Brown liquor drinkers and people whose friends and family love the stuff, heads up: One of the best spirits ever produced in Philadelphia has returned to the market.
After last year’s batch of 150 bottles sold out within weeks, a second edition of From the Woods birch spirit has just been released by Red Brick Craft Distillery, just in time to scoop it up as a unique holiday gift for the discerning boozehounds on your list.
The liquor — which is not exactly a whiskey since it’s distilled from mead brewed from local honey (instead of malted grain) — is special because of its flavor, which is like birch beer but stronger, more herbal, more concentrated. It’s also special because of the provenance of that taste.
As it ages in once-used whiskey barrels, the alcohol is steeped with actual birch leaves, twigs and bark. Birch trees on a Lancaster County estate owned by a friend of distillery cofounder Brian Forrest were the inspiration for and ingredients of the first edition. This time, additional birch was sourced so Red Brick could produce more of the spirit to try to meet demand.
If you didn’t get to sample the product in its first go-round, here’s a recap from the rave we published last December:
[A] sweet vanilla nose that carries through each sip but finishes clean and sharp. Instead of being cloying and sweet, it’s rich and woody with a strong backbone. Both serious whiskey drinkers and folks who usually find whiskey too harsh can happily meet at this middle ground.
From the Woods is not cheap, but its $55 price tag is in line with other specialty liquors, and makes it a worthy gift.
It’s available now at Red Brick’s tasting room in Kensington and at the distillery’s tables at various farmers markets, including on Rittenhouse Square this Saturday.