Normally, lime is really hard to distill without ending up with something that smells artificial and candy-like. Thatís why they turned to Kaffir lime, which goes in directions that standard lime or key lime cannot. Kaffir limes and leaves are mainstays of Thai cuisine because of their high aromatic oil content and intense flavor. There are notes of wood, white pepper and cucumber. They infuse Kaffir leaves with the fruit to increase the richness and complexity.
At one point, they owned every commercially available Kaffir lime leaf in North America. Since theyíre an East Asian plant, there arenít tons grown here. They were going gangbusters with the lime vodka, and then they realized that they had tapped out the supply channel. An internet search turned up a nursery that had bought way too many Kaffir lime trees after a Sunset Magazine article had made it sound like they were the next big thing. Their trees arenít selling, but they keep growing, so from time to time they go out and prune the leaves and send them to them.
They now have a few devoted growers in Californiaís Sacramento Central Valley who have planted Kaffir lime trees just for Hangar One. They planted a few trees of their own right next to the distillery.