Review: Dragon Mist Baijiu / by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Dragon Mist Distillery

Image courtesy of Dragon Mist Distillery

3 years
100% Wheat
Distiller Dragon Mist Distillery (Surrey, British Columbia)

Baijiu is the world’s most popular spirit, and it carries centuries of tradition behind it. While some believe that distilling originated in the middle east, others think it began in China. Needless to say, it’s a very distinct and traditional process. Baijiu’s are white spirits that are divided into a number of different categories by aroma: light, rice aroma, savoury aroma, strong aroma. There are other aromas, also - but, for now, suffice it to say that the spirit has a very significant breadth of profile.

Dragon Mist’s Baijiu starts with BC wheat, and it goes through quite the process - it is fermented for six weeks as a very dry mixture, with bacteria, yeast, and fungus (qu fungus) fermenting the grains and adding unique character. Because the fermented mixture is so dry, it has to be distilled with steam in order to extract the alcohol. It is distilled four times, filtered four times, and aged over three years in containers to create a light, complex spirit. It is in the “light” category of baijiu - delicate, dry, and high in alcohol.

Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

Brilliant – a light, clean spirit with a really nice rich earthiness and savouriness to it. There is subtlety abounding: miso, vanilla, coconut, rice wine, ever so light licorice, and floral touches. There is a slight creamy character too. The finish is extremely clean, yet there are still grainy, earthy notes. At 56%, it certainly has bite, but I’ve never had a 56% white spirit which is so soft. It really is quite remarkable.

And if 56% is a bit intense, water brings to life all the flavour within and softens the spirit even further to show off the incredible interplay of savoury, sweet, floral, and earthy notes.

The spirit tastes good when served neat, straight up, or over ice – but it makes some nice cocktails too. My preference is to go with a dry martini-style here, and garnish with a pickled onion (or olive works well too). It’s so soft, delicate, savoury, herbal, and still sharp with alcohol – a favourite for a martini variation. Who would have known! It doesn’t lose anything and the dry vermouth adds a wonderful array of herbal and fruit notes that complement the earthiness and savouriness of the baijiu. I really enjoy earthy and funky flavours, not only in spirits but especially in cocktails - this makes me love this baijiu.

Assessment: Highly Recommended.