Another day of Ginvent, another Impression of a new gin.
I sometimes wonder if we’re finally reaching that breaking point where we won’t be encountering more “the first ______[type of spirit]_______ distillery in ______[fairly well known city or place]________ in ___[number greater than 100]___ years. But not so!
Helsinki Distilling Company is the first distillery in Helsinki since the century before the last one. The origin of the botanicals are proudly shared: the Lingonberries are local and Finnish; the Juniper comes from the Balkans; the Seville Oranges… come from Seville. In addition, there’s lemon, fennel, coriander, angelica and rose. As is becoming more common, it maintains the intensity of its botanicals by not chill filtering it. So gin aesthetic purists, you might find catch yourself crying in your cloudy Martini [further clouding it, oh cruel irony!] A little Ouzo effect never bothered me.
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This is the second gin from Hernö brenneri and the northernmost distillery gin distillery up in Dala, Sweden. We previously reviewed their 41% Swedish Excellence Gin.
Northernmost Navy What?
Q. If there was a Navy, let’s say hypothetically, would they be operating anything other than icebreakers?
A. Well, let’s dispel this notion. In theory, the nearest large city to Dala, Härnösand is known as a Harbor city, and its climate, while cool, is similar to Buffalo, NY. While this is the northermost gin distillery, it’s not so northern that a Navy – in theory – couldn’t operate out of the town where it is distilled. So dispel the notion that this is a spatial anachronism of sorts. On to the drink!
Tasting Notes on the World’s Northermost Navy Strength Gin
The nose is a bit different than the lower proof batch. A little bit more emphasis on the floral, and a decidedly pronounced bit of heat. You can tell that this is going to pack some strength just from the scent.
The palette emphasizes some different notes as well. Up front, quiet on the lips. Takes half a second for the intensity to build.
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My love for the great white north of any continent has left me with a somewhat peculiar fascination for the “as far north as you can go” concept. I’ve spent hours pouring over sites such as the “Route de la Baie James” site counting the mile markers of the Transtaiga Highway through other people’s photographs.
So of course when a gin says it is made at the world’s northernmost distillery, you’ve caught my sense of fantasy. Hernö gin is made in Dala, just outside the city of Härnösand, Sweden. Coat of arms right below.
Unusual Botanical Alert!
Two botanicals not often seen in gin appear in Hernö gin.
Meadowsweet: Has a subtle. pleasant aroma, sort of similar to almond. Used in wines, jams and potpourri, but most pertinent to the gin Meadowsweet is traditional component of Scandinavian Meads.
Lingonberries: also known as Cowberry in the states, this tart, currant-like berry is probably best known as the red jam sold in every Ikea everywhere.
a hint of juniper and an astringent berry-like flavor. Sweet smelling, not too intense. The taste is complex with an emphasis on fruity notes.
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