The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2017

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october 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  99 Sugar and Spice: Heritage Distilling Co. After Washington State legalized distilling in 2008, Justin Stiefel decided to use his background in chemical engineering to produce craft spirits using an Italian-made still, the first in North America. A few years later, his Heritage Distilling Co. launched its Brown Sugar Bourbon (BSB) expression to rave reviews. Made without any artificial ingredients or coloring, BSB's mashbill consists of corn, rye, and malted barley. It ages for a little under two years in new American oak charred barrels before the distiller adds brown sugar and cinnamon for natural flavoring. Bringing up the heat, BSB 103 has the same base, but is cut with less water; sitting at 103-proof, it's the first over-proofed flavored bourbon on the market. This pair of bourbons gives bartenders— whether at home or at an account—options for making the perfect fall cocktail or simply enjoying a taste of the season on the rocks. Heritage Distilling Co. "BSB" Brown Sugar Bourbon ($30) Flavored with brown sugar and a hint of cinnamon, this 60-proofer brings out the sweet sensations of the flavors with an impact of the brown spirit on the finish. Cool notes of orange peel and nutmeg add dimension. 90 —M.M. Heritage Distilling Co. "BSB 103" High-Altitude Brown Sugar Bourbon ($45) At 103-proof, the brown sugar and cinnamon aromas and flavors are a bit more subdued, but authentic and pleasant on the nose and palate. Lively notes of orange peel, peach, and white pep- per accent the spirit. 92 —M.M. HERITAGE DISTILLING CO. The Liqueur of Silk and Honey: Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs Western Washington's Sam Desner, owner of Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs, takes small batch spirits seriously—he makes his 22 different liqueurs in just one-gallon batches, allowing him to produce creative flavors you won't see elsewhere. One of his newer expressions, Honeybush (SRP $35.99), features an indigenous plant from the island of Madagascar that until now has mainly been used in teas. This complex and unique spirit has a spiciness and smokiness and finishes with rare fruit notes, allowing it to pair well with whiskey or integrate beautifully to a fruit base. With over 150 more flavors on the list to experiment with, we can only wait eagerly to see what Desner will add next to his already impressive portfolio. Salish Sea Honeybush Liqueur ($36) At 38.8% ABV, the pretty fragrances of jasmine and honey-coated tangerine are pleasurable. Lilting notes of desert flowers, apricot, orange peel, and ginger float across the tongue. 94 —M.M. SALISH SEA ORGANIC LIQUEURS Turning Up the Night: EasyRhino and PinkKitty Robert Tushinsky grew up watching his father tweak his vodka with additions of berries and herbs—a process that aimed, as Tushinsky eventually learned, to enhance libido. After uncovering this secret, he decided to create his own line of spirits infused with herbs and specially tailored to each gender for a taste of intensified intimacy. Designed for men, EasyRhino features the botanicals ashwagandha, epimedium, and muira puama, along with cinnamon blood orange and a touch of vanilla. For the ladies, PinkKitty increases passion with Avena sativa, damiana, and maca root, as well as peach and pomegranate. These expressions bring a whole new meaning to temptation. PinkKitty Liqueur ($30) The scent of cinnamon enhances the aromas of pome- granate and peach. On the palate, hints of white pepper co-mingle with herbs and fruit. It's a purr-fect drink for getting in the mood. 89 —M.M. EasyRhino Liqueur ($30) Subtle notes of vanilla and chamomile allow you to look into the eyes of the Rhino without blinking. But the beast goes into action on the palate with peppered honey and hot cinnamon. 90 —M.M. 2XL SWAGGER

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