Hangar one Vodka is truley unique. It is made using a pot-distilled vodka using wine from excellent viognier grapes, which is a very expensive thing to do. This is lovely stuff - soft, aromatic, and unbelievably smooth. Next, they blend this viognier wine vodka into well-made column-still wheat vodka.
The viognier wine vodka makes Hangar One Straight vodka pure, elegant, tasty, and very, very smooth. Theres no unpleasant ethanol/alcohol overtone, no burn on your tongue, no roughness in the back of your mouth. When you mix the Straight with other things, the vodka brings out the flavor without making the drink taste alcoholic. This is the way its supposed to be: you should just plain enjoy what youre drinking.
Normally, lime is really hard to distill without ending up with something that smells artificial and candy-like. Thats why we turned to Kaffir lime, which goes in directions that standard lime or key lime cannot. Kaffir limes and leaves are mainstays of Thai cuisine because of their high aromatic oil content and intense flavor. There are notes of wood, white pepper and cucumber. We infuse Kaffir leaves with the fruit to increase the richness and complexity.
At one point, we owned every commercially available Kaffir lime leaf in North America. Since theyre an East Asian plant, there arent tons grown here. We were going gangbusters with the lime vodka, and then we realized that we had tapped out the supply channel. An internet search turned up a nursery that had bought way too many Kaffir lime trees after a Sunset Magazine article had made it sound like they were the next big thing. Their trees arent selling, but they keep growing, so from time to time they go out and prune the leaves and send them to us.
We now have a few devoted growers in Californias Sacramento Central Valley who have planted Kaffir lime trees just for Hangar One. We planted a few trees of our own right next to the distillery.