An easy path to the Dark Side. A great ‘Gateway Amaro’ .
Notes: Leyline is a fledgling distillery housed in an economic development center (read old canning factory like many such centers it seems). A family run operation they use local fruit and grains to ferment, distill, and bottle on site. They use small stainless steel pot column hybrid stills with a lot of copper in the columns to get that critical interaction ( particularly with fruit) that makes a huge difference in the final product.
They currently produce two unflavored versions of red label winter wheat vodka, the white label mixing vodka, which was conceived and created to maximize its mixing qualities for cocktails and the red label sipping vodka, which was created a vodka to be sipped and savored on its own and two flavored vodka a Caraway Vodka and this the Citron vodka. Leyline also produces a peach brandy (more specifically/technically an eau de vie also) and this, the amaro, with plans to develop more products as they grow their market, including a cherry eau de vie. This amaro is handmade in small batches in their distillery and uses a secret blend of spices and herbs to produce a subtle and easy drinking amaro of the Italian persuasion .
Appearance: Deeper almost black but clear in the bottle with just a touch of sediment, which to me is a positive because it shows it was not processed to death and clarified or fined with something that would make a sausage maker – never mind a vegan – blanch. In the glass it has a natural red cast to it.On swirling it leaves a heavy, almost viscous oily coat on the glass the meniscus or edge line the amaro slowly retreats in on itself with a few tears forming as it glides along its way to the bottom of the glass slowly
First Impression: Nicely herbaceous with a well-integrated and complex bouquet of gentian, wormwood, cinnamon,angelica,mint, licorice, orris root, hibiscus and a host of other herbs
Taste: Nicely thick almost sensuous entry gliding over the tongue with a slightly syrupy and sweet entry followed by a spicy and complex herbal melange. Sweetened mellow finish. More of a liqueur than a amaro per se, but that makes it an extremely easy to drink, easy to get you started amaro, rather than something that someone drinks as a bar bet, stunt, or attempt to show they can. Thankfully less minty and more grown up than Jaegermeister but along those lines and more pleasant.
Drinks: Works well in a Paper Plane Cocktail except I stir it vigorously and a homemade brandied cherry as a garnish. Also you can substitute rye for what I call a Rye Plane. Also works in a spritzer, a sour, or in a Hanky Panky.
Bottle: Clear cylindrical bottle similar to an Ice Wine bottle in size (a half bottle or 375 ML) with nicely weighted decanter bottom makes for a nice presentation and harder to tip over. It also shows the depth of color to good effect and is thankfully not heavily colored like a number of amaro bottles. Simple graphics ad fonts with a Pinocchio style character drawn on the front label with hand numbered batch label on the back
Other: A link to some photos of the distillery with our friend Zamir Gotta of “No Reservations ” fame. Please not also this amaro clocks in at a heavy duty 70 proof , a number of amaro clock in at much less proof.
Final Thoughts: Well done, a bit sweet, but well-integrated , it makes for dangerously easy drinking.
Nicely laid out site but not a lot of info or pictures yet.