The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 49 of 124

november 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  49 not using Champagne grapes because of the marketing. It's really because of what it gives to our vodka," he says. "It's perfectly smooth. It's some of the most expensive raw material in the world, but it's worth it." Guillotine Heritage undergoes a year-long aging process intended to impart the character of Cognac oak without obscuring the spirit's vodka essence. As a result, Berkmann says the brand will satisfy whisky and vodka drinkers alike. "What we have created is a true sipping vodka," he adds. "It's vodka that of course you can mix, but you can also drink straight or on ice." Still in its commercial infancy with less than two years on the market, Guillotine Heritage continues to make a surprising statement with its darker-than-usual appearance. Guests' blithe glances toward the vodka assembly on the liquor wall will typically transform into looks of inquisitive astonishment the moment they see the Heritage bottle. "It's brown vodka, which is different," says Ryan Hill, General Manager of the newly opened Porta Via restaurant in Los Angeles' Pacific Palisades neigh- borhood. "I found that it's treated almost like a Cognac, a whisky, or a bourbon rather than a vodka." While Guillotine Heritage's foray into the premium spirits market is still relatively fresh, Hill extols the virtues of an unorthodox product leading the cocktail vanguard. "I think that it's kind of a movement toward new ways to put a different spin on things that are either classic or outdated, or both," he explains. "People aren't using the same phones from 20 years ago or driving the same cars—we should do the same thing with spirits and food and wine." Berkmann notes that utilizing Guillotine Heritage in a host of both classic and original cocktails can create unexpected nuance. "When you use it in a Moscow Mule or Caipiroska or even a Cosmopolitan, using the aged [vodka] makes the drink much better," he adds. At Porta Via, Hill has introduced guests to Guillotine Heritage with a cocktail that employs the distinctive flavor profile of the brand's barrel- aged vodka alongside local California citrus. "I took the Guillotine with some orange peel–infused simple syrup to make a lighter version of an Old Fashioned that you can sip on," he says. "It's just refreshing and really good—nobody's ever had a vodka- based Old Fashioned before." Guillotine Heritage is perhaps less a revolution than a renaissance: the rebirth of a spirit steeped in history and now freed from the grip of convention. According to Hill, Guillotine Heritage's aged character can be counted on to create unexpected nuance in a variety of classic cocktails. "With all the French know-how that we have in the spirits industry, I 'm prey sure that we can create something wonderful. I think that we achieved that." —Guillotine Heritage founder/ CEO Paul Berkmann

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - November 2018