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Dry Fly Distilling's Wheat Gin, Vodka, and Whiskey

Dry Fly Distilling

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


In Spokane, Washington lies a distillery that in its few short years has fervently pursued the art of craft distilled spirits. The three spirits from Dry Fly Whiskey are each impressive, and as a portfolio a fine testament to what the "little guy" can do, which is what makes the liquor industry so interesting to follow. I was turned on to Dry Fly by Lance Mayhew who reviewed the distillery's Wheat Whiskey and I recently had the chance to review that spirit along with the award-winning gin and vodka. These spirits are made with locally sourced ingredients and have a fascinating wheat base you cannot ignore.

Dry Fly Vodka

Dry Fly Vodka was the most surprising of the three liquors from the distillery. I was expecting an "average" vodka, but much to my surprise this was by no means a "tasteless" vodka. This vodka has clear, soft flavor that is a combination of fruit and rose, which is likely due to its wheat base. I find this fascinating because many craft vodka distillers do the same thing and I compare Mayhew's "local" distillery to the one in my own backyard because Clear Heart Vodka has a distinct apple flavor. This aspect of finding something (such as flavor) in a "flavorless" spirit is what, in my opinion, makes craft distillers such fun to explore.

If you have tasted G'Vine Floraison Gin you will notice similarities between it and Dry Fly Vodka. There's a sweet rose bouquet to the vodka that made me double check that I hadn't accidentally poured the gin, and its something that I haven't tasted in a vodka so my only comparison is to G'Vine - which in itself is on that fine line of gin or vodka. I enjoyed Dry Fly Vodka so much that I went back and found myself enjoying G'Vine more than I had initially.

This is a vodka that is very pleasant, uplifting and noticeably has a wheat base, which is a nice change of pace. It is a smooth sipper, ideal for drinking straight and would be fantastic in fruit and herbal cocktails, especially those with a vibrant spring and summer feel.

Tasting Notes:
The nose is a delicate fruity rose mixed with sweet grains. The palate is a darker wheat, ultra silky smooth, and delicately floral, while the finish is long, semi-peppery, and filled with botanicals.

Dry Fly Washington Dry Gin

Much like Dry Fly Vodka, the gin is distilled from Eastern Washington soft winter wheat, which brings a sweetness aspect to the spirit. The flavorings are also locally sourced and include juniper, dried Washington apple, mint, and hops.

The overall profile is soft and this is perfect for those who enjoy the softer side of gins, especially those who typically prefer vodka. The mint gives this gin a refreshing taste even though it is barely noticeable and the apple brings in a hint of fruit that is a nice change of pace from gins that typically use dried orange. The odd thing, which is not necessarily a drawback, is that the juniper is rather transparent, making its strongest appearance in the finish.

Dry Fly Gin is certainly a modern-style gin and one that some may say is crossing that fine line between gin and flavored vodka. I have tasted others that have violated the distinction to a greater degree and there are noticeable aspects of traditional gin in this one, which is nice to see. However, if you're seeking a gin for a classically flavored Martini this is not it, instead you will get a softer Martini. Where I think this gin can really shine is in an Aviation, Pegu Club, Chartreuse Martini, or any drink with a soft fruit and botanical flavor balance.

Tasting Notes:
The nose is a sweet juniper and apple mix with the slightest hint of refreshing mint. The palate is soft, vibrant, and filled with a delicate balance of botanicals and apple. It finishes as gently as it began in a short, clean, and invigorating manner.

Dry Fly Wheat Whiskey

After tasting Dry Fly Wheat Whiskey I have to agree wholeheartedly with the review Lance Mayhew gave, so instead of reiterating those thoughts I will allow you to read that account: Dry Fly Wheat Whiskey Reviewed.

What I will say is that this is one of the most impressive wheat whiskies I've had to date and tasting it is a journey. I really enjoyed the joyride of the experience, which progresses from the sweeter nose to the spicy-sweet taste to the final spicy finish. It's a whiskey that will be a fantastic cocktail mixer in a Manhattan, Fancy Whiskey, and the like if you can get your hands on it, which is its one downfall. March 2010 will see the third batch released and it is likely to disappear as fast as the first two, but that is the price we pay for falling for small batch spirits and it is a worthy sacrifice.

Update: Dry Fly Distilling now also produces a bourbon. Read Lance Mayhew's review of Dry Fly Bourbon Whiskey...

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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