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: Black Peppercorn
This is the second gin from Hernö brenneri and the northernmost distillery gin distillery up in Dala, Sweden. We previously reviewed their 41% Swedish Excellence Gin.
Northernmost Navy What?
Q. If there was a Navy, let’s say hypothetically, would they be operating anything other than icebreakers?
A. Well, let’s dispel this notion. In theory, the nearest large city to Dala, Härnösand is known as a Harbor city, and its climate, while cool, is similar to Buffalo, NY. While this is the northermost gin distillery, it’s not so northern that a Navy – in theory – couldn’t operate out of the town where it is distilled. So dispel the notion that this is a spatial anachronism of sorts. On to the drink!
Tasting Notes on the World’s Northermost Navy Strength Gin The nose is a bit different than the lower proof batch. A little bit more emphasis on the floral, and a decidedly pronounced bit of heat. You can tell that this is going to pack some strength just from the scent.
The palette emphasizes some different notes as well. Up front, quiet on the lips. Takes half a second for the intensity to build.
My love for the great white north of any continent has left me with a somewhat peculiar fascination for the “as far north as you can go” concept. I’ve spent hours pouring over sites such as the “Route de la Baie James” site counting the mile markers of the Transtaiga Highway through other people’s photographs.
So of course when a gin says it is made at the world’s northernmost distillery, you’ve caught my sense of fantasy. Hernö gin is made in Dala, just outside the city of Härnösand, Sweden. Coat of arms right below.
Unusual Botanical Alert! Two botanicals not often seen in gin appear in Hernö gin.
Meadowsweet: Has a subtle. pleasant aroma, sort of similar to almond. Used in wines, jams and potpourri, but most pertinent to the gin Meadowsweet is traditional component of Scandinavian Meads. Lingonberries: also known as Cowberry in the states, this tart, currant-like berry is probably best known as the red jam sold in every Ikea everywhere.
Tasting Notes: a hint of juniper and an astringent berry-like flavor. Sweet smelling, not too intense. The taste is complex with an emphasis on fruity notes.
I can see how some people who profess a love of gin might turn their nose up and this fine gin [and more on how fine a gin very soon] and other gins like this [Smooth Ambler’s Greenbrier comes to mind]. Although not officially a requirement of gin, most gins work from a truly neutral spirit base. Not simply in the sense that the base alcohol is “unflavored,” but in the sense that the base flavor brings little to no discernible flavor of its own. I would say that apple, potato and the various types of wheat fall into this category.
But then we have the outliers, the gins that use a neutral-in-definition-only base alcohol spirit: Grape from G’vine and Seneca Drums; and the Whiskey/Rye style base of gins like Smooth Ambler’s and St George’s Dry Rye Gin.
Why might these great gins not win over every gin-drinker? Well because I think in taste and mouthfeel they resemble a nice Genever more than your average gin, and possibly even a White Whiskey. Are they gin? Most definitely. But sometimes I wonder if there needs to be another category of gin unto itself.