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Clear Creek's Douglas Fir Eau de Vie


eje
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I've read a couple magazine articles giving positive mention to Clear Creek's new Douglas Fir Eau de Vie.

Haven't seen it in stores, yet.

Anyone tried it?

edit - not likely to pick it up soon either, just noticed it is around $50 US for 375ml. Ouch.

Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I've got a bottle - It's interesting but very different in composition than expected with the name "Eau de Vie of Douglas Fir". The neck tag makes this clear:

Neck tag reads: "This Eau de Vie is made from an infusion of springtime buds of Douglas Fir boughs picked by hand into clear brandy which is then re-distilled and re-infused with more buds. Finally it is strained and then bottled at 95.46 proof."

My opinion: the taste and nose is much more of the undefined brandy (I think it's a mix of apple and/or pear). A pine resin taste does come out in the finish. It is not a clear distillate - that final infusion imparts a pale lime green color - the producer should know better than to call this an Eau de Vie, especially given the target audience knows it should then be colorless. Assuming that the brandy is from a tree fruit, this product is more accurately by taste and design a "Two Tree Brandy".

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Assuming that the brandy is from a tree fruit, this product is more accurately by taste and design a "Two Tree Brandy".

Even if the first brandy is from a tree fruit, the second one is a distilled infusion---a Geist, not a Brand, auf Deutsch---so even calling it a "Two Tree Brandy" would be kind of misleading.

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I've read a couple magazine articles giving positive mention to Clear Creek's new Douglas Fir Eau de Vie.

Haven't seen it in stores, yet.

Anyone tried it?

edit - not likely to pick it up soon either, just noticed it is around $50 US for 375ml.  Ouch.

I had it at Urena, a restaurant in New York, a couple of nights ago. It's very good -- extremely fresh taste, although not all that piney -- but my first impression is that I like Zirbenz better. Zirbenz is more, I don't know, syrupy, has more interesting and assertive flavor notes, and packs more of a piney puch. I guess that's the difference between a liqueur/cordial and an eau de vie.

In any event, in order to make an extended comparison I plan to go back within the next few days to have some more.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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When I first heard about the Clear Creek Douglas Fir Eau de Vie at right around this time last year, I looked around local liquor stores but couldn't find any. Taking the bottle by the neck, as it were, I called Clear Creek on Christmas Eve and caught Steve McCarthy there, and bought a bottle. It seemed like it would be the perfect Christmas tipple . . . and for me, it was. It smelled of the forest, it tasted like pine infused pear brandy; it had a light sweetness, but also a pine bite. I prefer it as a digistif.

I could be wrong, but I don't believe that an eau de vie is, by definition, clear, as was implied in an earlier posting. I always thought eaux de vie were defined only as spirits distilled from fruit. Certainly most are clear. There is a distiller in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia who makes an eau de vie that is not clear (I can't remember which one it is . . . I'll check my cabinet when I get home). Clear Creek's base, I believe, is an eau de vie (tastes like pear to me), and the addition of an infusion that is colored doesn't change that.

Our staff is having a holiday tour 'n taste at Clear Creek's new distillery on Thursday . . . I'll ask McCarthy what he thinks the definition is/should be, and how the Douglas Fir fits (if the fir fits, you must drink it??).

-Cole Danehower

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One additional thought: I always understood a brandy was technically defined as a spirit distilled from grape wine . . . despite the loose use of "brandy" to apply to other fruit-based distillates . . . including Clear Creek's Apple Brandy.

So . . . perhaps another thread . . . what are the real definitions of "brandy" and "eau de vie"?

-Cole

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While I think that historically it would be technically accurate to refer to virtually any distillation, especially one made from fruit, as eau-de-vie, the term as understood today almost always refers to unaged fruit distillation, and if it just came out of the still and into glass or metal containers, it should have no color.

Of course, I could be wrong about that very last bit.

-Andy

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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I'm inclined to take an etymological approach with "brandy" and just declare it to be any distillate, though (of course) colloquially used to refer to wine distillates. Wine brandy is gebrannter Wein, after all--burnt. German liquor stores distinguish between Weinbrand and Obstbrand; most of what we're calling eaux de vie are Obstbrände. (Though there are also Geists, infusions that are then distilled.)

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  • 9 months later...

Two of the highlights (for me) on the current menu at Pegu are both made with Douglas fir eau de vie. One is a gimlet, the other (if memory serves) is sort of a Last Word variation with the eau de vie standing for maraschino. Both are outstanding (especially the latter, which in addition to being delicious has a wonderful greenish sheen).

Anyone have any experience with this product? A Google search turned up a Douglas fir eau de vie produced by Clear Creek that fits the profile of the stuff they're using at Pegu. I would love to get my hands on some (even though it is $49.95 for a 375ml bottle).

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After a similiar eye-opening visit at Pegu I emailed Steve McCarthy over at Clear Creek and he very kindly emailed me a list of places in NY that he KNOWS carries his products, of the many places he personally vouched for the best bet is Park Avenue Liquors (292 Madison Avenue, west side of Madison, between 40th and 41st. 212-685-2442).

I saw a bottle of it there myself.

Other places he mentioned were:

Astor Wine and Spirits

12 Astor Place

212-674-7500

Acker Merrall & Condit

160 West 72nd Street

(between Broadway and Columbus)

212-787-1700

Sherry-Lehman Wine and Spirits

505 Park Ave

(between 59th & 60th).

212-838-7500

Morell

One Rockefeller Plaza

NYC 10020

917 464 2222

67 Wine and Spirits

179 Columbus Ave. (68th street)

NYC 10023

212 724 6767

He also gave me this bit of adice "These are top stores and if they do not have what you want on the shelf, they are very good about ordering, especially if asked in a clear and firm manner."

Best,

Scott

Edit: Oh and the clear creek douglas fir is what they're using at pegu, there was an article about it a little while ago in the NYT, it also had a recipe for the Douglas Fir Gimlet, I'll see if i can dig it up for you.

Edited by Scotttos (log)
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http://thepour.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/1...ek-eaux-de-vie/

Douglas Fir Gimlet

Pegu Club

1½ ounces Tanqueray gin

½ ounces Clear Creek Douglas Fir eau de vie

¾ ounces Fresh lime juice

½ ounces Simple syrup (see recipe below)

½ ounces Homemade grapefruit syrup (see recipe below)

Measure all the ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice, shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with either a floating lime wheel,

or a sprig of pine (that is pesticide-free).

Edited by Scotttos (log)
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