Vinn is – so far* – the only all-American Baijiu on the market. Made by the Ly family outside Portland OR, it’s reportedly a family recipe that goes back seven generations. The Ly family are of Chinese descent, but lived in Vietnam for generations, and have been in the US for forty years. Seven generations is pretty old for a US-based spirit recipe! But it’s not that old in the context of baijiu.
Vinn is a rice-aroma baijiu, which means it starts with a rice grain fermentation, and a rice-based qu. In this case, they’re working from California-grown brown rice, and making their own qu blend.
From a marketing perspective, It’s interesting: the product doesn’t play up any heritage with China, and doesn’t include Chinese imagery or characters anywhere in its packaging.
But how does it taste? It’s good! It’s mild, and if you’re used to the stronger or sharper baijiu categories, what you’ll primarily notice is family resemblance to sake. It’s got a lot in common there, and the rice is really up front. At first, that was our initial response: this is like a high-proof sake!
But the flavors are more interesting: there’s a primary note of mellow toasted nut / grain, and then the fermented sweetness typical of baijiu appears. This reminded us of mulberry and – maybe? – guava. It’s surprisingly mild for something at 80 proof.
Find it: Vinn distributes mostly around Portland: you can find locations on their site here.
Try it: Have you gotten a taste? Leave your review below!
* So far because we predict more craft spirit producers will be trying baijiu production. IT’S HAPPENING.