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Belle of Dayton Vodka

Belle of Dayton
Small Batch


By Robert Plotkin

Brothers Mike, Tim and Murphy LaSelle opened the Belle of Dayton distillery to celebrate Ohio's rich distilling tradition. Prior to Prohibition, there were dozens of small distilleries that set up shop in the area, in large part because the city of Dayton sits on top of the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer, one of the most productive natural water sources in the country. The better the water, the better the spirit.
The brothers LaSelle first release was Belle of Dayton Small Batch Vodka, a handcrafted gem made from 100% Midwestern corn spirits, which are then re-distilled in the distillery's 350 gallon, hybrid, copper pot still. After the vodka exits the still, it is rendered to 80-proof with naturally filtered, mineral-rich water.

"The Belle of Dayton label on each bottle, and the small batch spirit it contains, proudly pays homage to our American distilling heritage," notes brand owner Murphy LaSelle. "We combine old world wisdom with modern equipment and innovative techniques to create our 'grain to glass' spirits. Ours is a genuine artisanal vodka."

Artisanal Belle of Dayton Vodka, 80 proof, is really something quite special. The award winning spirit has a pristine clear appearance, a lightweight, satiny textured body and an alluring bouquet of vanilla, cocoa, anise, butter and baking spice. For a neutral spirit, this vodka has a lot of things going on. The entry onto the palate is remarkably mild and well controlled—thankfully never approaching hot. The spirit slowly expands filling the mouth with the flavors of cinnamon, clove, licorice and spice. The fade is long and spicy.

Following on the heels of the vodka's success, the brothers introduced their fan base to the joys of heat with the release of Hell's Hot Pepper Flavored Vodka. The nearly combustible spirit is infused with 7 types of chili peppers, including the Ghost and Scorpion varieties, two of the hottest peppers in the world. It is bottled at 40% alcohol (80 proof).

You may want to remain seated when tasting Belle of Dayton's peppered sensation for the first time. The vodka in the bottle even looks fiery. It has a reddish/amber hue, a lightweight body and a pepper dominated bouquet. The vapors emanating from the vodka can actually bring tears to the eyes, but for pepper fanatics, its aromatics are a thing of beauty. The palate thrums with kinetic energy. Moments after entry, the vodka's collective heat begins to grow in lip-tingling intensity, stopping just short of becoming fissionable. Its palate features a broad array of peppery, fire-roasted flavors that reside just behind the heat. The vodka's finish is remarkably long and satisfying.

It's hard to imagine a better vodka to feature in a custom-made Bloody Mary. In fact, it will perform like a charm in any cocktail searching for a Scoville rating.

Also from the distillery is 1775 Colonial Reserve Belle Rum, 82-proof, a delectable rum distilled entirely from blackstrap molasses and naturally filtered, mineral–rich water. The rum is crystal clear with a full body and the aromas of butterscotch, vanilla, caramel, cinnamon and cacao. Its aromatic signature is a bona fide treat and well worth the purchase price. The complex palate is brilliantly flavored.