United Staes of Vermouth - Brovo Sweet Jammy Vermouth
BroVo Jammy Sweet Vermouth
Origin: Woodinville Washington USA
Producer: Brovo Spirits
Wine Base: Merlot (Wahluke Slope)
Known Botanicals: cherry, orange peel, coffee beens, cacao nibs, hibiscus, ginger, apricot, other herbs and spices
Look – Slightly cloudy deep brownish red with hints of purple.
Nose – Ginger snap cookie with sweet cotton candy and very slight orange/citrus elements.
Mouth – Sweet prune juice with cherry/blackberry notes and slight orange citrus edge up front. Alcohol heat building at mid-taste, with a light ginger hotness, resolving with very mild vegetal and cottony bitterness at end.
Brovo Spirits is the brainchild of Mhairi Voelsgen. She started the operation in 2011 in Woodinville, WA, creating a line of amari with the specific idea of marketing these products to the local (Puget Sound) bartending community. The folks behind the bars reported back to her that what they really wanted was a locally produced vermouth. By 2013 she responded with releasing a suite of vermouths - Witty Dry, Pretty Blanc, Pink Rose and the vermouth in question. Jammy Sweet. She also makes gin, vodka and bunch of liqueurs. But on to Jammy Sweet…
Brovo’s Jammy Sweet boasts that it is made with 100% Merlot harvested from Washington’s Wahluke Slope. All well and good to source locally, but to make that infamous grape the base for one’s vermouth does go against common sense. It seems more of calculated marketing stunt to appeal to potential consumers who are still stuck in pre-Sideways drinking habits. I’m not as adamant at Paul Giamatti who said, “I am not drinking any fucking Merlot” - words that challenged and actually changed for the better a tired and deadly style of vinifying the tired and deadly “Noble Grape” from Bordeaux. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of Merlot. It tends toward the flabby, lacking much in the way of acidity. And big and jammy are pretty much the exact opposite of what I am looking for in a wine. Couple that with a generous helping of agave nectar, as good as it may be for you, and you have one cloyingly sweet vermouth. With its whisper of botanicals and spices – and near absence of bitterness, Brovo Sweet Jammy kinda misses the mark completely on what one would call a satisfying vermouth. Cut with a heavy dose of Bourbon, it may make an acceptable Mannhattan-esque cocktail, but I would not go out of my way to order one. I really don't want to drink fucking Merlot in my Manhattan - or in my vermouth, fot that matter.
I’m all for local, but other contemporary locavore vermouth-makers are doing it better with more taste and integrity.
Wood / Vanilla 1
Bitter - 1
Astringent (barks, roots) 1
Vegetal / Herbal 1