Owners Doug and Dawn Lennie are like kids in a candy store when they talk about new products for Legend Distilling. “Smalltown spirits”, then call them, and there is no better example than the Slowpoke line of slowly infused vodkas.
Rhubarb and Honey, Okanagan Apricot and Naramata Sour Cherry—all lovingly handmade in small batches—have been a hit at the distillery this summer and Doug, the distiller, has more ideas than time, he says.
Most of Legend Distilling’s current products start out with the purest vodka—made from BC grain from the Peace River region. The wheat is milled into a coarse flour and then steeped in filtered water, which is heated slowly to create a gelatinized base in which starches are converted to complex sugars and then simple sugars before yeast is added to start the fermentation process. After a week a “beer” consisting of 9-10% alcohol is ready for distillation, first in the traditional pot still. Time in one of two column stills purifies the liquid even more, and the stills’ copper construction removes sulfur notes that the distillation process can bring out.
The whole process is a peculiar mix of science and art, Doug says, and cleanliness and attention to detail are key to making fine distilled products. Tours and tastings offer a fascinating education for visitors. Check the website for details.
~ Lorne Eckersley