Thursday, 1 March 2012

Presenting...Chase Vodka and Williams Gin

I won’t go into the mission that was dealing with the new Gouman Grosvenor hotel – needless to say they are missing their bar manager who is on paternity leave – but made it to an upstairs room for a trade masterclass with James Chase.

James is really personable guy with great knowledge and an inexhaustible work ethic, bombing up and down the country to educate us about the family run property that is Chase. The brand started with the delicious potato product that we all know – Tyrells crisps. On a USA business trip to investigate deep frying, they were invited “round the back” of one small manufacturers to see their small time brewing facilities and there was the eureka moment

This vodka tastes of something

So this moment paired with the secretaries’ clear ability to guess the base product of the bottle they returned with (potatoes) and quantities of small potatoes that were not put through for crisps gave way to vodka and before they knew it (well another business trip including Austria this time – source of their still) they had a 3000l still with a rectifying column so large it emerged from the roof.

So Chase English potato vodka was born and is entirely produced by Chase from potatoes to vodka to maintain quality; quite frankly, it shows.

Chase Vodka

The nose is so different from most vodkas with a sweet creamy almost toasted marshmallow nose. The palate has the same creamy buttery potato mash flavour with some spice notes and an oily texture that combine to give a really long finish. This is very smooth and rich and tastes buttery to the end.

Serve: with soda water and a squeeze of lemon to cut the oily texture

When the Chase brains got buzzing next they moved to gin. Back to Austria for a 300l still with three rectifying points where the gin sits in the belly and above is a “pillowcase” filled with their 11 chosen botanicals – including barley apples, hops and elderflower. They are also moving towards growing all their own botanicals and hope to see this come to fruition in 2012 with new greenhouse plans. However, the potato vodka had too much flavour so they thought again about the local products and came up with…

Naked Chase (apple based spirit)

The nose implies spice and high alcohol but the palate is much more pleasant, smooth and although still quite raw there is a remaining sweetness and spice in between layers.

Serve: in a Vesper with Chase Vodka

William Chase Gin

Distilled to 48% to retain the flavor is not just a tag line. This is so smooth and strangely is very reflective of the creamy full body of the vodka. Then comes the juniper so essential to gin (debate still raging!) and then sweet citrus, next comes the clear elderflower notes though not sure I got hops.

Serve: as a gin and juice with organic cox apple juice

Lastly those crazy guys got experimenting with flavours (Christmas trees don’t work if you were wondering!) and came up with what is now a regular in their line –

Chase (Seville) Marmalde Vodka

Straw colour, the nose is of sweet zest oils. The more you get into this, the longer it lingers, the sweeter it grows on the palate making it definitely – for me – one to mix rather than one to drink straight. Breakfast martini, spice it up for winter warmers, the possibilities of this one are great.

Serve: with ginger beer, few drops of bitters and a squeeze of lime

So they do not grow the oranges themselves but they do make the marmalade that gets infused with the orange skins. I’ll leave you with an interesting fact: it takes 25kg of potatoes to make just one bottle of Chase Vodka

To look out for:

- Aged vodka expressions
- Chili infused vodka
- Rock the Farm – the generously put on industry festival in July

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