Alex and Monica Villicana were early on the scene. Winemakers for more than 20 years in Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast, they added RE:FIND Distillery to their brand in 2011, first with impressive vodka and gin (for legal reasons called neutral and botanical brandy on their website) distilled from juice that had been drained from local red wines to concentrate the wines—sustainable, no waste. More recently they’ve added rye and bourbon, working with artisan brewers for the mash bill, but fermenting, distilling, and aging the products themselves.
Unique in the lineup is their RE:FIND [e] Vodka Finished in Barrel ($60). The gentle char of wine barrels makes perfect sense around the richly weighted and textured grape spirit. Sweet toast and caramelized nuts round out pear and orange-peel notes.
And if you can get your hands on their RE:FIND Cask Strength Whiskey (a rare find; $120), don’t hesitate. It has pinpoint balance, if one can say that about something at this proof. Orange, caramel, spice … they’re all punched up a few notches.