The Distiller’s grandfathers’s eponymous gin— Gustaf— is grain-to-glass distilled from Winter Rye— hand done at that, and then distilled with a decidedly modern botanical blend, including meadowsweet, oft purported to be the botanical which gave early Hendrick’s a unique touch, sadly since replaced, and botanical du-jour thyme— for that herbally citrusy kick and cucumber— well where isn’t cucumber these days?— all bottled up nice and tidy at the strength the British Royal Navy would have liked— but this one hails from the decidedly inland Rye plains of Minnesota— in a beautiful austere bottle no less.
All Gins containing: Meadowsweet
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.
We’ve reached a point in the Gin Renaissance where to merely point out that a Rye Distillery, a five hour drive north of Helsinki is now producing a Rye based barrel aged gin, and that fact alone doesn’t warrant quite the same level of remark.
All of these facts being true, the Kyrö Distillery Company took over a cheese factory in Isokyrö in 2014. Their gin(s)* take a little bit of local, including four botanicals foraged locally to give it that “little bit of Finland” feel. The gin is aged in “small barrels” for “enough time.” They’re aging their Rye in New American White Oak, so I can guess that might be their choice, but that’s not said for sure.
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.
Every now and then, we see a gin which does something so crazy, it absolutely blows our mind. Before we even get it into our glass.
When I hear about Herno distillery’s intention to age gin in a cask made out of juniper wood, I was absolutely boggled. Firstly, and pardon this preconception held by those of us who mostly encounter these small little garden variety junipers, with scraggly winding branches that peel and flake. All in all, I didn’t think you could do anything with the bark whatsoever.
The peoples of Europe have long used juniper; however, it wasn’t quite valued as a wood product. Juniper wood has issues with the way it knots, the type of grain, and its has only come back into vogue as a source of lumber due to technology which can mitigate some of these defects. Let me quote from sawmill which specializes in juniper some of the reasons why juniper isn’t usually used for casks, and can be cost-prohibitive to do so:
“The answer is to accept juniper for what it is. It is beautiful, local and challenging. It is not easy, normal or boring.
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.
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.
Tasting Notes: 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.
A peculiar review indeed. But perhaps not for the reasons you might think. We’re taking an opportunity to take a look at an early favorite of the Gin is In’s: Hendrick’s Gin. Really the ultimate in gateway gins. But this time, we’re taking a look at the version of Hendrick’s that you folks in the UK are used to seeing. You see, here in the states Hendrick’s is bottled at 44% or about 88 proof. but in the UK? a full 6 proof points lower. 41.4% or 82.8 proof. Does it actually make a difference? Or has my sentiments on Hendrick’s changed in the last 3 years since my initial review?
Getting down to it: Nose and Taste The nose is heavy on the rose, bright and floral with a hint of alcohol as well. Not something I remember from my initial tastes of even the stronger American version. The taste though is smooth and slow at first, very easy to be drank. But quite, cucumber and neutrality, not much going on. The other flavors accelerate and crash altogether, juniper and earthy angelica, hints of coriander. It fades, leaving a warm alcoholic burn taste in the back of your mouth and a bright hint of floral long after the initial taste.
This has to be one of the easiest reviews I could do. Hendrick’s has been one of my favorite gins since I was first introduced to the beverage. Its lighter on the Juniper, but it’s not completely absent. The high notes are cucumber and rose, and you’ll notice that savvy bartenders will garnish a Hendrick’s and tonic with a cucumber instead of a lime. The cucumber is a subtle taste, that blends in. It can be easily overpowered by either a strong tonic or lime juice. The rose stands out to me more. The floral notes are strong; however, not as strong as the saffron in the Saffron gin.
Because of the unusual blend of flavors and their mildness, this gin I think is best served as straight gin with tonic. I’d leave out the lime juice to fully appreciate the flavors in this bottle. But surprisingly, despite the unusual notes, Hendrick’s is surprisingly versatile. Not bad, though its best parts are obscured in a Tom Collins; the floral tones work beautiful with creme de violette in an aviation. As a martini Hendrick’s shines as well and it falls into the category of “gateway” gins, as the kind of gins that might appeal to a less enthusiastic gin connoisseur; however, unlike some of the sweeter more eccentric boutique gins, I think Hendrick’s offers enough of the things that gin drinkers like to be a worthwhile bottle to add to their collection
Price:~$25 for 750ml Best consumed: w/Tonic (sans lime) or Aviation Website: http://www.hendricksgin.com/ Availability: Fairly common, usually on the shelf of your corner liquor store, ubiquitous in any big liquor store.