Vintage doesn’t mean quite what you think it does. Not quite like a wine, where the annual growing conditions (i.e. the rain, the heat) affect the composition of the grape; the evidence for annual variation based on botanical alone in spirits is tenuous at best. But that’s not what the folks at Blackwood Distillery are getting at (solely). In previous years the composition of their gin differed (such as the ’07 featuring mint and elderflower, or the ’08 featuring violet and bog myrtle). The 2012 variation that we are trying today features angelica, sea pink (!!), Marigold, Meadowsweet, among some of the more standard gin botanicals.
All Gins containing: Citrus
One of the process trends from the world of gin has been more and more distillers experimenting with low temperature distillation methods. Many common gin botanicals have aromatics present at room temperature which are destroyed by heat, and therefore are destroyed during conventional distillation.These aromatics are rarely part of gin and are therefore rarely part of consumer expectation.
But therein lies the rub of vacuum distillation.
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.
Hailing from Antwerp, the folks at Buss Spirits began somewhat backwards as far as gin might go. They started with their Raspberry version and only later released their White Rain variation, which is herbal and more traditional with an emphasis on Belgian botanicals. In short, these guys specialize in flavored gin. Their base spirit is 100% grain and this gin contains juniper, coriander, licorice, angelica, vanilla, cardamom, iris, citrus, lemon verbena, and Marjoram. Yep, Marjoram. While indigenous to the Middle East, it’s been a part of European food culture for centuries. And gin culture since at least last summer when White Rain was released.
On the nose, lovely rich classic gin aroma. I’m enamored with it, especially because just underneath the fresh herbal juniper and slightly citrus and heady coriander lift, there’s some green notes and rich spice in the under-story. Cardamom surely comes to mind at first but hints of iris and nutty vanilla as well, and leafy green, herbaceous intimations even below that. Quite nice. It gets more contemporary as it warms, unraveling the complexities therein. Quite nice.
On the palate, it is most definitely contemporary in character.