Bill Dowd photoGrand Traverse Distillery, founded by Kent Rabish in 2005, had targeted autumn of 2008 to introduce its first flavored vodka. However, the Michigan company beat that goal by many months with its new cherry infusion.
• True North Vodka:
The original Grand Traverse product is a quality addition to the super-premium category, so much so that it was awarded a gold medal by the 2007 International Review of Spirits.
It's a smooth, silky spirit, which is a "must" quality to be in this category. The combination of good northern Michigan rye and the region's quality water gives this Traverse City distillery a leg up. I found a slight bit of pleasing heat along with the smoothness, thereby imparting a bit of extra character that holds up through the triple-filtration process.
• True North Natural Cherry Flavor Vodka:
If Grand Traverse had selected any other fruit for its initial flavoring it would have been laughed out of a state known for the quality and abundance of its cherry crop, a crop so integral to the region that it calls itself the Cherry Capital of the World.
The trick here is that instead of merely infusing the rye-based vodka with cherries, there is a hint of chocolate as well. That's one more credit to Rabish's creation that helps differentiate it from the pack of fruit flavor-infused vodkas with which it is competing. I found the richness of this concoction at once both arresting and satisfying.
Both vodkas carry a suggested retail price of $29.99.
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