If high-end specialty oils, vinegars, and liqueurs are your thing, then the recently opened Vom Fass at the Mall of America is definitely worth checking out. This specialty goods franchise opened quietly over the weekend and celebrated with a grand opening party yesterday afternoon complete with a create-your-own cocktail bar and a ribbon cutting with Bloomington Mayor, Gene Winstead.
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Vom Fass is a German-based retailer with 18 locations in the United States. They specialize in artisanal liqueurs, spirits, wine, oils, vinegars, and spices, and shoppers can sample and taste before purchasing. Customers then select a bottle size and have it filled in store directly from the cask. (Vom Fass loosely translates to "from the tap.")
Local Vom Fass president, Tamra Kramer, says the store works largely with small producers, distillers, and family run vineyards -- most of which produce their products solely for Vom Fass She also says the company often sends their employees to visit the producers as a way to help better tell the story behind their products.
"Really, in a lot of ways, we're kind of like a farm-to-table style business," says Kramer.
Sampling is a big portion of the store's business model. We tried a variety of cognacs, whiskeys, and liqueurs. Their American Rye is exceptionally smooth with a lush caramel flavor, whereas their 22 year Bowmore Scotch had a great smokey, peaty flavor and was also an easy sipper. One of their more unique product offerings was a bourbon barrel aged gin, which had many of the bourbon notes hanging in the background without overwhelming the juniper flavor of the gin. Essentially a ready-made martini, you could pour it in a glass with a cube of ice and an olive and be set.