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10/13/2011--Seattle, WA, USA..Kevin Leithead of Seattle, WA, tastes spirits poured at Sound Spirits by distiller Kevin Barrans, 32 (behind)..The first craft distillery in Seattle since Prohibition, it’s fitting that Sound Spirits sits on 15th Avenue W, just a short amble from downtown and from the water that flows in from the Sound. The company’s stylized design sense marries fashionable bottle shapes and a Puget Sound octopus logo and mascot, but what really sets this distillery apart is its flavor profile and the use of Washington malted barley, a grain that comes from the fields of the Palouse, far from Seattle in the state’s southeastern corner.. .Opened in September 2010, Sound Spirits is the brain child of distiller (and Boeing engineer) Steven Stone, who continually experimented, tested, researched and tasted a variety of grains before making what could be seen as a curious choice: going with malted barley as a base. There are currently few vodkas and fewer gins that use malted barley as their base grain; for one thing, it’s more expensive than other grains. It also adds a large dollop of flavor from the first drop off the still, and many modern vodkas shy away from personality in their taste profiles, going instead for a product that tends to be boringly neutral. But a signature personality and taste is exactly what Stone wanted. And so its Ebb+Flow Vodka ($32) uses 100 percent malted barley, its Ebb+Flow Gin ($33) uses 50 percent, and its newest product (release date wasn’t firm at press time), Sound Spirits Aquavit, a Danish-style aquavit, is also based on malted barley. ..Sound Spirits’ devotion to malted barley is only matched by its focus on sustainability, with the spent grain going to feed a local farmer’s cow and a continuous loop used to save water during the distilling process. While its signature spirits may be named after a mixture of the tides and the Northwest’s laid-back nature, Sound Spirits is anything but laid back when it c