Head distiller Michael Pizzitelli brings both a background in science and his experience in brewing to Arbutus Distillery’s ever-growing range of botanical-forward spirits.
1890 Boxwood Rd., Nanaimo
• Coven Vodka
• Empiric Gin
• Juniperus Lupulus
• Baba Yaga Absinthe
• Grand Visco Brandy
• Espresso Vodka
FRAGRANCE: Very little alcohol vapour, mild caramel and vanilla.
FLAVOUR: Dark caramel, toast.
FINISH: Long finish of dark toast and caramel.
BEST ENJOYED: Martini or mixed drinks.
THE BOTTOM LINE: With the strong vanilla caramel notes, citrus isn’t the way to go with this one. I’d be interested to see it in an Espresso Martini.
—Trevor Kallies, July 2016
FRAGRANCE: Forest and wood.
FLAVOUR: Extremely rustic.
FEEL: Quite soft.
FINISH: Slight sweetness on the finish.
BEST ENJOYED: Not your usual gin. Could add a rustic twist to a Negroni or work well for a Dirty Martini.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Very unusual and unexpected. The wet hops and aged oak add really intense flavours some may find overpowering in a gin.
—Wendy McGuinness, October 2016
Espresso Infused Vodka
FRAGRANCE: Coffee! Roasted beans.
FLAVOUR: Not overly sweet. Tastes like cold brew.
FEEL: Better than other products — less thick/rich/cloying.
FINISH: Pleasant. Some sugar but not out of control.
BEST ENJOYED: Really cold. Maybe over ice, but dilution isn’t necessary.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Excellent product. If you want an espresso-flavoured spirit, this is worth a shot. —Josh Pape, February 2017
Baba Yaga Genuine Absinthe
FRAGRANCE: Fennel, licorice, citrus.
FLAVOUR: Dash of water, fresh citrus and tons of anise.
FEEL: Medium to full body.
FINISH: Long, hot, super delicious.
BEST ENJOYED: Neat or with a dash of water. A fantastic rinse for your Sazerac.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A very enjoyable absinthe. But be careful! –Scott Barber, June 2017
FRAGRANCE: Full of juniper and lemony citrus aromas.
FLAVOUR: Lemon with a touch of coriander, moving into juniper.
FEEL: Thin, slightly oily. Some heat on the back end.
FINISH: All juniper with the other botanicals taking a step back.
BEST ENJOYED: Some playful Gin & Tonic opportunities here.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Not a bad addition to the gin shelf. —Trevor Kallies, October 2017