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hell would you buy bulk NS produced in a much more sophisticated and efficient facility and utilize your assets and time to make something more neutral? I am not a businessman, but that seems like a pretty dumb idea. Some producers will perform proprietary filtering methods to add to the ethos of their brand. Now, I am not saying there is no reason to filter, as science tells us there are plenty of benefits in doing so. But again, why if you are buying bulk NS? Buy better NS or request a more in-depth certificate of analysis. If you are a distiller and absolutely insist on filtering your NS through dragon glass and coconut husk, then I will require empirical statistically significant data to validate improvement. This can be performed by any number of analytical labs with a GCMS. I understand if these approaches are necessary to keep the proverbial lights on in a budding company — hell, I like money too, but this exacerbates the issues within the category. There is hope, though. Poland produces beautiful vodkas that are full of character and are anything but boring. There is a resurgence of single estate grain vodkas with depth and personality. One individual producer actually distills a single-varietal potato vodka to 160 proof. Now, you can’t call it vodka, and you have to go to the distillery and wait in line to purchase this product, but at least it’s going against the grain (another pun intended). These products can drink like what you wish white dog did. Remember that trend? White dog ryes and corn whiskeys? Well, everything those weren’t, these vodkas can be. This isn’t limited to European producers either. American distillers are taking an approach that goes beyond ultimate rectification and reflux to neutrality. Becoming more popular is the choice of specific raw materials and performing distillations with restraint. Keeping true to the raw materials’ attributes. Producers at all levels are starting to accept vodka with character and hopefully the consumer is following suit. I should disclose that this is all self-serving. I am in fact a modern western vodka producer. Vodka has been one of the greatest challenges I have had as both a producer and consumer. So I have set out to create something I actually want to drink. I want to not judge someone for ordering a vodka on the rocks — I have plenty of other things to judge them for. Alright. I’m going to pour myself some NS because I find it inherently smooth.

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Jason Zeno is director of operations at Porchjam Distillery in New Orleans, Louisiana. Visit www.porch-jam.com for more info.

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Profile for Artisan Spirit Magazine

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2020  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2020  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

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