Review: Townshend’s White Rose and Sweet Tea Liqueurs
Townshend’s is the Portland-based kombucha-distilling producer of a variety of oddball amari that are distilled from kombucha, and it also produces this pair of liqueurs, which might be more approachable to drinkers not looking for that bitter kick.
Townshend’s White Rose Liqueur – This simple, floral-focused liqueur includes rose petals and white tea, with a cane spirit distillate. Rose petals on the nose are distinct and, perhaps, a bit heavy unless you’re in love with these bouquets, the entire affair filtered through a light medicinality like you get with a typical bottle of vodka. You catch more of the tea on the palate, which comes across as quite gentle and refreshing, though the flowery filtration makes it impossible to get grandma’s bathroom out of one’s head. 80 proof. B- / $29
Townshend’s Tea Spirit No. 2 Sweet Tea Liqueur – Tea Spirit No. 16 is a “spice tea” product, while No. 5 is “smoke tea.” This is a sweet tea version, described as “the first of its kind – a distilled spirit crafted in-house, leaf to bottle, from our Single Estate Ceylon black tea and cane sugar.” Unlike many tea liqueurs or flavored vodkas, it’s the tea leaf that makes the primary impression here. Rich and earthy on the nose, it smells just like shoving your nose into a bowl of dried leaves, ready for brewing. As the name suggests, the palate is quite sweet, and fans of Georgia-style sweet tea will find the sugar bomb here familiar. Along with tea leaf and cane sugar, I get notes of orange peel and some red berries, though the enduring sweetness is enough to get you through dessert all on itself. Altogether, it’s a nice switch from tea-flavored vodkas (though, again, a bit sweeter than most on the market). 70 proof. A- / $35