All Gins containing: Hibiscus

Gin Reviews

Ginbrew Jenevieve

We took a closer look at the botanicals in the bag to see what was going into our gin.

This is kind of an odd review, because while we’re reviewing a botanical blend which is used to make gin, we’re not reviewing a gin per se. Let me explain.

We took a closer look at the botanicals in the bag to see what was going into our gin.

Recipes for making your own gin have been circling the internet for nearly a decade. Gin, by definition is an alcoholic spirit which gets its primary flavor from juniper. This means that even spirits in which the juniper has been added after distillation, a.k.a compound gins are still technically gin (for example Crater Lake Gin () and Tru2 ()) Compounded gins often have a different flavor profile, because the juniper [and other botanicals] are not distilled; therefore aromatics which might not come through as strongly during distillation are still present, in addition to all of the essential, and non-distillable oils present in the ingredients.

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Gin Reviews

Nordés Atlantic Galician Gin

Nordes Atlantic Galician Gin

Nordés Atlantic Galician Gin seeks to differentiate itself pretty radically from the get go.

The base spirit is distilled from locally grown Albariño (or Cainho Branco) grapes. The wine from the grapes is bright, almost botanical just on its own, and wine-aficionados compare it favorable to Gerwurtztraminer. Food and Wine magazine one suggested it might be “the next great summer wine” (Rieslings be on guard!). While the wines are a particular specialty of Galicia, Albariños are still more uncommon, making this gin a unique specimen before you get to the botanicals.

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Gin Reviews

Entropia Gin

Entropia Gin

Image from http://eladerezo.hola.com/

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.

Tasting Notes

Entropia Gin has a golden color, similar to that of a lager. It has the hue of bright hay or goldenrod.

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Gin Reviews

Port of Dragons 100% Floral

gin-port-of-dragons-100-floral-437640

Ahhh, Port of Dragons! We meet again!

The mere mention of your brand name makes me feel as if I should be sipping a G&T in Qarth. Or King’s Landing. Have I been reading too much Game of Thrones lately? Perhaps. But let me drop these cultural references and get down to the gin. Does it actually invoke the stark landscapes of Essos or the well traveled paths outside Winterfell? Or Maybe Spain, seeing as that the place it hails from is very real and very much on the cutting edge of innovative gins.

[No this is not a re-post. You are correct that a short while ago we reviewed 100% floral’s companion gin 100% Pure]

The Nose of the Dragon It smells a bit vegetal. Hints of cucumber, and even shrubs. An ambiguous “greenery” smell. Hints of rose emerge from the mix give it a slight “summery” character. I’m picking up a bit of juniper around the edges, but overall it has a contemporary character. But like the Pure, the nose isn’t quite doing it for me.

We get a bit more into the taste. It has a smooth character, with heat slowly building along with the taste.

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Gin Reviews

Dorothy Parker Gin

dorothy-parker-bottle

Who is Dorothy Parker? First and foremost, who is Dorothy Parker? and why is a gin named after her?

Probably her best link to gin is her widely known quote “‘I like to have a Martini, two at the very most; three, I’m under the table, four I’m under my host!'”

 Attributable quips aside, she was a renowned screenwriter, poet and critic. Her wit was described as “caustic,” and cost her a job with Vanity Fair in 1920 when higher-ups grew tired of  her bold criticisms. She was a member of the Algonquin Round Table, a 1920’s association of influential New York City writers. She was a social activist, whose  left-wing activities actually got her on the Hollywood Blacklist despite two academy award nominations for her work.

So it was her reputation in the New York City arts scene, her wit, and her enthusiasm for gin which led to New York Distilling Company naming one of their two flagship gins after her.

And on to the Gin: The nose is sweet and floral. Hibiscus and fruit. It smells sweet. In my initial notes I had written ‘reminds me of Starbucks’ passion fruit ice tea.’ Bright, refreshing, inviting and somewhat unique.

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Gin Reviews

Imperial Barrel Aged Gin

roundhouse-imperial-aged-bottle

Hearkening back to the Barrel Aged Gin tasting a few weeks ago, I’ve become acquainted on a rather intimate level with several quite excellent aged gins.

Roundhouse Spirits of Colorado has created a barrel aged version of their mainline Roundhouse Gin. It has a gorgeous golden brown color, similar to a nice mead, and crystal clear. Imperial comes in at 94 proof [47%] and a message on the front of the bottle says aged in new oak barrels for at least 6 months.” So we know that we have here is an aged gin which is longer aged than most other aged gins out there.

Tasting The nose is a bit sweet, but overall rather heavy on alcohol. A little bit of caramel, candied orange rinds, and a bit of burn.

Upon tasting neat though it begins rather sweet. Similar to Roundhouse Gin, there’s a floral character here. Primarily chamomile, but a little bit of violet too. The floral rolls kindly into a wave of rich spice. Spicy notes of cloves and nutmeg, hints of roasted allspice and quiet cinnamon. There’s a deep rich earthiness here, a but the oak is rather less prominent than it is in some other gins, which have even been aged less.

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Gin Reviews

Roundhouse Gin

roundhouse gin

Some gins are immediately striking for a variety of reasons. Some gins bring to mind a place in vivid detail: from the bottle design, to the botanical choice, to the smell. Yet other gins bring to mind a place a time: Hendrick’s Gin reminds me of Friday nights in college at just a waft of the rose and cucumber bouquet. And yet other gins remind me of a thing: River Rose Gin reminds me of cookies. What about Roundhouse Gin? Well it reminds me of a warm cup of tea in the winter.

You might say: Aaron, why be so literal? Sure, I get it, chamomile is a botanical in Roundhouse Gin, so why not go somewhere outside the box?

I might reply: Well, I go that direction because from the first nose to the last sparks along the palette a distant thirty second after you’ve swallowed, that chamomile is there. And the accompanying botanicals bring to mind all the best parts of the chamomile tea experience. So hold tight, and give me a moment. If you’re not convinced merely by reading my elegant prose, why not sit down with a snifter of neat Roundhouse Gin, a warm cup of Chamomile tea and challenge me otherwise?

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Gin Reviews

Port of Dragons 100% Pure

portofdragons100-pure-bottle

It’s been said that if you want to really be on the forefront of innovations in gin that you don’t need to look to the UK nor the US, but instead to the Mediterranean Sea. There’s probably more types of Tonic Water (esp: Tónica) being made there than anywhere else in the world. And there’s at least as many new gins (esp: Ginebras) per capita coming out of Spain as the United States. So in saying this, the fact I haven’t reviewed any Spanish Gins as of late is a grievous omission on my behalf; but simultaneously a reflection of how few of these gins have made made it to stores in the United States, and how difficult it is to get these gins period. For example, Master of Malt (who stocks a couple Spanish Gins and ships to the US) shipping is another thirty dollars on top of the actual cost of the gin. Difficulties aside, you’re probably here to hear more about the actual gin.

Denominación de Origen All of the botanicals in Port of Dragons are of “certified origin,” which basically indicates that they come from a specific place and are of a certain quality.

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Gin Reviews

Beefeater Summer Gin

beefeatersummer_1

Let it be known that I am a fan of interesting flavors in my gin. I don’t shy away from a fruit or obscure herb here and there. That’s why I was ecstatic to try the Beefeater Summer Gin which boasts the power of “elderflower, black currant, and hibiscus.”

The tasting notes are decidedly floral, but the combination of flavors remind me more strongly of pomegranate than of Hibiscus and Elderflower. Elderflower might have been included only as a mixing hint (as in “hint hint: this would be great with St. Germain’s Elderflower Liqueur”). Fans of Beefeater’s classic London Dry Gin will not be disappointed as it is unmistakably Beefeater in taste and mouth feel. At first I could tell immediately that this was Beefeater, and then the fruit/floral notes come in at the end, finishing in a bit more crowd-pleasing fashion.

I would classify this as one of the “gateway” gins for non-gin-drinkers. It would probably mix well with Pama or St. Germain’s. The floral quality makes it a complimentary addition to an Aviation, and a satisfying, if unspectacular gin and tonic. Overall, its refreshing to see Beefeater expanding its reach with craft gins such as summer gin and Beefeater 24, but I would say for just a few dollars more you can find a gin that is much more satisfying and one that won’t be leaving shelves in a few short weeks.

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