Valentine Distillery in Ferndale knows a thing or two about distilled spirits, and they have the awards to prove it.
We had the opportunity to visit the distillery and get a first hand look at their approach to spirits from Rifino Valentine and distiller Justin Aden. The team at Valentine are responsible for producing the World’s Best Vodka, as well as releasing Double Gold caliber single barrel bourbons. The craft distillery got its start in 2007 working through the artisan spirits program at Michigan State University, which has been responsible for building the state into a spirits producing powerhouse. If you never thought you’d hear Detroit is the vodka capital of the world, you are not alone. It’s even got Lenin shedding a tear!
We were really impressed with the passion and knowledge of the staff at Valentine. The commitment to quality is evident in everything they do, and reflects in the finished products. It was interesting to learn that they had been able to secure a number of highly sought after aged bourbon barrels from MGP, the giant whiskey factory responsible for providing barrels to other distilleries with cult followings like Smooth Ambler and Willett. One thing Valentine has in common with Smooth Ambler is the transparency with which they are bottling these barrels, whereas Willett releases are always shrouded in mystery. The Blue Label Mayor Pingree bottles are single barrels and there are a number of stores in metro Detroit that have already picked their own. We are excited to get our chance to do a single barrel selection from what are currently the oldest barrels aging in Michigan (11-12 years old).
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