Gin Reviews

Touchwood (Oaked Gambit Gin)

touchwood-pinup

Lucky Bastard Distillers’ combine a pin-up girl aesthetic with puns about “wood” [wood, as in what's its aged in!] for all of their barrel aged spirits. But they’re not just about the bawdy jokes. Acute attention to detail and local character set their spirits apart and give them a distinctly “Saskatchewan” character. Their spirits are small batch, the ingredients are local and organic. The spirits have appreciable depth of character. Their aged gin uses their contemporary Gambit Gin as a base spirit [which features Saskatoon Berries, more on that in a moment], and then rest it in oak.

Saskatoon Berries? In the states, these small, blueberry shaped berries are known as “Juneberries,” and even before that they were known as Pigeon berries. Often a feature of prairie underbrush, these small (<20 ft tall) bushes grow across the prairies of the Northern United States and along the Rockies all the way through the Yukon up into Alaska.

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Philosophy

…back by popular demand

Gin pentagon

We know we’ve been a little quieter around here, and there’s some good reasons for that [more on that soon!]. But for now we’ve made one major update…

Back by popular request, we’ve added the Gin Flavor Pentagon back to each and every gin review page. Our Philosophy hasn’t changed. But we added back the visualization that so many of you have told us you found helpful.

Cheers!

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Gin Reviews

Wheeler’s Western Dry Gin

wheeler's-gin-bottle

Wheeler’s Western Dry Gin from Santa Fe Spirits captures the essence of place through the use of many botanicals native to New Mexico, and of importance to New Mexico heritage. For example, the Osha root [known to Native peoples' as Bear Root, so-called as legend says it was discovered by observing a bear consuming it] is a local medicine, historically used for aches. Then take the Cholla cactus, whose blossoms are reputed to have a faintly “cucumber” like flavor. Throw in sage [the aroma of the desert] and juniper, each individually distilled, then combined, and you have a distinctly New Mexican gin.

Tasting Notes

Vividly and powerfully aromatic, at even first blush, bright sage, with a wet sagebrush after a spring rain aroma, leading you into some deeper juniper notes, with earthy depth in the lower notes. Very bright and inviting, though it could easily be mixed up from aroma along with Art in the Age’s Sage Spirit, but more on that later.

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Gin Reviews

Wray and Nephew Old Tom Gin

wray-and-nephew-bottle

Firstly, a huge thank you to John, a.k.a. Foodie Pilgrim, who was so kind as to help pick up this gin for me during his recent visit to Jamaica.

This gin’s reputation precedes itself somewhat. Particularly during the long dark era in which Old Tom Gin was completely unavailable. Its name taunted people from afar, with the possibility/potentiality of a long lost style still extant on some far away tropical location. Only available in that tropical location. I mean, isn’t that the dream? To have to to travel to try something?

Well the sad news is that I’m not quite sure it delivers on the promise of the name. It is not the long lost Old Tom bartenders were looking for. Or might this be?

The Old Tom Debate, concisely

Is Old Tom Gin aged? not aged? sweetened with sugar? sweetened with botanicals?

The search for a precise definition of this style eludes cocktail historians.

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Gin Reviews

Citadelle Gin

citadelle-gin

Citadelle Gin is something of the “Elder Statesman” of the new style of gins. It’s been around long enough to have “always been there” to many, but that is to lose sight that at one point Citadelle was the bold, surprising, innovative new gin on the shelf. Their story is complex, but we’re going to try to make it as succinct as possible.

In our own < 100 Words

Citadelle is half revival, half new innovation: the revival is based on one the first gin produced in France at the “Citadelle.” The innovation is in the where and the how. Maison Ferrand Distillery and the SW corner of France is best known for its Cognac. But perhaps the boldest part was the revelation that during the offseason when they legally couldn’t distill Cognac, they could distill gin. The government finally relented in ’95, and so began the magic of open flames [don't try this at home] and pot stills: Citadelle 2.0 was thusly born.

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