One thing that never ceases to impress me about distillers is their passion for what they do. A few weeks back I took a trip north to Dancing Pines Distillery in Loveland, CO. Walking through the front door I met with another display of that passion. The still is right up front, Kimberly Naslund (one of the co-founders and distillers) was eager to answer any questions I had and, most notably, their products were highlighted everywhere you went. This isn’t an operation built for the sole purpose of making money. This is the result of great passion being unleashed on a dream.
The folks at Dancing Pines, despite having only been producing for a few months, have lofty ambitions. Already on the market are their white and aged rums. In process and on the shelves soon are a spiced rum, espresso liqueur and chai liqueur. And, not to rest on their laurels, they also have a gin and bourbon in the works. Very impressive from a small craft distiller. Though, like many craft distillers their immediate goal isn’t world (or even country-wide) domination. Rather they’re focused on making a really good product and keeping their loyal, local customers happy. So, what of those products? I got to taste a bunch, here’s the low down.
White Rum – 80 proof – A combination of black strap and grade A molasses give this rum a complex flavor. Exactly what they were looking for. Having sampled rums from Cuba and other less common locales the distillers were looking for a flavor that wasn’t as deeply distilled and more reminiscent of the starting sugar. The goal of this endeavor was to create a rum that was complex and bold enough to stand up to mixers. They met that goal while creating a rum that wasn’t too rough. I think this could be really interesting in a Mojito.
Aged Rum – 94 proof – Aged with charred oak spirals, a technique used in wine making, the Dancing Pines aged rum has solid vanilla notes that come through in the nose and in the flavor. The sweetness and flavor of the molasses are still present, but more muted than what I found in the white rum. Another tasty choice, this one plays nicely in a Daiquiri.
Spiced Rum – A spiced rum where you can really taste the real spices that were used in the mix. Quite refreshing. Interestingly, they also add some teas to the spice mix for added depth and complexity. In addition, Dancing Pines adds a touch of additional molasses for sweetness and flavor. Overall, the spice flavors are well balanced and tasty.
Chai Liqueur – This definitely smells like a good chai. Really nice sweetness level and a good blend of tea and spice flavors. In the aroma you get nice hits of cardamom and tea, just as you would in a chai tea. I really like this liqueur, it’s complex and not overly sweet.
Espresso Liqueur – Like the chai this smells just like a good cup of espresso. Again, not overly sweet with a nice coffee flavor that’s bright, clean and not overly processed.
I had a great time at Dancing Pines and really enjoyed sampling their spirits. I’ll be very interested to taste how their bourbon comes out when it’s bottled some time next year. And, a pot stilled gin you say? Now I’m really interested.
If you’d like to check out their products and operation for yourself, they offer tours, samples and cocktails every Friday from 4-7pm. The cocktails change and if you buy one you get the cost reimbursed when you buy a bottle. They’ve also got some events and contests that they run through their Facebook page.
† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy