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: Licorice
Pinckney Bend Gin is designed around the concept that if each botanical is distilled and crafted individually, a distiller can bring out the best in it. Basket and vapor infusion? Maceration and high heat distillation? It’s all about what best expresses the ingredient they’re working with. This gin starts as their American Dry Gin before being rested inside used, white oak barrels.
The gin is a gorgeous goldenrod hue, shimmering with a bright, almost translucent golden color. Inside the bottle, it’s certainly one of the most attractive barrel aged gins I’ve scene.
The nose shimmers as well, with spice, coriander, hints of vanilla, orange rind, and white peppercorn cracked over creme anglaise sauce.
The Vergnano family drew from deep within the annals of distillation history for the inspiration for their Malfy Gin. About one thousand years ago (yes, really) monks in Italy were experimenting with primitive distilling techniques and the bounty of the Italian countryside. It’s extremely likely that at some point, owing to the fact that juniper grows widely throughout Italy, that monks experimented with juniper and therefore, drank one of the world’s first distilled juniper berry drinks. But I digress.
The Vergnano family’s gin is naturally distilled in a modern fashion, but similarly builds on the bounty of the Italian land: the base is Italian wheat, the juniper is from Tuscany, and the lemons are a blend of Sicilian and boutique Amalfi Coast lemons.
Before there was Bombay Sapphire East (and actually around the same time as Tanqueray Malacca), another big name in gin was experimenting with Asian botanicals to expand the category. It adds lemongrass and ginger to the usual Gordon’s formula.
Launched in 2004, Gordon’s Distillers Cut would have been on the vanguard of the contemporary gin revolution; however, tastes hadn’t quite caught up. It was discontinued unceremoniously due to poor sales in 2009, and now bottles can be found on the collector’s market for upwards of a $100.
Some classic Gordon’s character on the nose: angelica, green juniper, and spiced ginger loaf, with perhaps a lemongrass icing. Interesting with a bit of Gordon’s and a bit of unexpected.
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.
Not just any orange gin, the Seville Orange is worth a closer look as its not the orange you’re probably thinking of. But this kind of orange often does appear in gin.
Let’s begin: there’s a large class of oranges known as “bitter oranges.” These include the Chinotto [yes, the beverage], the Bergamot, and a famous variety known by its hybrid name which is also the signature orange/citrus flavor of Grand Marnier.
To understand how Bombay Sapphire got its name, you must start at a place somewhat unexpected. The girl with the curls a.k.a. Mary Pickford was one of the most prominent silent Hollywood actresses. In 1909 alone, she appeared in fifty-one films, by 1916 it was said that only Charlie Chaplin was more popular. She starred in fifty two films throughout her career, earning a vast amount of wealth playing an all manner of character.
Stovell’s is an award winning restaurant in Chobham, England. and their Wildcrafted Eponymous gin is a partnership of bar manager Geyan Surendran and chefs Kristy and Fernando Stovell.
The concept is simple: local, foraged botanicals. A truly local gin. Nothing is in the gin which cannot and does not grow locally. The only exception to their provenance rule is the juniper, which they source from Croatia due to their concern for the local juniper populations, which are still threatened in the UK.
Among the botanicals, couple standout: both angelica root and seed (toasted) are used, as are red efflorescent clover blossoms.
I’d say more distillers are willing to be highly transparent about their botanical bill than their grain bill. The team at One Eight Distilling doesn’t publicly disclose much of their botanicals, but they will be even more specific than you might expect about their grains. This is interesting, as one of the major contentions of the Craft Spirits movement is that “grain to glass” is the only thing which should qualify as craft*.