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Joe Legate

Vilya Spirits (formerly known as Ridge Distillery)

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I'm sharing a post I made on Vilya's Facebook page, and on my FB "Absinthe Antiques" group, from yesterday. These guys deserve the accolades, after tasting this new batch of Vilya Blanche:

 

Dear Joe and Jules, I'm enjoying a glass of a very recent Vilya blanche, the latest to arrive on my doorstep. I thought I'd let you know my thoughts. Please forgive me if I am verbose...I'm going to have fun with this, so be warned. First, the aroma... wonderful, fresh, clean... As water was added the scent of the best (and there are only a few that I would call great) Swiss la bleues rose from the glass, but with something else... I would call it complexity, but that word is too harsh for the soft edges of other elements that I noticed. I actually found myself smelling the absinthe over and over again, before I took my first sip. This first sip revealed a perfect blend of the herbs, and an amazing wormwood. The lightest of pepper and citrus built slowly in a gentle tingle in the finish. This is hands-down, the best blanche available in the USA, and I would put it up there with one or two very special Swiss la Bleues. It is better than 90% of the euro blanches or la bleues I've had, and I've had a lot of them. It is artful, and delicious. I can only imagine how this will taste with a little age on it. When someone here in the USA asks me what to buy, this will be one of the suggestions every time. For people who think they don't like blanches...they have not had this. There is a purity here that cuts right to the heart of absinthe. In a blind test, I would NEVER have guessed it was from the USA, and I mean that in a way to honor your herb bill; many people feel only euro wormwood is good enough, they clearly, have not tasted this. I'm so happy to know you, and to have seen your passion grow into art, in such a short time. I will repost this on my absinthe antiques group, BTW. It's the right thing to do... people should know about this absinthe.

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You're still not getting Joe's Bud Lite™, Scott. :tongue:

 

But after reading that paean to Vilya Blanche, I might just have to keep some on hand, particularly in the summer.

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Thanks, everyone. We finally had a little time to sit down and honestly ask ourselves, "Can we do better?" The Blanche was our first target for improvement and despite the pimples (how Julie describes a young absinthe), we think the improvement is notable. Strangely enough, the herb bill is relatively unchanged. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks! The vast majority of the "new and improved" is still comfortably resting in the distillery. We'll let everyone here know when it ships to our distributor.

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I've only had one bottle of each of your offerings (waaaay back when it was Ridge) but they were both on my favorites for sure. I wish there was a place that stocked you locally, it would make it so much easier for me to pick up more.

 

I think your blanche is my favorite of the blanches we have had.

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Just bought a bottle of your Verte and had two glasses on Sunday, never had such a nice Absinthe before absolutely wonderful.

 

I was surprised to see it was available at a local Bevmo and bought it on impulse on the spot. Must have been there a while because it still had the Ridge Distillery label and the batch number written on the side was 54.

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Does Catskill Cellars stock the newest batch?

This batch is still comfortably resting in the distillery. We'll keep it there for as long as possible. ;)

CC is great for trying to keep everything they can in stock.

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I've seen talk about how great a batch is from time to time, and thought "I have to get some!" Sometimes it's possible, and others, not. I'd imagine distribution has just as much to do with it as the production. I remember recently Joe posted about I believe, batch 77 being very special. By the time Catskill Cellars had Vilya in stock, they were way past that batch... I loved it anyway.

 

At this point, I've decided not to concern myself about batch numbers, and just support the distillers I care about, by buying whatever is available, when I'm in the market to buy something. With certain absinthes like L'Ancienne, for example, we know there's only one batch per year (or two) and only so many bottles... that's a different story.

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True, true... Please bear in mind, we are perhaps the country's smallest micro-distillery and a "Batch" for us is laughably small for any distillery of size. We don't mind. We treat each run of the still lovingly and tend to it personally from start to finish. There aren't many distillers that mean "Small Batch" as definitively as we mean small batch! :laugh:

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They'll make some pretty rugrats, too. Likable, even.

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As promised, a few photos from a very special event:

th_Ceremony1_zpsd8190dc0.jpg Bride, officiant and Groom in action.

 

th_Ceremony2_zps9f509f87.jpg Excellent refreshments!

 

th_Ceremony3_zps6cdd4b7a.jpg MPC & Ron

 

th_Ceremony4_zps083bf99b.jpg Brenda, Bill, Ron MPC

 

th_ceremony5_zpsa4181749.jpg The Groom

 

th_ceremony6_zps1cdb23f5.jpg The Evil

 

th_Ceremony7_zpscd9f041c.jpg Maggie the Cat and a random stalker

 

th_Ceremony8_zps5d92bb01.jpg Lots of old friends meeting again

 

th_Ceremony9_zpse91bcab1.jpg Yeah, we had a great time!

 

Thanks, Nathan. Much love to you and your bride and many, many years of happiness. :cheers:

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