McClintock Distilling can be found in Frederick, Maryland, north of Washington, D.C. One of the younger craft distilleries, they only just began to distill in 2017 inside a historic, warehouse space on Frederick’s downtown riverwalk. Their initial portfolio, not surprisingly, focused on clear spirits with an emphasis on the quality of their ingredients. As one of the few certified organic craft distilleries, they pride themselves on using non-GMO, heirloom grains. They also produce a rye and bourbon but only in limited amounts (we’ll get to those in a separate review shortly). Today we’re digging into the distillery’s vodka and gin.
McClintock Distilling Forager’s Gin – This is a vapor-infused new world style gin made with 21 botanicals, including native Appalachian additions like chicory root to give it, in the words of the distillers, a sense of “Maryland-mountain terroir.” The nose is floral and earthy with juniper berry, licorice, and sandalwood. There’s a bit of expressed lemon peel and a generous amount of cardamom floating in here, too. The palate is spicy and dry, at least initially, with notes of fennel and lemon peel, but the whole thing gets creamier and sweeter heading into the finish, finally showing some juniper alongside even more citrus, licorice, and a few savory herbs. As gins go, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster ride but an enjoyable one nonetheless. 90 proof. A- / $36
McClintock Distilling Epiphany Vodka – Distilled from organic white wheat, this vodka is double distilled through McClintock’s 8-plate hybrid still and triple filtered. The nose is clean with that classic sterility but less of the band-aid quality I often get in vodkas. There’s also a unique earthiness to this one with wet soil and mushroom notes. The palate is big for a vodka and creamy with cereal notes, vanilla taffy, and just a slight touch of lemon zest. It’s also mildly peppery with a bit of grain-tinged sharpness that develops into the finish. The weighty mouthfeel is definitely its most defining feature. This thing is downright beefy, which is not a word I thought I would ever use to describe a vodka. Not your classic clear cocktail companion, but I can imagine plenty of drinks, including a dirty martini, where a spirit like this could really shine. 80 proof. B+ / $24