Skyy Tasting Notes

Skyy

The USA are probably well-known for their whisky and bourbon more than anything else. But some of the other drink categories are making a charge, with gin names such as No. 209 and Death’s Door coming over the Atlantic, as well as wine brands such as Firesteed and Napa Cellars and craft beers Brooklyn and Blue Moon featuring in many a bar. These are all relatively new, being brought out and released to much fanfare and admiration, but the USA market of anything but whisky may never have got a look in from distributors around the world if it wasn’t for an early 90’s vodka brand – Skyy.

Founded in 1992 in San Francisco by a gentleman named Maurice Kanbar, who had a vision to create an exceptionally smooth vodka. Coming before the likes of Belvedere and Grey Goose, and hot on the heels of a vodka boom during the 80’s with the rise of the Cosmopolitan cocktail, Maurice pioneered the innovative quadruple distillation, triple filtration process that would redefine industry quality standards. With this production method, he was able to achieve his goal of creating a smooth vodka and naming Skyy as a super-premium brand in the process. Skyy formed a partnership with Gruppo Campari, one of the biggest drink companies in the world, which would not only help it expand across the globe, but also give it the recognition Maurice Kanbar gave towards helping fund arts and educational institutes, as well as its many accolades over the years.

So how is it created?

Actual production and bottling of the product is conducted within the Frank-Lin Distillers Products in San Jose, California, whilst the distillation process is housed within a plant in Pekin, Illinois. It’s here that it’s distilled using the four column stills, before undergoing the triple filtration. The water used during the production process is the local Californian water.

So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Skyy – 40%

Clean on the nose with a slight dryness near the end. Smooth on the palate, with a developing sharpness that delivers a warm yet short finish. Second sip does last a little longer though.

Not too bad on its own, but maybe ask your bartender for one of these –

Bellagio
Bellagio

SKYY Bellagio

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients –

60 ml Skyy
30 ml Passion fruit liqueur
30 ml Campari
Splash of sugar syrup
Dash of fresh lemon juice

Method – 

Pour all ingredients over ice and stir. Garnish with an orange slice.

Skyy have also branched out into the flavours market, with names such as citrus, raspberry and passion fruit available here in the UK (there are many more available on your travels including ginger and moscato grape), as well as Skyy 90, created for the connoisseur of Martini and bottled at the slightly higher 45% abv. Maurice hasn’t done a bad job at all, and i personally think he’s created a pretty smooth vodka. Try it for yourself, after all, there’s a reason why it’s won awards including silver in the San Francisco Spirits Competition.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

No. 209 Tasting Notes

No 209

A name derived from the fact that the distillery is the 209th to be registered in the United States. Quite a feat when you think about it, and an apt name for a gin that has been hailed as one of the finest in the market. Not widely available though as it’s only really come across to the UK recently and has yet to truly establish itself, but that doesn’t stop us from grabbing a head start for when you local bar stocks the new gin in town.

The Rudd family came up with the original idea for No. 209 Gin. after in 1999 Leslie Rudd became the new steward of the old Edge Hill winery. When he was surveying the property, he noticed the faintly visible words “Registered Distillery No. 209” painted above the iron doors of what was being used as a hay barn. Unearthing the rest of the story was the point of inspiration for No. 209 Gin and the historical restoration of Edge Hill. So with a background in wine and fine food, owning a restaurant and the Rudd Oakville Estate Winery, they embarked upon the exploratory research to make ‘the finest possible gin with care and intelligence for people who think about what they drink – a gin that reflects the heritage of small batch hand-crafted distilling but is a unique and modern 21st century spirit.’ Quite a feat to achieve, and they did using a combination of between eight and eleven botanicals including juniper, bergamot orange, lemon peel, cardamom pods, cassia bark, angelica root and coriander seeds.

Using a pot still distillation process to extract the botanicals flavours as they are macerated. The base spirit of Midwestern corn and water from the Sierra-Nevada mountains is four times distilled and after letting the botanicals macerate, it is then distilled a fifth time. Then the heads (beginning) and tails (end) of the distillation are discarded, leaving the heart (middle) to be bottled.

The distillery itself can be located on Pier 50 in San Francisco, meaning that No. 209 is created in the worlds only distillery that is built over water.

So how does this gin that reflects the heritage of small-batch fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

No, 209 – 46%

Dominant fresh citrus on the nose with light floral aromas following. Slight sweet start with a hint of spice on the palate that develops significantly. Rather warming near the end that creates an incredibly long finish.

A great tipple, and one that can also be enjoyed as the base for a cocktail –

Negroni
Negroni

Negroni

Glass – 

Tumbler

Ingredients –

30 ml No. 209
30 ml Campari
30 ml Sweet Vermouth

Method – 

Combine all ingredients over ice and stir.  Shake and strain into a tumbler glass.  Garnish with orange peel.

A great find, and one to look out for as I’m sure many bars will be taking full advantage of this brand.

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at 24 Bar and Grill, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.