Outstanding vodka made from maple syrup – no really !
Notes: We are revisiting this vodka as they have recently come back to the market and their situation (after changing hands a number of times) has stabilized. This Vodka is produced in St Johnsbury, Vermont from maple sap in a distillery that is seriously crunchy granola, even for Vermont. The operation is off the grid- no electricity hookups.
The distillery has glass sides to maximize natural light for working. As someone from the Northeast and descended from a long line of maple syrup makers, I have a lot of respect for what they are doing. Maple sap gathering is a time-and-labor intensive process. Anyone who has done it will respect what these people have accomplished (and not complain about the price).
One important note is this is a wheat/gluten free product (in fact entirely grain free – one of the few vodkas that can lay claim to that) so anyone with a intolerance to wheat should consider it as an alternative to many of the vodkas out there.
Appearance: Crystal clear, no sediment whatsoever or separation. Medium thick body. On swirling it leaves a a thin clear coat on the inside of the glass, then some beading (droplets) and legs forming.
First Impression: Maple sweetness with clean alcohol notes. You can tell at first whiff this is going to be a treat.
Taste: Sweet, thick, and slightly oily on the tongue, toasted wood and grain notes (carmelization of sugars) leading to a incredibly smooth taste like the lightest (and best) grade of maple sugar or the butter cream you can make from same with a wonderful warming alcohol tale to it. Almost a vodka malt syrup if one can imagine such a thing. Damn near perfect!
Drinks: I’ll cop out and quote from Duncan, the original distiller, he said it very succinctly: ‘Vermont Spirits Gold stands on its own alone. Let first-time tasters drink it neat at room temperature, in a clean glass with no ice. For a martini, shake it with ice and add nothing but a twist of fresh, preferably organic lemon.”
For mixed drinks that feature fruit juice, vermouth or Kahlúa, use another vodka. My suggestion might be to try it with a flamed twist to caramelize the lemon oil a bit. Another suggestion is if you are making a petit punch (rum, cane syrup, wedge of lime, one ice cube) use this instead of the cane.
Bottle: Distinctive, in that it is tall, rectangular, bright clear glass with rounded shoulders, and NO frosting unlike the sea of others. The bottle has changed in that they no longer use a hand dipped wax seal to finish the bottle anymore – they use a simpler metal foil cap instead – which we personally think is a pity. Simple graphics silkscreened or printed directly onto the glass. Gold maple leaf shows through back to front to distinguish the ingredients. Nice heft to the bottle and a good grade of clear glass with nice foot to it. Bottle was imported from France and is of very high quality – lovely sparkling glass to showcase an excellent product.
Final Thoughts: Finally, a high end vodka that is clearly worth the money on merit, not name or just plain greed. This vodka has both a ingredient and quality class that is singular. There is no other vodka that uses these ingredients or has a similar taste profile.
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