh raspberies with the alcohol present and tickling you nose, including the slight telltale of seeds that only comes distilling the entire raspberry - a tricky process that gives it a depth and complexity addinng in the woody, slightly bitter (in a pleasant way) seed flavor that you get when you eat a real raspberry - not its chemical eqivalent - it is something many other raspberry (flavored) brandies usually lack.
Taste: The bouquet is a wonderful prelude to the follow though - the actual taste. This Framboise seems to have captured the raspberry with a fleeting sweet start followed by a dryish long finish with woody/seedy notes and a wonderful afterglow.The lingering hints of seeds and slight bitter tingle add to the texture and let you know this has been distilled from real berries, seeds and all.
Drinks: There are not as many classic drinks for Framboise as Kirsch, but they are out there. Also it is excellent to add to a Mojito or a Capirina. As to food, it is assertive enough to be an outstanding pairing with dark chocolate, pastries or ice cream. Westford also has a number of cocktails that were developed for them worth trying. The traditional way to serve Eau de vies is as an aperitif or digestif - a civilized way to start or end a meal - almost a pity to mix it with anything else.
Other: The Chateys use a 200 ml bottle for their Eau de Vies, this is a unusual choice but has many practical advantages - 1. It keeps the price per bottle down, and 2. Portion control, it ensures that the bottle of eau de vie is used up rather than sitting half empty and oxidizing/spoiling for the next 6 months or year.
Eau de Vie will not spoil like like wine but is best when consumed within a reasonable time frame. The 200 ml size is great for a dinner party both in size and cost (either at home or at a restaurant) as 2-6 people can easily properly dispose of a bottle during the course of an evening and either as a gift or bought at a restaurant it is still cheap enough not to wince at the thought of using up a bottle.
Final Thoughts: Certainly a contender for one of the best Framboise I have tasted. A standout in the flavored brandy/eau de vie category and certainly requires consideration in any good liquor cabinet. If you want to have an excellent Framboise this the one to consider. The small bottle goes a long way and is cheaper than buying a 750 ml of something that will go bad halfway though.
Bottle: Clear tapered oval bottom Italian glass bottle with a very tastefully done spiral label. Deep red/magenta hand dipped wax seal, and hand tied cord with neck hang tag in neck/shoulder area.
Web site:: http://www.westfordhill.com
Fast-loading with a lots of information. Easy-to-read. Good content and descriptions of production.