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: Cinnamon
Whatever you do, don’t leave out the number 5 [like Coco Chanel]. Blackwater Gin is a rock band from Wisconsin. Blackwater No. 5 Gin is a spirit made from the botanicals which were imported into Ireland by the Whites of Waterford company in the middle 19th century; meaning that it was true to what Western European nations were importing from the Spice Islands during this time. We can expect that cinnamon and cassia might be chief among these, but other candidates for possible inclusion are black peppercorn, nutmeg and mace, cloves, and cardamom.
Juniper and spice on the nose, cardamom and even some citrus rising from the edge as well.
Years ago. No, eons ago. We reviewed the Westbourne Strength () variant of Martin Miller’s gin, a spicier, warmer, stronger version of their original. The original has a dear place in my heart. It’s one of the gins that ignited the fire in me for the world of gin. It pushed the boundaries just enough to stand out from everything else behind the bar at that time, but it stayed within familiar confines enough to be clearly and readily identifiable as gin. Martin Miller’s gin is one of the forebearers of today’s contemporary style. Keep in mind, that this gin was on shelves back in 1999.
“Two Tails that wagged as one,” the label says, “dogs with but a single bark.: It might be a bit of a stretch to apply the story of this gin’s name to the gin itself, but it’s a good story so we’re going to anyway.
In a world where dogs outnumbered men, two dogs won their way into the heart of San Franciscans the city around.
The scene: a dog fight in an alley. Lazarus is getting badly beaten. Bummer enters from stage left.
Bummer tends to Lazarus’ wounds. He makes an astonishing recovery, hence the name.
This summer, experience the heartwarming story of love, compassion,and the journey of two dogs who rose from the streets where they were raised to become two of San Francisco’s finest, going where no dogs have before.
Narrated by Mark Twain. Coming soon.
The gin itself is a grape based [California Grape Brandy] and boasts a rather traditional bill of botanical bill with a bold flavor profile, distilled on hand built stills.
The story of Monkey 47 is attributed to an Indian born British Commander who was stationed in Germany after the second world war. Inspired by the Black Forest through the lens of his family’s heritage he combined British influence, Indian botanicals, and the natural flora of the German forest to create a complex gin he called Schwarzwald Dry Gin, along with the note Max the Monkey.
You see, this Commander also helped rebuild the world-famous Berlin zoo, and during the course of this he came to support Max, an egret monkey, who lived in the zoo. So it might seem natural that years after the fact in retirement, he retained an affection for the monkey he sponsored, and when he made his gin, he named it after him.
On botanicals alone, boasting an ostentatious 47, it might be the most complicated gin on the market, but to throw you one more curveball, it’s also built on a base spirit of molasses.
The nose is mentholated juniper, pineapple sage, lemon verbena, lavender, rose, hibiscus and lime. (!) This encyclopedic list merely reflects how incredibly complex and brightly aromatic this gin is.
We already talked about the history of the Gin 1495 in our previous entry on the Verbatim recreation of the gin. But now we’re going to try their modern interpretation, the one they designed to appeal to modern sensibilities, including a few more modern botanical additions.
Much quieter when compared side-by-side. Minty, menthol notes present, with ginger, nutmeg, grains of paradise and a slight, but present citrus lift with lemon and orange notes.
Bright green juniper present on the palate, with ginger and cinnamon jumping out, hints of cardamom as well, but they are much more restrained. An almost waxy juniper finish, with clove oil coming out again, fading gently with a sharp, warm ginger note.
Loud and contemporary, and clearly related to the first one. You can taste the similarities, but this is the superior gin [not the superior experiment! I’m only talking about the actual thing I’m drinking here]. There might be ⅓ the amount of ginger in here when compared to the first one, but that’s a good thing. It gives a rounder, more balanced approach. It shows you just what this gin could be.
In short, I’m not sure I would go out and buy this gin if it were on the shelf.
Cocktail Historians [yes that’s a thing, apparently] have long been seeking out the origins of the drink we call “gin.”
The criteria for something to be a proto-gin are vague, though it is generally thought to be some combination of the below:
Distilled is important because gin is a spirit, and it represents a departure from the decoctions and juniper berry flavored beers and wines that were fairly common from the medieval era forward.
Grain based was important because it sought to represent a shift from the brandies, distilled wines, Steinhagers, Schnapps, and other spirits of the time which used juniper in other ways.
And finally, recreational was important because distilled juniper berry waters were once quite common, and although prone to abuse they were designed to be drank as medicine. Yes. people used their medicine for recreation, but the step towards gin was the intentionality of distilled a spirit strictly for enjoyment, with no pretense.
The 1495 Story in < 100 Words
Buried in the Sloane Manuscripts, Phillip Duff discovered the recipe calling for a mixture of several exotic spices and the word gorsbeyn, which depending on your translation could mean “frog” or it could be a corruption of the word for “juniper.” Assuming this is a correct reading of the word on the page, there’s no mistaking based on context that this wasn’t a medicine.
This is the first of what will be a new type of Gin Review here on the Gin is In. Impressions are abbreviated gin reviews for when we don’t always have a full size bottle to put it through our rigorous battery of cocktail tests. We’ll take these reviews as far as the samples allow us, but often they might only contain some tasting notes and some general thoughts. We’ll still score the gins, but the number can be raised or lowered based on the score we give it after trying a full bottle.
Sound good? Let’s get into the gin.
In < 100 Words
Dr. Franciscus Sylvius was, in an oft-repeated, and just as oft-debunked, narrative the person who invented gin. He did his work in the 17th century, at least a couple centuries after the first juniper berries were distilled with a grain spirit. Doesn’t matter, we won’t hold it against this gin which bears his name.
Distilled at the Onder de Boompjes Distillery in the Netherlands, the gin draws its inspiration from Justus Walup’s considerable expertise in Genever and malt-wine. The base spirit is wheat, but the overall flavor profile is botanical driven rather than base-driven.
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.
On the nose, hints of violet, sweet orange, coriander and floral brightness. Leans slightly citrus, but there’s another side here as well, with hints of a spicy/floral deeper notes: nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom.
Goodman’s is a newly released small-batch gin from the Netherlands: a partnership between Paul and Gerda de Goede and a historic artisan distiler. Goodman’s Gin was inspired by the Florida Keys, and is part of an emerging pattern of brands being designed to “drink neat,” but also “mix well with everything.” We’ve been drinking gin neat here for years, and its exciting to have more and more folks paying attention to that space, though for most bartenders and gin-drinkers, its the cocktails that still hold the most weight.
On the nose, juniper, sweet orange rind, a little bit of a cassia and grains or paradise as well. There’s a faint spicy, sort of sweetness in the background here. Quite nice, leaning classic.
The palate is strong and assertive, especially upon first sip. Juniper with a little bit of heat up front, quickly spreading to the sides. The heat is a little bit bracing, but the flavors of the other botanicals begin to shine through. Cinnamon, lemon rind present in the mid notes. Angelica comes on more strongly towards the low-mids. The finish is rife with bright violet, lavender and a bit of surprising sweetness.