Whether it’s a cocktail at a Mardi Gras Ball or an iced-down beer at a tailgate party, alcohol is unabashedly a part of the culture here in The South. As well as creativity, strong character, and a great appreciation for our natural world. It’s also no secret that we love to celebrate, well, just about anything. So when one of our own, Jamison Trouth of Sulphur, Louisiana, unveiled his artisanal Yellowfin Vodka, you better believe we as a community were more than eager to show our excitement.
But not nearly excited as Trouth, who left a notable career as a chemical engineer to launch Yellowfin Distillery, LLC. “I decided to pursue the vodka distillery path my senior year at McNeese and had begun experimenting/researching before I graduated in Spring 2007,” admitted Trouth. Although a successful engineer, the thought of creating his own business always loomed in the back of his mind. “I got to the point that I didn’t feel that it was a choice. I had a strong feeling that I needed to go all in if it was going to be successful. I was too comfortable with the engineering job, and I knew I needed more motivation. Not having that dependable, steady income was the best motivation I could have given myself to succeed, and it definitely lit a fire under me.”
An incredibility smooth and neutral spirit with a creamy finish, Yellowfin Vodka can certainly hold it’s own with any label out there. The fact that it truly is a handcrafted spirit in every sense of the word makes it go down that much smoother. But what makes something craft? Common sense suggests a product of exceptional quality created in small quantities by a skilled artist. In essence, the opposite of cookie-cutter mass production. But with no Federal definitions for craft-produced spirits, the term “craft” becomes murky, vague, and easily deceiving. In truth, many so-called craft producers begin with neutral grain spirits bought in bulk, shipped in from commercial manufactories across the country, run through their own stills in small batches, then labeled as handcrafted. They forgo using local ingredients and skip the fermentation process and initial distillation altogether.
From the outset, Trouth wanted to create his vodka around his passions while showcasing the local treasures from his home state of Louisiana. Starting with locally sourced, pure Louisiana cane sugar. Each batch begins by dissolving Louisiana sugar in purified water then adding yeast to make sugar wine. After the sugar wine ferments, it finally makes its way through the distillation system. The highly concentrated outcome must then be diluted to 40% alcohol/volume before filtering. The vodka slowly passes through 5 distinct filters over a two day period. The result? A bright, smooth liquor perfect for mixing or enjoying neat. Trouth currently finishes off each of his small batches by applying each label, also inspired by another of his other passions, spearfishing. “I love spearfishing,” explained Trouth. “So I wanted to incorporate the nautical theme and Yellowfin Tuna since they are such a beautiful fish and the quality of the meat is second to none. And just as fresh Yellowfin Tuna can be enjoyed rare or lightly seared, I enjoy my Yellowfin Vodka the same way, at room temperature with nothing added, not even ice.”
From the sprawling sugarcane fields to the cobalt waters of the Gulf, Yellowfin Vodka is a tribute to the rich culture and character of coastal Louisiana. True to Louisiana style, the community rallied behind Jamison and embraced Yellowfin during his soft launch last month. The doors hadn’t been open a week before he completely sold out of his product. Until Yellowfin hits the store shelves, you got to go straight to the source, the distiller. A purchase made with a handshake and a smile, just the way we like it here in The South.