Up north to Washington we go, to the Pacific Northwest. If you haven’t heard, it’s quite a hot bed for distilling. Enter Dry Fly, from Spokane Washington. Their gin is made from all local ingredients, all the way up from the base through the botanicals.
GINISIN POP QUIZ: Given what I just told you. Dry Fly Gin is made from all Washington Botanicals AND it’s from Washington, what quintessential Washingtonian export might you expect to find in Dry Fly Gin?
I’ll give you a hint. Last year the state had one of the largest crops in history and it made the national news when it was revealed that up to 1/4 of the crop might be left on trees from lack of people to pick the fruits.
Did you guess?
Without looking at the link?
Well, the answer is apples. And you’d be correct if you suspected there might be some Apple in here. (In addition to mint, lavender, and hops.) Oh yeah, juniper and the usual suspects too. Intrigued? I know I am. Let’s get down to some drinking, shall we?
Wow, a tad malty on the nose with a distinct scent of stewed heavily spice apples.
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Baffert’s mint flavored gin has a wonderfully distinctive bottle at first glance. Subtle, not over-designed, it elegantly spirals, emulating the swirl of the Baffert’s logo. Given how relatively uncommon mint gin is, its not as if Baffert’s needed to do anything to stand in a not-so-crowded marketplace.
At least that’s what you think. Until you look up Baffert’s Mint Flavored Gin and see what kind of user they are targeting: “Bafferts offers a refined light taste that is perfect in Martini’s or a wide variety of cocktails that you would normally use vodka in.”
Baffert’s is targeting vodka drinkers and bills its mint flavored gin as an alternative to vodka in cocktails rather than a mint flavored alternative to what you might normally use gin in.
Interesting, let’s get into the tasting.
Smells exceptionally hot. Lots of ethanol burn in the nostrils. Slight hint of juniper, surprisingly little mint at first.
But the mint is not subtle once you get to the taste. Unlike other gins which include mint among the botanicals [Cardinal Gin from North Carolina for example] Baffert’s takes their namesake gin and infuses mint after distillation. Many gins add elements post-distillation, but it is worth pointing out, any gin which does so forfeits the legal right to call itself a London Dry Gin.
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Cardinal gin hails from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and from a small city which could once boast as being on the cutting edge of prohibition. Kings Mountain was one of the first places to officially declare itself a “dry city,” and yet they now find themselves on the cutting edge of craft distillation.
Southern Artisan Spirits proudly talks about their inclusion of “fresh” and “organic” botanicals. Though Southern Artisan Spirits does not make their list of botanicals available, we can make some good guesses as to what is in here as a couple stand out boldly.
On the nose is a warm whiff of juniper and a few complimentary floral notes. Hints of warm spice in the background which betray more of themselves on the tasting. The taste begins with a potent, but smooth burst of alcoholic with a hint of burn. Warm notes of complimentary juniper start to shine. The floral and spice which are present but not individually discernible on the nose reveal themselves, slowly unfolding. There’s a warm perhaps christmas-like combination of spice. Perhaps some cinnamon and nutmeg, but predominantly clove like. There’s a hint of citrus in there, before the juniper then begins to fade into the background giving way to an intense note of mint.
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Should you drink the liquor in those quote unquote “collectible” miniature bottles?
The answer seems to generally be “no,” due to spoilage, evaporation, and “fear of the unknown.” But I am not a collector. I have no aspirations in my life of harboring assortments of things which have no greater use. So when I receive a mini, my question is: can I actually consume this?*
This specific bottle of Piping Rock Mint Flavored Gin seemed an ideal candidate for experimentation. It was well sealed and seemed to have suffered from seemingly little evaporation. It was in a glass bottle and seemed to be only (only!) about thirty-ish years old. I can vouch for the safety of thirty-year old booze, but that’s another story altogether.
Tell me a bit about Piping Rock…
Firstly, Piping Rock still exists and still does make gin. Predictably, it is rather inexpensive. Their Sloe Gin is still widely available for a little less than a single Hamilton [and that’s for a full 750mL]
The name Piping Rock has been in use as a brand for gin since 1935 (and was registered officially in 1955) by Luxco hailing out of St.
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Gale Force is Triple Eight Distillery’s flagship gin. Although Triple Eight Distillery is a microdistillery in the United States, its founding predates many others in the distilling hotbed of New England. Founded in 1997 on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, it was the first microdistillery in the region. Though Triple Eight Distillery is probably best known in the region for its flagship self-titled vodka, Gale Force Gin is a worthy addition to their line that could make more waves (get it?!) with gin’s rising popularity. Bad puns aside, let’s get on to the gin.
Gale Force Gin is a throwback of sorts. In a world where most gins register at 80 proof, Gale Force clocks in at 44.4% (or 88.8 proof for those of you doing math) and therefore packs slightly more punch than some of its peers. This slight difference may not seem like much, but when mixing cocktails I assure you the difference between 90 proof and 80 proof can be like night and day.
The nose is a gentle juniper with hints of coriander and other spices. It smells clean but somewhat refreshing. The tasting is where you really begin to appreciate the full depth of this gin.
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