In the heart of Williamsburg, several different craft spirit proprietors came together to trade recipes, distillation processes, craft secrets, and fandom – not unlike the underlying goal of craftspiritexchange.com, which launched a few weeks ago.
CSX’s mission is to “connect enthusiasts and novices alike with a broad selection of amazing spirits, and provide exclusive access to rare and limited release products around the world.” This is a platform dedicated to the most passionate producers, as well as consumers of high quality spirits, who geek out over things like barrels and aging and mixology 101.
Craft Spirit Exchange is the first of its kind, an online community for lovers of small batch, family-owned and distributed liquor. It focuses on a marketplace of goods and services, a place where people of all walks can come together to exchange ideas (as well as place orders). It’s a place to celebrate a love of artisanal wares through member reviews, tasting notes, and lively discussion.
In the spirit of the launch, below are some of our tasting notes on the producers we had the opportunity to chat with about the products that drive their business, and the passion that fuels that production.
With a distillery located nearby at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, this five year old New York City producer of whiskey, bourbon and moonshine was founded and run by people who love whiskey. Kings County utilizes New York grain in conjunction with traditional distilling equipment to produce every ounce of its liquor in Brooklyn. All of their products maintain the same 80% corn, 20% barley ratio, and are aged in American oak charred barrels for 18-24 months, creating a slightly smoky feel on top of other flavors traditionally associated with aging in American oak: vanilla, caramel, and toffee.
Already a big fan of Kings County bourbon, the Chocolate Whiskey that I sampled was absolutely incredible, and nothing like any sort of chocolate flavored, after-dinner liqueur I’ve ever had before. In collaboration with another successful Brooklyn based producer, Mast Brothers Chocolate, rather than infusing actual chocolate, this product utilizes the husks from the cocoa beans (which are normally thrown away) to be steamed over the moonshine for two to three months. This delicate process lends the whiskey a musky, rich and complex flavor profile that delights the senses.
“Imagine it’s the first cold night of the season. You curl up by a roaring fire with a good book, and a lovely crystal snifter that is aching to be swirled with Prichard’s Fine Rum, a ‘remarkable rum bouquet that keeps you searching from start to finish,’ and is affectionately referred to as the ‘brandy of rums.'”
Hailing from Kelso and Nashville, Tennessee, this charming husband and wife duo really set the scene for you before you sample their products, and it only adds to the allure of their rums and whiskey. With an extensive portfolio ranging from mild to spicy to sweet, each bottle has clearly been contemplated and distilled with care. If you ever have a chance to sample their wares, they are an entertaining and educated group of liquor enthusiasts.
A bit tenuous around Scotch (or any whisky without an ‘e’, for that matter), a lovely sales representative named David held my timid, Scotch averse hand through this tasting. Whiskymaker John Glaser “handpicks casks from Scottish distilleries and blends flavors together to create compelling and unique whiskys.”
The Spice Tree blend was my favorite, something David told me is common among rye drinkers. The clove and ginger flavors set against a berry-like fruitiness and maltiness created an easy drinking, not intimidating version of scotch that was not only palatable but enjoyable. It definitely opened my eyes to the possibility of sampling scotches moving forward.
In order to encourage the “exchange” portion of the site’s launch, Craft Spirits Exchange has two promotions simultaneously. The first is to text your tasting notes to 85775 in order to receive an exclusive invite to join. The second is to sign up, leave a review, and get 10% off your first order.
Be sure to check it out at www.drinkCSX.com or follow on social media @DrinkCSX #drinkbetterspirits
Twisted Talk: Have you tried any of these spirits before? Will you join Craft Spirits Exchange? Discuss below!