The charming town of Minden, Nevada, located conveniently between Lake Tahoe and Reno, is home to a state-of-the-art facility that recently opened its doors.
Bently Heritage Distillery serves as a perfect masterpiece that is home to more than 4,000 residents.
The facility is certainly a one-of-a-kind, delivering a variety of products now available in main markets — from a variety of gins to a stellar vodka lineup and a meticulous whiskey program to be released when timing is right.
We arrived to Minden a few weeks ago to learn more about the facility, which delivers a farm-to-glass approach like no other.
The reception was heartwarming in spite of the picture-perfect blanket of snow that covered the town.
The master plan includes growing the grains used to produce its distillates to mills, kilns and malting floors all the way to the carefully selected stills, aging vessels and unique bottles and labels.
The facility, which took just over four years in the making from planning to execution, counts with three main stills all dedicated to a number of spirits. The first still as you enter the building is an impressive German-made Carl still dedicated to gin and vodka. Right behind it is a column still for whiskey production made in Butte, Montana, and at the end a smaller version of the German Carl for small batches.
The whole production building comes with a series of pipes connected to the different rooms that make up a series of channels to aid with transferring to the proper vessels.
Another impressive aspect of the operation is a set of temperature-controlled Rickhouses that mimic several conditions like those of Scotland and Kentucky for whiskey aging.
We tasted three products that were unique and worth seeking. One was the ‘Single Estate’ Source One Vodka. You could say this is the flagship of the distillery, made of 100 percent oats grown and processed in the ranch. The result — an earthy and herbal vodka with creaminess and a generous profile.
The Juniper Grove Gin, in a London Dry style, exploded with layers of cedar, juniper, lemon and lime peel and a lively peppery note that reminded me of fresh baby arugula.
The third of the lineup was an Oloroso Sherry Cask aged vodka, a one-of-a-kind spirit, rested in the cask for one month. This baby delivered the goods, spice, caramel and layers of toast with a creamy and bold texture.
As part of the program, we experienced a Cocktail Class by world-renowned Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, author of “The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails” and others. The seminar was enlightening with some simple, but easily overlooked, tips on stirring, shaking and serving cocktails like stirring 20 times in each direction when making a martini.
“It’s the little things that add up to make a great cocktail,” Tony said. Of course, the results were delicious. I got to experience one of the best and most balanced gimlets I’ve had simply made with the Juniper Grove Gin, lime and simple syrup. It’s all about the right ingredients and technique.
The Bently Family not only focuses their efforts on the beverage world, but their operations also include growing organic and antibiotic-free cattle that is found at multiple stores, including Whole Foods. They also grow garlic and hay as part of the remarkable operation.
Bently Heritage Distillery founder by Christopher and Camille Bently marks the continued efforts of the Bently family in Minden. They’ve also managed to create a team of experts to oversee the operation from the ground up. A team of 6 distillers is backed up by experts like Matthew Drew, “The Malt Master,” Jeff Hodson, an industry veteran who is director of sales, and Jason Tollman, who’s worked for companies like Nestle/PowerBar and Starbucks, to name a few, serves as general manager.
Next time you encounter one of their spirits at your favorite bar or liquor store, keep in mind all aspects of production from the organic farming to the time their spirits are bottled. And do stop by the Bently Heritage Distillery on your next road trip.