Washington-based craft distillery Heritage Distilling is perhaps best known for their Brown Sugar Bourbon, which appears to have been sold off and become something of celebrity label after entertainer Jamie Foxx made an unspecified investment in the brand in 2021. We reviewed that original expression, along with four whiskeys and a gin, more than five years ago. The distillery has continued to truck along, producing a bevy of craft spirits including another flavored whiskey and no less than 15 (!) different vodkas. We received samples of their standard Elk Rider Vodka, along with three unique, naturally flavored offerings. Thoughts follow.
Heritage Distilling Elk Rider Vodka – Named for the 19th century pioneering family of the current Heritage Distilling owners who were apparently famous for domesticating and riding elk. Distilled from 100% corn. The aroma is light and sweet with a classic, sterile edge showcasing notes of powdered sugar and subtle antiseptic. The palate is well-rounded, if a bit thin, with sweet marshmallow and camphor notes that turn slightly creamy into a gently warming and mildly peppered finish. 80 proof. B+ / $29
Heritage Distilling Lavender Flavored Vodka – The aroma is heavily floral, as advertised. I get the lavender pretty clearly, dried and fragrant followed by an airy sweetness that builds as it sits in the glass. The palate is more generic with a syrupy sweetness that seems to overtake the delicate floral elements which are attempted yet not really achieved. The finish ends up pretty bland and oddly grape-flavored. It will add a lovely purple shade to your cocktail, but I’m not sure much else. 60 proof. B- / $25
Heritage Distilling Huckleberry Flavored Vodka – “Just like eating the berries straight off the bush,” according to the website. The aroma definitely has legs, reaching my nose at least two feet from the freshly poured glass. Buttery notes of blueberry taffy and grape soda are initially aggressive but then surprisingly balanced once things calm down. The palate is similarly measured while still showcasing plenty of tart grape and candied dark berry notes. The finish lingers with more fruit and a somewhat bitter, artificial sweetness. Intended for a cocktail, and go easy on the additional syrups. 60 proof. B / $25
Heritage Distilling Coffee Flavored Vodka – The aroma here is toasty, almost whiskey-like, with more dark caramel and burnt sugar than coffee notes, although I do detect a bit of mild roast underneath it all. The palate is sweeter than the nose foreshadows with an almost coffee syrup quality and a corresponding treacly texture. Again, I’m getting just as much caramel and brown sugar as coffee, but I can see how this one would do the trick in any number of dessert-inspired after dinner drinks. 60 proof. B+ / $25
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