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.
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As far as I know, this review is a Gin is In exclusive. It also marks the first time I’ve had a gin from New Zealand.
New Zealand has a thriving distillers’ culture. It is the the only nation, which as of right, allows citizens to distill for their own personal use. Distillers who wish to sell, have to go through a permitting process. But if you’ve ever wanted to just experiment with distilling, New Zealand is the place for you.
It’s in this thriving culture that Vaiŏne’s origins lie. The gin here was originally a home distilled product from John Sexton [the gin’s website graciously provides newspaper clippings]. The Sexton family has taken their home distilled gin to the big leagues, and John’s award winning home distilled gin is now produced by him and his son Anthony, and is available in stores.
Vaiŏne does embody the sense of place: among the botanicals are locally grown New Zealand/South Pacific limes.
The nose is a little strong, a bit of heat, some citrus, orange and lemony notes, with some juniper and a faint touch of spice on the finish.
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Firstly and foremost folks, this is the first review I’m doing custom for this new layout. What do you think of the bigger, higher-res images? Or do you prefer the tighter more focused bottle photos? Let me know in the comments what you think.
Now on to the gin. A classic that you’ve probably seen. It’s won a lot of awards, it’s an enduring name on the gin scene, and damn if that hat isn’t the classiest bottle top I’ve ever seen.
Very flavorful and very bright. Sweet bright citrus on the nose, and a bright dose of juniper as well. Possibly a hint of spice and florals around the edges, but it maintains a straightforward classical character.
The palette is hot and spicy juniper. A good deal of heat and warmth. 94 proof, enough to keep you toasty on a winter’s eve. Starts with a hint of juniper before the citrus aromas absolutely flourish. Nicely balanced with a slight sweetness akin to violet coming out, but it’s only slight. The fruit note here is well tempered and squarely in the sweet citrus camp. Juniper comes back for a second burst, this time bringing with it a hefty dose of heat and power.
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