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.
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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.
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Picture courtesy of SummerFruitCup.com
Spain, once again you surprise us. Pushing the boundaries of what gin can be. Using ingredients that few ever thought of using in gin. Yes, Blanc Gin is the gin probably better known among the gin community as the “seaweed” gin, owing to its one rather unique botanical–
–well I should break in here. The list isn’t what you’d consider a standard list. A few surprising names appear on it. Bergamot, Lemon and Verbena, and three different kinds of citrus, including Key Lime. Different, but none of these botanicals get top billing, so although we’ll be tasting them later, this IS the seaweed gin–
The Nose and the Palate of Blanc
Interesting at very first scent. A bit of orange, but the distinct aroma of dark cocoa. The nose reminds me a lot of orange chocolate, the Easter candy. Not much juniper on the nose, and definitely not much to tell you this isn’t a chocolate vodka. Wow, not gin like at all.
Citrus at front, with a bright burst of cocoa. Rich, chocolaty, a little bit of burn, and a hint of juniper. Some earthy notes more towards the finish, a little bit of bitters punch from the gentian/angelica and rich creamy orange chocolate again on the finish.
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