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Joe Legate

Vilya Spirits (formerly known as Ridge Distillery)

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Oh Bill! You know I wear clothes when the weather gets cool. :wave2:

 

Those of you that have been on the Ridge know the care we give our herbs. Not just the Grand Wormwood but the pontica, melissa, angelica, and everything else we use. It was a sad decision but we have a massive pile of wormwood and pontica from summer '10 that didn't make the grade...we pulled it from the stock and now will offer up a huge pyre of burning herbs for Samhain.

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Dammit! That's an excellent idea. Where's a state that allows its inhabitants to open burn herbs when you need it? :3869-sadbanana:

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Those of you that have been on the Ridge know the care we give our herbs. Not just the Grand Wormwood but the pontica, melissa, angelica, and everything else we use. It was a sad decision but we have a massive pile of wormwood and pontica from summer '10 that didn't make the grade...we pulled it from the stock and now will offer up a huge pyre of burning herbs for Samhain.

 

I'm sure if there were any seeds in them there pyre you recovered some of them.

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Sounds like you guys will be having some fun soon! I would also like to reiterate how much I have enjoyed the ridge blanche and verte. You have an interesting wormwood profile there that is distinctly ridge. I wouldn't give it up for anything else in the world. Shine on you crazy diamond! :cheers:

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It was a sad decision but we have a massive pile of wormwood and pontica from summer '10 that didn't make the grade...we pulled it from the stock and now will offer up a huge pyre of burning herbs for Samhain.

A man after my own heart. :dev-cheers:

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It was a sad decision but we have a massive pile of wormwood and pontica from summer '10 that didn't make the grade...we pulled it from the stock and now will offer up a huge pyre of burning herbs for Samhain.

 

:worshippy:

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It was a sad decision but we have a massive pile of wormwood and pontica from summer '10 that didn't make the grade...we pulled it from the stock and now will offer up a huge pyre of burning herbs for Samhain.

 

I second what everyone else has said:

 

:worshippy:

 

also, it seems a fitting offering for the final harvest.

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Capital idea, Jules! :thumbup:

 

 

Please wear nothing when dancing around the fire. :)

 

Fixed.

 

 

Of course, I'd probably be 'fixed', too, if I did that. :twitchsmile:

Edited by Absomphe

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Hey Joe and Jules, I was just wondering from your perspective, how much Ridge verte has changed/evolved since it first came out, and in what ways. I bought two bottles when Frank's first stocked them, and will likely be getting more soon. I'm interested in the journey... the tweaks, and observations you guys, as the artisans, have made to it over the last few batches. Like any artisinal craft, it's a journey, and I know the same thing happens with my guitars; I add a bit of something here, take away a bit something there, etc...

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That really is a good question, Scott.

The "recipe" is fairly locked-in by what we submitted to the TTB for approval. However, the recipe can be tweaked by both technique and quality of ingredients. There is no doubt in my mind that every artisan distiller frequently asks themselves, "What if I ..." because we all wonder, what can I do to make it better? And since we work with such small batches (compared to big distilleries), we all have ample opportunities to play with things.

 

I have a little R&D experiment I want to run this week using a new herb source. They are totally organic which is cool but if the flavor isn't there, screw it. I'm really excited to see how it shakes out.

 

As I was telling another WSer this evening, I really believe our gin, verte and blanche are better now than they have ever been, even better than a few weeks ago. As a distiller, my skills are improving and Jules and I are constantly on the lookout for better herbs, better equipment and better techniques. It rapidly becomes an obsession. :twitchsmile:

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Yup. Same here, I think this is the journey for most craftsmen. In a way, things can take on a life of their own, while we guide and watch, often being surprised at the shifts/changes that are gifted to us by our efforts and passion. One needs to be open enough to let this happen of course... it's important to be aware of. I'm looking forward to trying a newer batch, now that you're cooking is in NY.

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Reminds me of a PB interview three decades ago. They touched on how an artist always want to improve. When confronted with an old work of theirs, they don't see a classic, they just see things they'd like to change.

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I don't think it's so much about seeing what needs to change, though perhaps at first, this may be the case. Later however, people who are creating any art, be it fine art, food, absinthe, guitars, etc... tend to develop a wordless sense of the raw materials, and what they are asking of us.

 

I'd imagine for instance, that even one harvest of herbs can differ from the last, the base may have subtle shifts, and without really quantifying these elements, a distiller with experience will just sense what needs be done. I know this is the same for me; one piece of spruce, for instance, will require little changes in thickness, slightly different bracing, etc... to make it truly sing. It's all done by touch and instinct. In a large factory, all these spruce tops would share the same specs, the same braces, and many would not reach their true potential; those that do, are just by chance. Chance is a bad way to earn a living, and express one's passion.

 

I suspect with distilling, these issues are similar, and this is what gives the small artisinal distiller the ability to produce potentially great work. One of the reasons PF was able to make great absinthe, batch after batch, in such large quantities was the large supply of consistent raw material and its management.

They had great control over this, and from what I understand, commercial distillers today don't have this edge, which is why it's so hard to produce truly great stuff, batch after batch in such large quantities. This is why a seasoned, tuned-in artisinal distiller is so important to us in modern times.

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Have you ever let a guitar leave your shop knowing deep in your heart it was absolutely perfect?

 

I know there are some things that I do over and over trying to improve because even though what I do is decent and well liked by the customer........I'm still thinking I could tweak it a bit more here and there.

 

There are craftsmen I know that are never completely satisfied but the project was the best they could do at that point in time and space.

 

Nothing is ever perfect but lots of things are pretty damn good. Absinthe is a wonderful example.

 

Just rambling on a subject I'm passionate about..........craftsmanship. :)

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You're correct Bill, and this is exactly why I asked Joe the original question! The tweaking you speak of is what makes us grow as craftsmen... it's how we see new details, and come to new understandings about the potential of our materials, and our talents. Some folks are tweakers, others are satisfied to crank the same thing out over and over. I already knew which of those Joe and Jules were.

 

I can only assume that things have evolved for Ridge as more and more batches were made. I remember the stunning improvements in Leopold's for example, that seemed to appear at a certain point in its evolution, likely for these same reasons. Each time we strive to make something better, the next one starts off where the last finished, often going to yet a new level, ad infinitum......

 

I also thought this was a nice discussion...evolution, artistry, passion, results... all things this world can never get enough of, in any form. I suppose the same things apply to us, end-users, when we experience something artisinal; it raises the bar in each of us, we gain more understanding and appreciation, and so the maker is inspired by our feedback to continue seeking.

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so the maker is inspired by our feedback to continue seeking.

Most every distiller here looks forward to feedback.

 

I know I do when it comes to my vocation. :)

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Is this the place to leave a complaint about RIDGE Distillery?

 

Here it is. I have several bottles of your product, and I am beginning to think that there must be a flaw in the bottles that you are using. They are either leaking or not sealing properly. I know this because the contents diminish much too quickly. Certainly more quickly than the other bottles in my bar. Every day I pick up the Ridge bottles and they are either empty or significantly lower in volume than they were the day before. I have to keep putting them outside and opening new ones. Do you know how depressing it is to look at bottles with only a few measly ounces in the bottom?

 

I hope that your customer service department can rectify this situation for me. I would prefer bottles that magically refill overnight, but short of that, I would accept the installation of a three tap Ridge fixture in my bar. I am available every night between 5:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., but be warned, my breath will smell like Silvertip.

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*BIG chuckle*

 

Love it!

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