Detroit-based Valentine Distilling was founded in 2007, and while it produces gin and whiskey, today we’re looking at its flagship products — two vodkas, named after the distillery proper. Recently rebranded with upscale bottles and labels, Valentine is pot distilled in small batches from a blend of corn, wheat, and barley.
Valentine Vodka – Bold and bracing on the nose, an intense medicinal note pervades, with a rich rosemary vein running through it. Very mild on the palate, the astringency fades and leaves behind a gentler body driven by fresh grain, graphite, and hints of fresh-cut grass. There’s green pepper on the finish, but it’s pleasantly integrated and only lightly pungent with its peppery, herbal kick. Altogether straightforward and well-crafted, it’s a bone dry vodka that should work well in any cocktail where a neutral base is required. 80 proof. A- / $30 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Valentine White Blossom Elderflower Flavored Vodka – St. Germain has pretty much run the tables on elderflower flavor, so Valentine spins the formula a bit by infusing vodka with the fragrant flower. The result is a higher-proof version of the familiar flavor, quite expressive on the nose with those fresh notes of white flowers, honeysuckle, grapefruit, and lychee. Much of the same hits the palate, though the aggressive sweetness of St. Germain is absent here, replaced by Valentine’s bracing vodka base. The finish is gentle and authentic, with just a touch of ethanol to temper the otherwise straightforward, floral body. This all makes for a more subtle elderflower experience than you get with a liqueur, though infusing it into a base of vodka could also be limiting from a mixology standpoint. It’s a nice experience on its own, too — either on the rocks or with a splash of soda or tonic. 70 proof. A- / $30 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]