ROLLING RIVER SPIRITS VODKA
100% Grain Vodka 80 Proof Portland, OR, USA
When I received this bottle of Rolling River Vodka, I had a few expectations. I have a loose (okay, very loose) network of folks who clue me in on what’s happenin’ in far-flung places that I don’t have time (or sometimes interest) to see for myself. Portland isn’t all that far away and I get down there fairly often but I hadn’t been to RR to taste. I sure heard about it, though. Brewers and winemakers and bloggers and readers had all told me, “You GOTTA go to Rolling River…dude.” So – ignoring the “dude” thing – I had made an actual paper note that says, “Visit Rolling River Spirits“, which sits in my sad, busted-ass, old canvas wallet right now. Little did I suspect that Rolling River would wind up coming to me.
Boy…am I glad they did! This is, sports fans, a splendid Vodka. Splendid…there’s no other accurate word. I’ve now tasted it neat, on the rocks, from the freezer, mixed into Bloody Marys and Vodka Tonics, and even used it in a bread recipe. Flawless. It shows a subtle but very distinct botanical character – rosemary, parsley, bay laurel, citrus peels, anise, and other fleeting flavors – and is even graced with some interesting notess like lavender, heather, pink peppercorns, and teaberry. It’s complex, which is not an adjective usually found hangin’ around the Vodka end of the Booze Spectrum. It sports a lovely subdued burn that just gilds the smooth texture and even has a gentle cooling effect when sipped neat. This Vodka absolutely screams “Oregon!” in the best possible meaning of that term: pure water, magnificent grains and botanicals, and a skill level that’s immediately a couple of notches higher than most other regions, just because Oregon’s distillers realize that A Rising Tide Floats All Boats. For a fairly new company, whose Whiskey is not even out of the barrel yet(!), Rolling River just killed their first offering and I’m crazy eager to taste their Gin. This is a gorgeous, generous, wildly-versatile addition to the emerging Northwest distilling community and makes Rolling River Spirits an outfit to watch…closely. 95 Points