The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2017

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august 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  129 august 2017 /  the tasting panel / 129 august 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  129 A Palette of Flavors: VAN GOGH VODKA Like many artforms, the art of making spirits takes many years to perfect, and masterpieces take work and dedication. That's why last year Van Gogh Vodka completely redesigned its bottle and packaging, as well as overhauled its offerings. Living up to its namesake, Van Gogh takes the art of vodka seriously and is meticulously crafted by Tim Vos, a third-generation distiller. Along with its unflavored vodka, Van Gogh—an 80-proof vodka sporting a Starry Night–inspired label and made with wheat from Holland, Germany and France—the portfolio also includes 15 flavored vodkas. Every one of these expressions is made in the Distillery Cooymans International in Tillburg, Holland. Its line features expressions like Cool Peach, a blend of juicy peach with a hint of mint, and Pineapple, a mix of sweet pineapple and a touch of orange. These aren't the artificial-tasting vodkas of the '90s; each vodka has a fresh quality to it. "The flavors are well thought out and natural," notes Jonathan Pogash, The Cocktail Guru. "I always look for flavored spirit products that use natural ingredients and processes. Van Gogh, with its all-natural infusions, holds precedent over other flavored vodkas because of this fact." When mixing, Pogash likes the signature Van Gogh Vodka for a classic Cosmopolitan or Gimlet, the Cool Peach for a boozy Arnold Palmer or a variation on Moscow Mules and the Pineapple for a twist on a piña colada. With so many award-winning expressions in its line, Van Gogh allows every bartender, whether professional or amateur, to create a delicious masterpiece of their own. Tasting Notes Van Gogh Vodka One of the softest vodka noses, this artful spirit lifts with vanilla and orange rind. The flavors of marshmallow, lemon blossom and white pepper paint a palette of sweet and tart. The finish glides on its satin texture, with no bite. 92 Van Gogh Vodka Pineapple Stand a few feet away, open the bottle and whiffs of paradise abound. The juicy, ripe, tropi- cal notes of pineapple are a sensual treat. Sweet as the fruit itself, the flavors claim a dryness on the back of the palate, initiating a desire for the next sip. Perfect for cocktails or just over ice. 92 375 PARK AVENUE SPIRITS A Blue-Ribbon Gin: THE LONDON NO. 1 GIN As an eighth-generation distiller from a family that has been producing gins in London since the late 17th century, Master Distiller Charles Maxwell has gin in his blood. So when he creates a gin, like The London No. 1 (SRP $39.99), it's safe to say it won't disappoint. González Byass, the venerable producer of Sherry, wines and spirits, launched this gin in 2006 and has found much success in the company's home country of Spain, as well as worldwide. This beautiful gin starts with high-quality grain spirit from Suffolk and Norfolk, which is triple- distilled in small batches in copper pot stills. It includes 12 botanicals: juniper, coriander, angelica root, lemon peel, cassia, licorice, cinnamon, almond, savory, lily root, orange peel and bergamot, which adds an Earl Grey quality to the gin. A natural process endows it with a turquoise blue that will catch the eye of any consumer. With 47 percent alcohol, the spirit has a well-rounded body and spicy notes, making it the perfect base for every gin drink, especially the classic Gin and Tonic. Tasting Notes Aromas of a sea breeze awaken the senses, light juniper and spearmint an echo in the wind. On the palate, a determined spiciness comes forth, subdued by grapefruit rind, anise and coriander. The faint blue tones of this 94-proof spirit make it memorable; the lingering bright notes keep its elegance fresh on the tongue. 93 GONZALEZ BYASS USA

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