Tag Archives: distillery tour

Left Turn Distillery

left turn distillery

Left Turn Distilling is the first distillery in Albuquerque, based on the research I’ve done. They’re making La Luz Vodka and Brothers Old Tom Gin right now, with plans for much more in the future.

The distillery is in an industrial part of Albuquerque and is a decent-sized facility with custom stills made by owner and distiller Brian Langwell. Brain was a welder in his former life, but has been home distilling since he got a chemistry set at 15. In the distillery, there’s a small tasting room where you can taste and buy their vodka or gin, with cocktail options too.

I’ve tried both of their current liquors, and they’re excellent. Yeah, maybe there’s 5% hometown pride in my taste buds (I blog from Albuquerque), but I’ve had a lot of booze, and these have a flavor that can rival top-shelf products.

La Luz Vodka is corn-based and sourced locally. I’m really fond of the syrupy sweetness a corn vodka can have, and La Luz is no exception. It has no harsh alcohol burn and is sweet on the tongue. This can easily take the place on your home bar shelf as a sipper or a mixer.

Brothers Old Tom Gin is one of less than ten Old Toms that are commercially distilled in the world. the Old Tom variety of gin hearkens back to the Gin Craze when folks drank gin out of wooden cats on the sides of bar walls. Gin of those days was sweet and high-citrus, usually to mask sinister ingredients like turpentine or acid. So how do you create a quality gin that’s based on its “bathtub” cousin? Ask Brain Langwell at Left Turn, because he did a great job.

I personally prefer a high-juniper gin and love the piney bite of a London Dry. I was admittedly nervous when Brian described Brothers as higher in citrus, less juniper, and basket vapor infused (like Bombay Sapphire). I was relieved to taste a quality gin with a nice bite, with just a touch of sweet that lingers on your tongue. The balance of flavors is great – this is a botanical-driven gin, and Brothers Old Tom has a flavor that a gin lover would appreciate, but it’s very unique – remember, there’s less than 10 of these in the world. This is an easy gin to drink straight, but the bottle also hails it as a “fine cocktail gin” too.

Left Turn is off to a great start, and Brian told me to expect whiskey and rum soon. With Left Turn Distilling’s products only available locally right now, the only bad news is that you have to come visit Albuquerque to try them.

206 Distillery in Seattle

206 distillery

I had the opportunity to visit 206 Distillery in downtown Seattle recently, who make Counter Gin and Batch 206 Vodka, and got a tour from Rusty Figgins, their master distiller. Rusty let us start with a small (1/2 oz) colder-than-freezing taste of their vodka, which was good but not particularly different for other mid-range vodkas I’ve tried.  After my palate was cleared, I had an ice-cold sip of their gin.

Rusty then showed us the distilling chambers and some of the new projects they’re working on, which were aging in barrels at the time (hint: whiskey and brandy) and let us see the clean red wheat that their vodka is distilled from.

206 distillery

All in all, it was a fun day, and Rusty is a lot of fun to hang out with. I bought a bottle of Counter Gin for $25, and it’s been well worth it. The gin is great, a good strong taste, very botanical. Rusty showed me the various botanics that go into the gin as part of the tour. To give it a review, it’s got plenty of juniper flavor and some burn, and I’d call it a gin-lover’s gin, which is to say it’s not as smooth and friendly as Hendrick’s is to the common man.