We’ve covered plenty of whiskeys from Washington, D.C.’s One Eight Distillery over the years, but their earliest spirits, like most craft operations, were of the clear variety. We never got around to their vodka, and although we explored Ivy City Gin in its early days, it has apparently seen some tweaking recently. Let’s tie up these loose ends in the One Eight portfolio, shall we?
One Eight Distilling District Made Ivy City Gin (2022) – I had suggested in my review of the original Ivy City Gin that it needed a bit more alcohol to show off the botanicals, and Distiller Alex Laufer apparently agreed, so they kicked up the proof from its original 80. The slight increase in octane has brought the juniper more to the fore, along with some lemony citrus I hadn’t detected on first inspection. The pepper, softer now, has given way to a more classic, herbal character. The palate is a bit bolder, too, with impressive body from the malted rye and a nice mix of earthy spicebush, soft juniper, and sweet licorice notes. Even with more alcohol, the spirit maintains an even warming heat into a slightly creamy finish accented with lemon and spice box. Always nice when you’re proven right about something. 88 proof. A- / $30
One Eight Distilling District Made Vodka – Designed to showcase flavor and character, not always a goal in some vodka production, One Eight’s District Made Vodka is distilled from rye grown at a Virginia farm not far from Washington, D.C. As vodkas go, this one does indeed have character and flavor. The nose is almost entirely lacking the spirit’s trademark medicinal quality, trading it for a buttery cereal note. The palate is clean, doughy, and full-bodied with warm rye bread and a soft, powdered sugar sweetness. A bit of lemon oil simmers on a mildly peppery finish. A sturdy cocktail base, to be sure, but also a pleasant sipper. And I don’t say that about very many vodkas. 80 proof. A / $25