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Last Mountain Spicy Vodka

Review: Last Mountain Spicy Vodka   (81/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on April 25, 2017

The Last Mountain Distillery is Saskatchewan’s first micro distillery. It is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Colin and Meredith Schmidt. Colin Schmidt took a rather round about road into the distilling business as his original dream was to play pro hockey. He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1992 and signed his first pro contract in 1996. Unfortunately Colin’s pro hockey experience was brief, cut off by a few shoulder injuries after a brief stint with the big club playing what Colin referred to as “left bench”.

Photo Courtesy Brittany Bellamy (All Rights Reserved)

Photo Courtesy Brittany Bellamy (All Rights Reserved)

Fortunately for us, Colin had aspirations beyond a hockey career. After Colin left hockey behind, he and his wife, Meredith began to look for business opportunities in Saskatchewan, and the idea of starting up their own micro-distillery still appealed strongly to both of them. To make a long story short, in August of 2010, the ambitions and hard work of Colin and Meredith paid off when they opened Saskatchewan’s first micro-distillery, in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, called the Last Mountain Distillery.

Colin recently sent me a sampling of three of the distilleries newest products, Apple Pie Moonshine, Sweet Tea Vodka and Spicy Vodka. All of these products are made from a wheat based distillate, and (according to the distillery website) Last Mountain’s Spicy Vodka is naturally infused with chili and cayenne peppers. Each bottle has a pepper inside increasing the intensity of the heat over time. The spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

The First Impression 9/10

Last Mountain Spicy Vodka arrives in the tall slender bottle shown to the left. These tall bottles seem to be in use much more these days, and I have been forced to adjust my liquor shelves to accommodate their growing numbers.

Each of the Spicy Vodka bottles contains a pepper inside which increases the intensity of the peppery spice over time. This is great for those who love spice, although it does have the drawback that at some point the spiciness may become overpowering for some. A solution to this predicament is to add in some fresh vodka to bring the spice down again.

The bottle is sealed with a nice tight synthetic cork. and the label is attractive especially with both the peppers on the label and the one inside the bottle drawing the customer’s attention to it. It would however be nice if there was an easy way to remove the pepper from the bottle to prevent over-spicing.

The First Sip 14/20

As this is a flavoured Vodka, my initial sampling was not done with a bottle which had been thrown in the freezer. Rather I refrigerated the spirit and severed it at a temperature of about 8 degrees Celsius. When I brought my glass to my nose I noticed that it brought clean lightly spicy scents into the breezes which perhaps lulled me into a false sense of security. I say this because the first sip brought an intense peppery spice across the palate which builds rather than diminishes. Swallowing that first sip brings the spicy pepper to the back of the throat as well as bringing a light grassy flavour into the aftertaste. I found the overall impact of the spicy pepper uncomfortable as I wished for a little sweetness to complement the spice.

 

Taking a Shot 14/20

I was a little apprehensive taking a larger shot of the Spicy Vodka as the spices kept building in my mouth. When I did take a small shot, I found the flavour to be both spicy and somewhat grassy at the same time. I remembered several years ago sampling a similar product (Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka), and I found I preferred Nemiroff’s lightly sweet take on the pepper vodka. the honeyed sweetness brings some balance and allows you to enjoy the peppery spice without being bludgeoned by it.

(See my review for Nemiroff Honey Pepper Vodka for a comparison)

Cocktails 44/50

To be fair to Last Mountain Distillery’s Spicy Vodka I did not try to quantify the spirits appeal with food pairings. None of my normal pairing worked and it seemed to me that the spirit really was destined for the cocktail glass. If fact, it appears to be destined for a very particular cocktail, the Caesar, which is a very ‘Canadian’ cocktail created in Calgary, Alberta by bartender Walter Chell at the Owl’s Nest Bar at the Calgary Inn in 1969.

Here is the standard recipe

The Caesar

6 oz  Mott’s Clamato Juice ( proprietary blend of tomato juice and clam broth)
1½ oz. Vodka
2 Dashes Hot Sauce
2 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce
Fresh Ground Pepper
Ice
Celery Salt
Lime/Lemon wedge
Celery Stalk

Rim glass first with Lime wedge and then with celery salt.
Mix the first 5 ingredients over ice in the cocktail glass
Add a celery stalk for garnish.

When mixing a Caesar Cocktail with the Spicy Vodka, I had my good friend Jeremiah help me out. He is much more of an aficionado of the Caesar cocktail than I am, and so I gave him my sample bottle to try out and report back to me. To Quote from Jeremiah,

” In a Caesar, it turns out the spiciness is completely masked until you get up to the triple oz serving. Overall, it is an a well above average vodka (in Caesar format). Down below is Jeremiah’s Caesar recipe:
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Spicy Mountain Caesar

6 oz  Mott’s Clamato Juice
2 oz Last Mountain Spicy Vodka
3 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce
2 Grinds Fresh Pepper
A splash of Pickled Bean Juice
3 Pickled beans
Ice
Mix the ingredients over ice in the bar glass

Enjoy Responsibly!

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Final Score:  81/100

(Recommended for Caesar Cocktails)

You may read some of my other Liqueur and Favoured Spirit Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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As usual you may (loosely) interpret my score as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    Now we have a fair mixing Vodka.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again for cocktails only.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this Vodka in shots, although cocktails are preferable.
85-89    Excellent!  Shots or cocktails!
90-94    You may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 80    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
81 – 89     Silver Medal (Recommended  for shots and mixing)
90 – 95     Gold Medal (Highly Recommended for Vodka Shots and Sublime Cocktails)
95.5+       Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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