Vom Fass is a fairly new store that has opened at the Shops of Roosevelt. This is an international franchise and Des Moines is lucky to be one of the very first cities in the United States to see a store. The store sells spirits, wine, oils and vinegars. The unique theme of the store is reflected in the name, which I’m told means “from the cask.” Here in Iowa this means that the oil and vinegar is dispensed from ceramic casks into one of the glass bottles that are available from the store. Choose the glass bottle and the staff will fill it with the oil or vinegar that you want. The bottle is sealed and after you use it up you can return to get it refilled. A variety of sizes and shapes are for sale. The description is hand-written on the bottle. This is a theme I’ve seen in Europe where oils and vinegars are sometimes dispensed from large glass amphora.
The spirits are treated differently. While samples are available and even encouraged (spirits, unlike wine, are not overly harmed by oxidation), you purchase the spirits in the differently sized bottles that are already available. The Scotch Whisky is sold prebottled in a variety of bottle sizes. Other spirits, including various Grappas, liqueurs, and cocktail mixes are sold in a variety of about four different bottle styles and sizes. What makes Vom Fass very interesting for whisky drinkers is that you can sample a wide variety Scotch whiskies from all around Scotland. It is possible to go from the highlands to the lowlands, or to sample a variety of peated or unpeated whisky. This is an unparalleled opportunity. Before, a whisky sampler would have to buy his or her way through different $8 glasses at, say, the Royal Mile. Now, you can zero in on exactly what you want and buy as much as you want. There are also some Irish Whiskeys available.
Some of the spirits, grappas, and liqueurs are sourced from Europe through Vom Fass. Others are made here in the United States by Yahara Bay Spirits. these include brandy, rum, vodka, and some of the liqueurs. Yahara Bay is out of Madison, Wisconsin and makes a very wide variety of different spirits. Yahara Bay’s copper still features a vapor infuser, something that I do not believe I’ve seen on the stills of other local distilleries. This feature allows Yahara Bay to supply a variety of special spirits to Vom Fass.
For the Scotch and Irish whiskys, each bottle has the name of they whisky hand-written on the bottle, in keeping with the theme of Vam Fass. A large variety of Scotch Whiskys are available. Be sure to sign up for tasting events as well.
833 42nd Street
Des Moines, Iowa
Monday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00p.m.-5:00 p.m.