Columbus, Ohio distillery, Middle West Spirits distillery is led by a 4th-generation distiller. The distillery produces a line of artisan vodka, gins and American whiskeys produced in partnership with farms across the mid-west. Sold under the OYO (OH-WHY-OH), Middle West and Vim and Petal brands, each of Middle West’s spirits celebrate unique flavors that are distinctive to Ohio. Middle West Spirits also operates onsite full-service bar and restaurant called the Service Bar, featuring modern American cuisine by Chef Avishar Barua.
Middle West Spirits’ flagship spirit, OYO Vodka, is unfiltered and made from local soft red wheat. Other OYO Vodka expressions include OYO Stone Fruit, OYO Honey Vanilla Bean, and OYO Barrel-Finished Honey Vanilla Bean.
Middle West Spirits’ Vim & Petal Gin is an American dry gin that is a union of 18 botanicals with their soft red wheat distillate.
OYO Vodka is unusual in that is is unfiltered, and this carries through both in the mouthfeel and flavor of the spirit. Somewhat round and creamy, there is a pleasant sweetness from the wheat that lingers, with a long finish. This is one of the most flavorful vodkas we’ve ever tasted. At the tail end of the experience, there is a slight chalky finish. A very mixable vodka for any cocktail. GSN Rating: B
OYO Honey Vanilla Bean carries the sweetness even further with a vanilla forward character. The honey is more subdued and adds some high notes. We especially liked the natural vanilla flavor which is often hard to pull off in vodkas. Overall, this makes a great spirit to mix with cola, as a float or in a “tini” style cocktail. GSN Rating: A-
OYO Barrel Aged Honey Vanilla Bean Vodka (that’s a mouthful) adds some darker and drier wood elements, toning down the sweetness and bringing a wider charisma. Of the two, this one is more introspective and designed for sipping on it’s own. It’s almost a blend of a young whiskey and a flavored vodka at this point. Nothing too wild, but unusual and tasty. We approve. GSN Rating: A
OYO Stone Fruit Vodka is by far the sweetest of the bunch. We’ve been going back and forth on the flavor profile here, and the closest approximation is of figs or perhaps prunes. The mouthfeel is almost viscous and the sweetness tends to overwhelm the actual vodka. However, this is a great spirit for use in baking, or cooking with a pork dish. Try this instead of brandy in a stew. Unusual and right on the edge of being of liqueuer. GSN Rating: B+
Vim & Petal, the sole gin entry in the Middle West portfolio uses the same unfiltered vodka as it’s base, and the same sweetness carries through. Although not entirely unpleasant, it is a bit of a shock when you are expecting a dry and crisp, juniper forward spirit. This sweetness is at odds with the botanicals and doesn’t really allow them to shine. The pine and citrus notes are very mild and only really make themselves known after a minute of two. We’d like to see what Middle West could do with a triple distilled and filtered base spirit. GSN Rating: B-
For more information go to: Middle West Spirits