Fernet-Branca is the drink of choice for service-industry workers looking for a midshift buzz while keeping their breath minty fresh. So it made perfect sense that Townshend's distillery Thomas & Sons decided to produce a Northwest version: a respected local institution making use of local botanicals (Douglas fir, birch bark, hops) to quench the thirst of a town where servers aren't allowed to imbibe on the clock.

Unfortunately, competing with a product that's 170 years old is hard, and Townshend's overthought the task. On the nose, the fernet has the piney rush of a very herbal gin, which leads to an array of independently nice but collectively disjointed flavors like mint, tobacco and cardamom.

Whereas Fernet-Branca is like smoking a menthol cigarette through your nose, Townshend's fernet is like standing in a burning head shop. Not recommended.