What is imbue?
Imbue is the first vermouth company in the Northwest. Our unique aperitif’s are designed to be enjoyed neat, but have proven themselves unique and inspiring ingredients in craft cocktails.
Unlike typical vermouth production, we at imbue start with the best wine possible. Hailing from the Willamette Valley Oregon, we thought it essential and obvious to start with the white grape that we grow so well: Pinot gris. Pinot gris provides us with ample fruit notes such as pear and apple with a backbone of mouthwatering acidity. For us this provides the perfect canvas.
At imbue we want to make every aspect of our process uniquely ours. Our eau de vie is sewn from the same cloth as our base wine. Dropped into the gifted hands of Portland’s Clear Creek Distillery, our Pinot gris is transformed into a fragrant and lively eau de vie. For the Bittersweet, the brandy is macerated in American oak, ultimately giving imbue wonderfully subtle hints of vanilla and clove.
At imbue we use the freshest dried botanicals we can get our hands on. We tend to use a smaller number of botanicals than traditional houses, in order to preserve the subtle and distinctive characters we get from each of them.
Our process stems from our experiences as bartenders and winemakers. These experiences have taught us many things. For instance we understand that small decisions can make a huge impact. Each batch of imbue starts with artisan Willamette valley grown Pinot gris. Low impact winemaking techniques are used to preserve the inherent qualities of this varietal. A large portion (roughly 50%) is aged in neutral French oak to soften the acidity and homogenize the flavors.
Blending is hugely important. Like grapes, each botanical component is different from year to year and must be evaluated separately; there cannot be a “recipe” for imbue. In order to preserve the subtle qualities of imbue, we take great care in adjusting our recipe to reach
superb balance each batch. The recipe is alive, fluid and constantly changing. It’s funny, but that ability and desire to change is what ultimately allows us to keep consistent our delicious vermouth.
Imbue is made with real ingredients. We don’t use adjuncts, or essential oils. We don’t contrive. We add freshly dried botanicals, some foraged for in the wild, and some farmed. We like our grandmother’s “from scratch” apple pie, and it is important to us that this vermouth has that same feel: made, not engineered. We are small batch producers of artisan vermouth.
Jen, Neil and Derek make vermouth the way we taught ourselves. Even though it feels like magic some days we just do what seems natural. We blend delicious wine with delicious brandy, add some delicious herbs, filter, and pray like hell that people will drink copious amounts of it and smile when they’re done.