|© Sound Spirits
As per usual, I took a few days off to go visit my family in Seattle over Christmas. On Boxing Day we all decided to try the city's first distillery, Sound Spirits. Noticeable only because of the tentacles painted on the wall, the distillery is tucked in between two other businesses and is somewhat easy to miss while driving down W 15th Ave.
Started by Steve Stone about three years ago due in part to the fact that Steve met Christian Krogstad of House Spirits. After putting together a business plan, acquiring space and the necessary permits, the distillery is now up and running. So far he has put out a barley-based Ebb + Flow vodka and is also doing an Ebb + Flow gin, which was completely spoken for by the time we got there. The gin was, incredibly good and smoother than any other I've tried. While I like drinks a lot, straight liquor usually makes me sputter a bit, but that gin had barely any burn at all. The particular batch we had (the first production run) clearly still had some rough edges to work off as it was a bit cloudy, probably from the citrus oils coming out of solution when the gin was brought down to proof. But I'm not one to care so much about appearance, especially when the flavor is good. The E+F gin is definitely in the New West mold, with subdued juniper and a fairly citrus-heavy flavor profile. While none of the other botanicals jumped out at me, it seemed to be a nice and balanced mix. This is something that I could easily imagine drinking with a couple dashes of bitters and nothing else. While I'm normally loath to make the "this is too good for cocktails" claim, any drink you put it into would be better off highlighting the gin rather than swamping it.
We also got to try an experimental herbal liqueur that Steve described as harkening back to spirits like Chartreuse or Benedictine, so it's distinctly sweet, floral and herbaceous. While I didn't hear anything about a release date, I'm really looking forward to trying that liqueur again. Bonus points if the price point is a tick bit lower than either of those established products, which hopefully won't be too hard to do.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the products that Sounds Spirits is putting out. While it's clearly early days, there's a lot of potential and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do in the future. Here's to the expansion of distilling in the Northwest!