Tasting enthusiasts in Kelowna have discovered their new Eden at Forbidden Spirits Distillery.
Located just 15 minutes from downtown Kelowna with an impressive view of the city, the 20-acre orchard is a world away from the neglected property that owners Blair and Kelly Wilson purchased in 2010.
“We wanted to retire,” Blair says with a chuckle. “As you can see, that didn’t last very long.”
With 300 producing apple trees on their land, the Wilsons knew they wanted to use them. They originally considered creating a cidery, but when Blair learned his apples could produce award-winning vodka, gin and brandy, destiny was determined.
Vodka, Brandy and Gin
Borrowing on hundreds of years of European craftmanship, Blair invested in a state-of-the-art still from Germany.
“Most commercial vodkas are made from grains and distilled only two to six times,” he says, gesturing at the gleaming 28-foot-tall copper still behind him. “Our Rebel Vodka is distilled 25 times and our premium Forbidden Vodka is distilled 50 times, so in blind taste tests, we win every time.”
The first batch of Rebel Vodka was made in 2019, shortly before the contemporary 2,500-square-foot tasting room opened its doors and the product line quickly expanded to include Adam’s Apple Brandy and Eve’s Original Gin, infused with 10 local botanicals.
Reaching beyond its apple beginnings, Forbidden partnered with a local brewery to provide the mash for its now popular Wallace Hill White Whisky.
Traditional barrel-aged aficionados will be excited to learn they now have the option of creating their own aged whisky with Forbidden Spirits’ unique Mini-Barrel Program. Using American white oak with a #4 char inside, the custom-made, two-bottle-sized whisky barrel can produce aged whisky in just three months instead of six years.
“With the additional surface area and contact of the whisky to the barrel, you will have perfectly aged whisky in just three months,” says Blair. “And, with a spigot on the barrel, you can taste the progress.”
And Food Too!
New to the tasting room this season is food service that provides 100 per cent local vegan food, ranging from a charcuterie board to wraps to flavoured popcorn.
“Tasting enthusiasts have become passionate fans of our products,” Blair says proudly. “The espresso vodka martini and lavender lime slushies have been particularly popular this year.”
Enjoy the Outdoors
Adjoining the tasting room, Forbidden Spirits boasts a large patio that offers table service as well as an expansive picnic area with tables and umbrellas for outdoor self-serve tastings.
The distillery is open seven days a week with live music provided Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through September. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Visit forbiddenspirits.ca to book your tasting or to learn more.
A “fall from grace” never tasted so heavenly.