A non-spirit-drinking person has done a spirit-tasting thing AND HAS REVIEWS OF THINGS FOR YOU. Or as much as she remembers. But they gave me a little piece of paper, so I can go off that.
Okay. Last week I did a brewery tour at Ballast Point and the distillery and associated spirit tasting room looked so utterly cool (giant copper things with windows! stainless steel Macguyverisms! things with a million little pipes all over!) that I pretty much immediately nabbed my sister for a tasting as soon as she was both available and didn't have to work right after.
This timeslot then got scheduled for something else and we ended up, instead, having six kinds of liquor at one in the afternoon. And some beer tasters after.
ADULTING. FUCK YEAH.
Now, I will freely admit that I tend to be more enamored by the creation of alcoholic beverages than the actual consumption (except beer) so I can't give all that much more detail than "better than Fireball or Cotton Candy Vodka." But I shall do my damndest!
Fugu Vodka: This… is a good example of what I was just saying. It was a liquid that was ethanol and water. It did not make me hate the boundary conditions of the universe for allowing the world to exist in such a way that this vodka could be in the same room with me. So that was good. Definitely an improvement on the other vodkas I've had. It was very clean. Water and ethanol. I felt okay that this existed in the universe, and more specifically in my mouth.
Old Grove Gin: Niiice. It was supposed to be pretty junipery, but I mostly got rose petals. I though this was maybe just because I had more experience with rose petals and honestly wasn't exactly sure what juniper was supposed to taste like, but the impression continued even after the guy leading the tasting let me smell a jar of juniper berries lying around. Overall I liked it a lot. It tasted sort of like a light afternoon's gardening—earth and fragrant plants.
Three Sheets Rum: Also nice! It was sweet and mellow. Not sugary exactly, but it gave the impression of things I think of as sweet. My little sheet thing says it had "dulce de leche/caramel" flavors from the sugarcane. Sure? I'll go with that, I guess?
Three Sheets Barrel Aged Rum: I'd thought I'd liked the last one a lot, but found I liked this one more. Much more. It seemed a bit earthy in a good way, which is probably what the sheet thing calls "tobacco notes," and it was also pretty vanilla-y. And it was also sweet-ish the way the unaged rum was. Come to think of it, it sort of tasted like my favorite perfume smells. Shit, now that I think about it the gin tasted like that other perfume I like. Is that normal? I guess I know what to look for in a liquor now, anyway.
Horchata Vodka: I don't entirely understand this. I mean, it was delicious. Not at all what I was expecting, though. It looked, smelled and tasted pretty much exactly like a good, cinammony horchata (incredibly sweet, though—I might have felt more iffy about that part if it had come first in the tasting) where you could only just barely get a hint of alcohol. But I don't really get it. I mean, I can just get horchata somewhere and put vodka in it, right? Or I guess use horchata powder with vodka subbing for some of the water? Probably I'm missing something incredibly obvious. But if it had been available to buy there (not actually available anywhere yet) my sister would have bought a bottle for sure.
Devil's Share Bourbon: Vanilla-y, bourbony, nice and smooth. My descriptive powers and memory are failing me now that I'm almost done. I did like it a lot, though. Um, the little flyer says "malty," which might have been why I liked it. Also "tropical fruit notes" but I couldn't pick that out at all.
My favorites: The barrel-aged rum and the bourbon, definitely.
What I wanted more of than the legally-mandated 1/4 oz: Everything but the vodka.