Three local craft spirits made the "Top 100 Spirits" list for 2017. And one of them was a sure underdog.
Wine Enthusiast Magazine named its Top 100 Spirits of 2017. Ranked with all the big-name mescals from Mexico and cognacs from France was this surprise winner: a gin from Lynnwood.
The winning “Woodcut Barrel Rested Gin” is from Temple Distilling, located near Alderwood Mall, in an obscure business complex that doesn’t even have a business directory. Head distiller AJ Temple said of the award, “It’s nice to be on a list like that. People expect the big names to be on the list. We’re a little distillery that is just starting its third year.”
Temple, 29, runs the distillery with his wife, Jamie, who is expecting their second son in February. The Bothell couple were high school sweethearts from Mercer Island and attended Seattle Pacific University together before getting into the gin game.
“It’s always been kind of a dream — if we win the lottery it would be nice to open a distillery. Then it slowly evolved from ‘It wouldn’t hurt if we sat down and wrote down a business plan.’ And one day we took a leap, ‘Yeah, we’re actually doing this.’”
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The couple’s marketing budget consists of running a tasting room out of a warehouse every Saturday and hitting any event that would have them. Lately, that’s been pouring gin samples at a Total Wine store and doing a few charity events to hawk their four gins.
Temple isn’t the only local distillery to crack the Top 100 Spirits list — Westland Distillery and Captive Spirits Distilling also made it. But the Lynnwood distillery was an underdog; it isn’t a household name yet like those two critically acclaimed craft spirits.
Their Temple gin, with angelica root, cardamom and eight other botanicals, was aged for eight months in bourbon barrels. The judge said of their gin:
“… a light straw tint and aromatics that suggest a classic dry gin: mild juniper and citrus, plus a hint of almond nods to the oak influence. The palate is distinctly sweet and light, weaving honey, coriander seed and lemon peel with lychee-like floral notes. Plenty of white pepper and ginger braces up the zingy finish. Think gin and tonics.”