This past Sunday, The Liquorists hosted an event at there speakeasy HQ to coincide with the Manchester Food and Drink Festival and highlight the ever popular trend of matching food with spirits. On offer for the night was to be the Herefordshire based Chase who have been basking in the storm of late regarding there ever popular portfolio. On hand to teach and create were The Liquorists themselves Tom Sneesby and Jody Monteith, with Tom explaining the origins of Chase distillery –
A farmer of 20 years, William Chase had been growing potatoes to supply to the supermarkets as a commodity, but started to feel disheartened after he receives no feedback from the end customer. With prices rising, William decides to branch away from the supermarket scene with the idea of turning his potatoes into chips. During 2002, he travelled the world sourcing equipment and recipes to make potato chips. By the summer, ‘Tyrrells’ was rolling out, kick starting the homemade chips scene.
The creation of vodka though? That was more an accident. Whilst in the USA in 2004, William stumbled upon a small distillery whilst searching for packaging equipment – the distillery was producing potato vodka. So with his very own eureka moment, he sourced a bespoke rectifying column and started work on creating his very own homemade potato vodka.
From the idea in 2004, it took until April fool’s day 2008 to make the first of their potatoes and then make the first batch of vodka in June 2008. Despite having only a small volume output of 1000 litres for 16 tonnes of potatoes in its first run, William Chase prides himself on supreme quality over other mass-produced vodka.
Over the course of the evening we were treated to 4 different products from the Chase portfolio, with a matching food item to compliment each as well as a cocktail using the product as its base. Below I give to you my notes on each –
Chase Vodka – 40%
Aromas of vanilla and butter mix well in the nose as the flavours of potato, butter and slight almond/vanilla surround your taste-buds. A smooth feel with a mellow aftertaste with great longevity. Slight black cracked pepper finish.
Enjoyed with olives and tomatoes as well as a John Collins – a refreshing mix of Chase vodka, castor sugar, lemon and topped with sparkling water and garnished with a grapefruit peel.
Williams Gin – 48%
Distilled from organic apples, there’s lots of fresh green apple aromas on the nose which carries on to the palate, although a little bolder flavour. Hints of citrus mix to produce a smooth, longevity.
Enjoyed with a cracker that upon it had stilton, plum and gooseberry chutney as well as a cocktail with no name (surely Thrill of the Chase?!) that combined Williams gin, applejack, lemon, sugar and St. Germaine elderflower liqueur.
Chase Smoked Vodka – 40%
A small batch production of just 1000 bottles. Light smoke notes on the nose but bursts out as it hits the palate with a creamy potato texture. A long finish, albeit dry.
Enjoyed with Scottish smoked salmon, black pepper and cream cheese as well as a twist on the Vesper. Jody used Smoked vodka, Chase vodka and Williams gin, Taylor’s white port, orange bitters and the zest of a lemon to create a long, delicate drink that was very well-balanced.
Chase Marmalade – 40%
Created using Chase vodka and marinated with Seville orange marmalade in the gin still. It is then boiled up and infused with Seville orange peel in their copper still. Giving a slight clear golden colour when poured and on the nose it gives off a subtle marmalade and orange aroma that smells fresh and inviting. On the palate, the marmalade gives off a stronger scent with a rather sweet and a slight bitterness from the orange, leaving a warm feeling and goes down well with a long lingering follow-up.
Enjoyed with vanilla ice cream and limoncello, which was surprisingly subtle and refreshing, as well as a Negroni twist named Marmalade Spagliato – the use of Chase Marmalade, sweet vermouth, Campari and topped with Prosecco.
Chase Potato Bramley Apple Vodka – 40%
Bramley Apples are distilled with Naked Chase Apple Vodka. Light with kicks of apple on the nose that follows nicely onto the palate. A tangy yet crisp mouth feel gives a short profile.
The evening was a fantastic insight into a company that has been making lots of noise for a couple of years now, and although I’ve experienced there range many times before, you really don’t have to give a seconds thought of whether to give it all another go!
Plus any excuse to hang out at The Liquorists HQ.
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