Reviews Spirits

Ragged Branch Wheated Bourbon, 92 Points

Ragged Branch Wheated Bourbon Whiskey is the four-year-old brainchild of Alex Toomy (owner of Ragged Branch) and the late, great distiller, Dave Pickerell. The whiskey was released in September of last year and since then it’s received its share of positive reviews from consumer and trade journals. And it’s about to get another one from us.

90 proof, Ragged Branch Wheated Bourbon Whiskey includes 66% corn, and 17% malted barley and is distinctly Virginia.

Bare Bone Vodka, 96 Points

The case is made time and again. A vodka must have something different to justify its space on the already overcrowded shelves at on- and off-premise. Why take down one vodka to make room for another? The answer is always the same: flavor profile. Bare Bone Vodka is proof that if the product in the bottle stands out, then the trade, and ultimately the consumer, will make room for it.

Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka, 90 Points

Flavored spirits are always a challenge, in large part because one of the reviewer’s tasks is to suggest a prospective place in the cocktailian’s toolkit. That said, while not an extraordinary sipper, I think this Nemiroff entry has a place in that toolkit. Cocktail Recommendation: A classically-rendered Sherry Cobbler, but with the Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka subbing for sherry, resulting in a comparatively high-proof refresher served over pebbled ice.

Three Olives Rosé Vodka

This is a new entry in an increasingly crowded field. While I won’t be sipping this neat, I can see myself serving it on the rocks with a splash of soda and enjoying it with friends on a warm summer’s evening. Cocktail Recommendation: This is a tough one, in part because I have trouble imagining wanting to modify this very delicate juice, in part because, in a manner of speaking…

Seattle Distilling Vodka

This vodka is no blank canvas. In fact, it’s one of the more distinctive ones I’ve tasted, and its price reflects that. Cocktail Recommendation: Because it’s characterful to the point of aggressive, I don’t think it’s a sipper. Rather, I think its highest and best use is in any standard vodka cocktail where one wants the vodka to play a featured role and not serve as mere spirited background.