From a distillery that’s been in operation since the 1980’s, formally known for their Eau De Vie, the team of Jörg Rupf, Lance Winters and Dave Smith have helped propel the same distillery the frontline of the gin world, making a line of gins that is as well-respected as it is imaginative: the Dry Rye which wears the Rye base on its sleeve, the legendary Faultline Gin, and their “it tastes like Redwood trees, but in a good way” Terroir Gin.
All Gins containing: Angelica Root
St. Augustine New World Gin in <100 Words
One of a quite small (but growing!) number of gins built on cane spirit, this cane base is 100% Florida grown and has won awards on its own merits. The gin is an equally Florida inspired take, with citrus figuring prominently on the bottle and on the gin as well. Part of their “old world” allure is the intentional anachronism of hand-grinding the botanicals (check out their promo video here) for inclusion in their gin. Set in the oldest European settled-city in North America, I think we can forgive them some old-timey stuff, especially when the gin (in a moment) is what it is.
Scotland seems to be no longer content to be simply known to gin geeks as the “place where some of the biggest gins in the world are distilled.” NB Gin stands out among its Scottish gin peers for not trying too hard to be Scottish. You might be thinking of some of those other guys that have tried using a Scottish base spirit as a gimmick, or trying to use a whole slew of exotic Scottish countryside herbs. But not NB Gin. It takes a more traditional road towards being a good gin.
In our own <100 words
The Muirs, husband and wife, have teamed up to create this latest Scottish gin. Their attention to detail is evident in their choice of facilities. A traditional copper pot still? Manual controls? Although the latter is shared with most small gins, the mission statement is clear: NB Gin is small batch and has been given close attention at every step. Like a master craftsman, they call out no stops in their botanical choice. Working with eight of the most common ingredients in gin (see below), the end result is more a result of close attention to the nuance of the ingredients than any exotic note the botanicals might bring.
We have another bold colored gin from the Galicia region of Spain. Entropia’s golden color isn’t from aging, its actually from the post-distillation infusion of the two botanicals most prominently called out on the bottle. Guarana and Ginseng. I know, it’s hard to not think “energy drink” considering I’ve seen those two ingredients prominently called out on the labels of everything from Sobe to Vitamin Water over the last decade.
Ginseng is often considered a natural boost for one’s mental acuity, sexual drive, or mood, science thus far has only been able to find weak evidence to associate it with boosting one’s immune system. Not exactly unabashed support, yet some claim to experience these benefits.
Guarana has been associated with a whole host of supposed boosts, everything from weight loss, to mental sharpness, to sexual stamina and really everything in between. Science remains unconvinced.
But we’re not here to try the botanicals’ medical properties. We’re here to try their flavor. And on that matter we feel like we’re qualified to pass judgement.
Entropia Gin has a golden color, similar to that of a lager. It has the hue of bright hay or goldenrod.
The season: that is the winter, brings to mind the notions of warmth, heat, and coziness. When I think of those words in terms of spirits, I generally thing of “aged,” “warming,” a bit “hot,” and “spiced.” If I were to paint a picture of the ideal winter spirit, it might capture as many of those ideals as possible. Some gins are naturally full of warm baking spice. Some gins are a bit hot, served over 80 proof, giving a nice warm feeling when sipped. And finally some gins are aged. And then yet other gins are all of the above:
What exactly is a “Ginavit”
Technically, an Aquavit should derive its primary flavor from Caraway or Dill, but like gin the notion of “primary flavor” has a great deal of variance from one distiller to another. Additionally Aquavit is rarely solely flavored by Caraway or Dill: other botanicals (herbs and spices) are used to create each distiller’s individual recipe. You might see how there’s a lot that these two spirits have in common right from the outset. Many of the traditional gin botanicals (anise for example) are common in Aquavit as well.
Darnley’s view gin (alike many other gins on the market) desires to create a sense of place on your palette. We’ve covered many gins that accomplish this to varying degrees. Caorunn worked to create that vision by choosing a whole slew of native botanicals; Seneca Drums, whose distillery is located in wine country created that vision by stacking traditional gin botanicals on top of a grape spirit base, and yet others (and this is where Darnley’s view come in) take a more abstract approach to that sense of place. Though one of the non-traditional botanicals (Elderflower) does grow wild on the Scottish countryside, the view isn’t told only through the names of the ingredients. The makers of Darnley’s view are telling a more complete story through the experience of their drink. First, a brief foray into history, then on to the drinking.
The Tasting Darnley’s view boasts a modest six botanicals: Juniper, Lemon Peel, Elderflower, Coriander, Angelica Root, and Orris Root.