Accolades: Boyd & Blair’s Potato Vodka Lands at #4 on Ultimate Spirits Challenge List

Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka

Pittsbugh’s Pennsylvania Pure Distillers is celebrating today as its Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka is the number one vodka and number four overall spirit in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge Top 100 Spirits List for 2020. The list is judged by blind panels of experts in multi-stage assessments.

The Challenge includes entries from 45 countries and 96 brands. Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka, which starts with Pennsylvania grown potatoes stood out among brandy, gin, whisk(e)y and other spirits to finish in the top five overall. It was also one of four vodkas in the top 100 and 20 places above the next closest vodka.

Boyd & Blair’s Potato Vodka is described by the judges as having:

Fresh aromas of minerals and cotton are soft and elegant. The round and plush texture fill the mouth with a subtle earthy sweetness as hints of lime zest shine through. Ultimately refined, it is a delight to sip on straight or mixed into any cocktail.

2020 Ultimate Spirits Challenge – Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka (score of 98)

The Potato Vodka wasn’t the only spirit to place on the Ultimate Spirits Top 100 list from Pennsylvania Pure. Their BLY Silver Rum scored a 95, good enough for #75 on the list.

Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka is available widely in Pennsylvania’s Fine Wine & Good Spirits shops as well as direct from the distillery and from Art in the Age across the state in Philadelphia.

UPDATED: Barrel Swap Leads To Two New Spirits

Maggie's Farm 50/50 Rum Finished in Bourbon Barrel

Maggie’s Farm Rum and Liberty Pole Spirits have come together to do a barrel trade. Liberty Pole gave Maggie’s Farm a freshly dumped bourbon cask and Maggie’s sent Liberty Pole a used dark rum cask.

Maggie’s Farm took their normal “50/50” dark rum and finished aging it in that bourbon barrel. Maggie’s Farm founder Tim Russell says, “we’ve done bourbon barrel finishes with this rum before, but we really took our time with this one and even did some additional blending. I’m definitely proud of this one now, but I think I’ll still be proud of it a few years from now (which you know is rare if you know me).”

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Wigle’s Limoncello Returns

Wigle Limoncello

It’s good to see Wigle Whiskey is back to their relentless release schedule, even if it occasionally makes this website look like a Wigle announcement board. But what do you know, Wigle has another release set for today, Thursday, September 24th. This time it is their Limoncello’s chance to grab headlines.

For each batch produced, Wigle employees and some dedicated volunteers hand peel lemons which are then steeped in Wigle’s made-from-scratch spirits with some sugar for just the right amount of sweetness.

Pick up a bottle of the bright yellow liqueur for $34 a 750 ml bottle (64 proof) at their distillery, the Ross Park Mall or delivered anywhere in the state of Pennsylvania.

Manatawny Announces Whiskey Aged in Mezcal Barrels

Manatawny Scorpiones Whiskey in Mezcal Barrels

For the past several days, Manatawny Still Works’ social media feeds have been featuring scorpions. Perhaps triggering for those with Arachnophobia but intriguing nonetheless. Today, the Pottstown distillery lets us in on what they’ve got planned. This Friday, September 25th, Manatawny is releasing Scorpiones, whiskey aged in Mezcal barrels.

Scorpiones, begins life as the distillery’s four-grain white whiskey and then aged in Scorpion Mezcal barrels to add extra layers of smoky-sweet toasted flavors. Suggestions are to sip it neat or mix it in to your favorite Mezcal cocktail. A suggestion that jives with Manatawny’s white whiskey, which often finds itself standing in for tequila in margarita-inspired cocktails.

The whiskey is $35 per 750 ml bottle, and weighs in at 90 proof. Scorpiones will be available at its Pottstown distillery, South Philadelphia Tasting Room and recently reopened stand at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.

Rowhouse Spirits Plants Roots in Germantown

Rowhouse Distilling up and running in Germantown

Back in February, Dean Browne closed up his Rowhouse Spirits on Frankford Avenue in Kensington. Plan was to get more space to accommodate some new projects and reopen. But plans and 2020? Well yeah, 2020.

Browne has persevered and wound up landing in East Germantown, at 4717 Stenton Avenue. The Philadelphia neighborhood is suddenly attracting exciting businesses as Attic Brewing, Deke’s BBQ and Merzberger’s of Germantown, the re-branded and retail facing Philly Bread, have all opened their doors nearby.

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Red Pump’s Wheat Whiskey Back in Stock

Washington, PA’s Red Pump Spirits has its Farmhouse Whiskey back in stock. Unlike Red Pump’s line of Ryes, the Farmhouse Whiskey is a wheat whiskey but it is aged in barrels that previously held the distillery’s Rebellion Rye.

The taste is described as having the “mellow taste of a wheat whiskey with a touch of spice from the rye.” Red Pump Farmhouse Whiskey is bottled at 80 proof and goes for $52 per 750 ml bottle. Pick up a bottle at their distillery.

This Oktoberfest, Make It Whiskey

If we’re admitting it’s pumpkin season then that means it’s also Oktoberfest season. And that normally means malty German lagers and beer festivals. But with festivals on hold, maybe its time to update your Oktoberfest traditions with a whiskey?

Wigle Whiskey’s O’zapft is is back. The whiskey is distilled from Penn Brewery’s Oktoberfest Lager and is said to have a taste “reminiscent of Scotch whisky, with notes of cherry, vanilla, and oak.” And why “O’zapft is” for the name? Well that’s the traditional proclamation that the mayor of Munich kicks off Oktoberfest with. In English, it translates to “it’s tapped.”

Pre-order O’Zapft is today for pickup on Friday, September 18th at the Pittsburgh Distillery. Bottles are $32 each for the 92 proof, 375 ml bottles. Pair your order with an Oktoberfest Feast for Two, and have you’re personal Oktoberfest.

OK, We Admit It, It’s Pumpkin Season

Maggie's Farm Pumpkin Spiced Coffee

Pumpkin creep is a thing. Pumpkin spiced lattes show up in August now. It feels like every year, pumpkin beers hit shelves earlier. And distilleries aren’t immune to pumpkin season either. And maybe it’s the first weekend of the NFL, or the crispness in the air, but we’re not even that mad about it.

Here are some ways to spice up your fall with pumpkin and PA spirits.

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Recklesstown Releases Second Cooper River Whiskey

Cooper River Rye - Aged at Recklesstown Farm Distillery

Last month, Recklesstown Farm Distillery released a batch of bourbon it had been aging that was originally distilled by the now closed, Cooper River Distillers in Camden, NJ. And this weekend, Recklesstown is releasing Cooper River Rye, aged between three and three-and-a-half years in 15 gallon barrels.

Like the bourbon, there are only 200 bottles available and when it is gone, it’s gone. Recklesstown describes the rye as having “a sweet, floral nose with a savory rye flavor and oaky finish.”

Bottles are $55 each and there is a limit of two bottles per customer.

Distilleries Offering Local Delivery

Upper Darby Police inspect about $72,000 in liquor seized during a raid. 1930

In these crazy times Pennsylvania distilleries are often reinventing their business models. One of the consumer friendly enhancements some distilleries have made is the addition of local delivery. Typically it means small or no minimums, cheaper delivery fees than shipping and sometimes arrival of the spirits to your front door on the same day. In accordance to Pennsylvania law, all deliveries must be received by someone 21 or older with valid ID. We’ve come a long way from the days of bootleggers and rum runners.

Just remember to tip well.

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