July 12 – 18, 2019Vol. 21, No. 6

Top the Day With a Tasting at Tree Spirits

Bruce Olson

On a tree-lined road in Oakland, up a short driveway, there is a small building — like many in Maine originally intended for other purposes (a junk shop; sailboat storage) — that invites those in search of adventure, hospitality and refreshment to taste some unique wines and spirits and discover how local entrepreneur Bruce Olson — owner, brewer, bartender/host and raconteur — produces the best in locally-sourced and locally-brewed products, provides a fascinating product narrative, and wins international awards.

Specializing in wines and spirits made from local apples and pears (from The Apple Farm in Fairfield) and maple syrup (from the Bacon Farm in Sidney), Tree Spirits is unusual in being both a winery and a distillery. It also is unusual in being a distiller — the only one in New England — of absinthe, the "Green Fairy" that was outlawed for a century in Europe and the United States due to purported hallucinogenic properties. Using a recipe from the 1800s — ask Bruce to tell the story — the Tree Spirits absinthe must be tested and approved by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

In addition to apple, pear, maple syrup, and pomegranate flavors, the distillery also offers a limoncello, Sicily's signature liqueur. Most popular, though, Bruce points out, is the absinthe.

Opening at noon, Tree Spirits offers regular tastings at $5 — choose up to five and keep the glass — or premium tastings at $6, which includes absinthe as one of the five.

The full range of wines, sparkling and table and after dinner/dessert, and of spirits are for sale at Tree Spirits and can be shipped to most other states.

Tree Spirits (465-3007) is located at 152 Fairfield Street (Route 23)in Oakland, a close drive from Interstate 95, Colby College, the Belgrade Lakes Region and the Maine International Film Festival.