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Captured in the Bottle: The Fruits of Clear Creek Distillery

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A few days after an interview with Steve McCarthy, the proprietor of Portland, Oregon’s Clear Creek Distillery, I joked with my husband that I wouldn’t mind starting my own operation. Perhaps the impulse was deeply rooted from childhood—my grandfather, a PhD scholar of chemical engineering, had built his own laboratory out of concrete blocks adjacent to the main house on his property. I grew up with the periodic table of the elements in the periphery and, one Christmas, crystalline rock candy growing on string within the controlled conditions of this eerie outbuilding. Delightfully forbidden, its glass test tubes, Bunsen burners, and luminous colored liquids were always a source of wild fascination.

Yet, for me, this sudden notion transcended the chemistry of steaming copper-topped distillation pots and spoke to a more spiritual philosophy regarding the purity and preservation of the fruit. Mr. McCarthy’s eaux-de-vie, which he has painstakingly perfected for twenty-eight years, now rivals the best in Europe. But what impressed me most about our conversation was his utter passion for the treatment of the Pacific Northwest pears, apples, cherries, plums, and raspberries that flavor his exceptional brandies. Beyond the gentle nurturing of water and sunlight, it is the intuition of peak ripeness and precision fermentation that is a true art form—determined only in part by the laws of nature, but mostly by the wisdom and experience of the grower.

Jeanne de Lathouder, Associate Editor, Victoria magazine

Photographs: Kate Sears

Look for our upcoming feature story about Clear Creek Distillery in the January/February 2013 issue of Victoria magazine.


Fall S'mores Kit

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Jordan Ferney's lifestyle blog, Oh Happy Day!, is chalk-full of D.I.Y. projects, party ideas, and interior design inspiration. For some fall fun, see her homemade s'mores kit.



A Fresh Slice of Fall

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Apples are quintessentially autumn. The crispness of a freshly picked apple is synonymous with the clean slate of a new school year, the brisk air of cooling temperatures, and the crunching of leaves underfoot during an afternoon stroll. With this in mind, we’ve rounded up a few products that celebrate this favorite fall fruit. Pour a mug of hot cider, and enjoy! (And for some tempting apple recipes, click here to visit our website.)


 1. Pomme Reinette de Bretagne botanical print by Pierre-Antoine Poiteau / 2. Orange & Apple Snack Bags from Paper Source / 3. Hot Apple Cider: Words to Stir the Heart and Warm the Soul from That's Life! Communications / 4. Elsa Peretti Apple pendant from Tiffany & Co. / 5. swiss apple herbal tea from Tea Forte / 6. Copco Red Apple Teakettle from Target / 7. Blue Apple Scarf from first light / 8. Slatkin & Co. Farmstand Apple 4 oz. Small Candle from Bath & Body Works / 9. Apple & Pear Pinch Bowl Set from LEIF / 10. Air Plant Terrarium from Viva Terra



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