Wilderton Earthen Ultimate Review

Wilderton Earthen Ultimate Review


In this Ultimate Wilderton Review you will learn:

When Wilderton first came across my radar, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Was it going to be like an aggressive gin? Confession: I’ve never been a fan of gin. So I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it.

When I came across Wilderton again, it was on a podcast, and I heard one of the creators talk about the fascinating process that is used to produce this beverage and also how his wife likes drink it every morning with carrot juice. So, I decided to try it out and see if it’s something that I would add to my non-alcoholic bar cart.

What is Wilderton?

The last time I tried a gin drink was at a restaurant in Laguna beach with a view of the ocean. I saw Amass on the menu and thought to myself, they make a non-alcoholic gin so why not try it? Mistake. I forgot just how prominent the alcohol flavor is in gin. Pair that with the sometimes astringent taste of the juniper berries, and it’s usually too much for me. So instead, I let the almost full drink sit there and just watched the waves through the window and thought about why more restaurants don’t carry Wilderton.

Wilderton is a producer based in Oregon and founded by Brad Whiting and Seth O’Malley. Brad is a liquor industry veteran and Seth is a master distiller with a vision to pull flavors from tea, perfume, and other unusual places to create a non-alcoholic botanical spirit. Now away from the big liquor industry, they could experiment more with different ingredients to develop something truly unique.

Wilderton’s two varieties—Lustre and Earthen—are drinks I can get behind. Both use botanicals that are water soluble and have profiles that are “softer” than gin and, for me, that’s what makes them so appealing.

Though I mostly use the Earthen in my recipes, I have been enjoying experimenting with the Lustre, a more citrus oriented expression as well. 

How is Wilderton made?

Seth decided to go after water soluble botanicals because this would allow him to extract the full range of flavors without needing to use a different solvent like alcohol, fatty acid, or vinegar. To produce both varieties of Wilderton, they steep the botanicals in water for several hours. Then they use a process of vacuum distillation.

In vacuum distillation, the vacuum reduces the boiling point to a lower temperature so that the aromatic molecules can be turned into vapor and then cooled back into liquid form without burning off too many of the molecules. The result is a crystal clear liquid that is concentrated flavor. They are then able to dilute and mix that liquid so that it can become more palatable as either the Lustre or Earthen.

What does the Wilderton Earthen taste like?

On the nose, Earthen is really kind of aggressive. It almost smells minty and spicey. If you drink it straight, be prepared! It packs a punch and in that sense, it reminds you of alcohol!

With many NA drinks, you can pretty much drink them straight without worrying about it being too strong. But Wilderton Earthen is an exception to that rule. For me, it would still have to be rocks and soda to truly enjoy its flavor.

The most prominent flavors to me are cardamom, spearmint, patchouli, and pimenton (aka paprika) but that is mostly because I don’t know what the cueb and benzoin actually taste like! What I can say is that it does taste incredibly floral and minty.

I wasn’t expecting the mint to be honest, but it does play well with frankinsense. When mixing with other NA spirits or mixers, these two flavors stand out the most. So be careful with how much Wilderton Earthen you add to maintain a balanced flavor profile.

What types of drinks does Wilderton Earthen work well in?

Because of the floral, spicy, and minty qualities, I have found that Wilderton Earthen works well in drinks that are variations of citrus forward drinks like a:

  • Margarita
  • Aviation
  • Mayday
  • Gin & Tonic
  • and more!

I especially like Wilderton paired with citrus based aperitifs like Ghia or For Bitter For Worse Eva’s Spritz and also sweeter floral mixers, like our Drycraft Creme de Violette.

My Overall Recommendation

If you can’t tell already, I love the Wilderton Earthen. I just finished a bottle and need to buy another one immediately. It’s so versatile and adds complexity to many different types of drinks in lieu of gin.

Where to buy Wilderton Earthen

You can buy Wilderton Earthen in our online store at one of our NA Bottle Shop Pop Ups in San Diego.

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