The speakeasy craze has migrated from the bar world to spirits makers: From New York’s Prohibition Distillery comes this new vodka, Bootlegger 21. Its Old School aspirations aren’t easy to miss: From the retro paper label to the etched, green-glass bottle, Bootlegger will look right at home next to your rotary dial telephone.
It takes some time cutting through the rhetoric about how Prohibition inspired this product — which was actually created in 2009 by a couple of industry upstarts — to figure out how it was made. Distilled from corn in the New York Hudson Valley, it is distilled six times and bottled at 80 proof.
The results are at least better than you could probably get from real bootleggers. Funky and rough, the corn base is evident, giving Bootlegger a kind of white whiskey character that makes it far from “neutral” spirit. Medicinal character is the main impression, cut with some very light sweetness. There’s plenty of herbal character in there too, but it’s muddy and a little out of balance all told, the finish as lasting as it is biting.
Aka Bootlegger 21 New York Vodka.