Vor Gin is composed of an entirely, and uniquely Icelandic, assortment of botanicals ranging from the trendy (Thyme) to the obscure (kale). It’s base spirit is composed of also Icelandic Barley, and for their barrel aged variant, ultimately it is rested in an oak barrel— that I suspect owing to the lack of oak, the barrel may not be locally coopered— but alas, it’s Icelandic and barrel aged. And it’s a gin that we were quite a fan of on its own, so how does it stand up after a gentle rest?
All Gins containing: Rhubarb
A love letter from two gin fans to the city of Dublin, it adds Dublin Rhubarb [didn’t know this was a thing] along with some traditional gin botanicals to create a gin that is about the place first, but hopes to one day be distilled in the place with a Dublin distillery part of the long term plan.
Lovely, juniper forward nose, with dry, slightly spicy, [smells perhaps like Moroccan] coriander, angelica, and pine notes with grapefruit flourish along the edges. Exceptional and bright, I love this nose, though you do get slight hints of linalool beneath the surface. Perhaps lavender, perhaps the aforementioned rhubarb. The top notes carry the juniper, but this coriander really makes up the body of it, especially as it warms.
Taking a look at the lineup of Nginious! Gins, the summer one is the most overtly, and most over the top non-traditional. Eschewing much of the standards for a wide assortment of exotic and unusual botanicals: Juniper meets blueberry, peach, lime, jasmine (!!!), white pepper, rhubarb roots and rhubarb stalk.
Jasmine stands out as being particularly notable. Perfumers struggled for centuries to properly harness the flavor of jasmine. The delicate buds did not suffer heat well (it destroys the aromatics for which the buds are so prized!), and perfumers used fat to dissolve the aromatics in a method better known as enfleurage. It basically pressed the flowers between pieces of animal fat, until the fat itself became thick and musky with the rich aroma of jasmine. Jasmine is still incredibly hard to distill, and although not optimal, ethanol can be used as a solvent.
Terroir, the notion that place imbues the plants grown in a certain place with a unique character; or rather the idea that the climate that a plant experiences, the conditions of the soil, the time of the year, the sun, so and so forth, can alter that character of that which you grow in a certain place is backed up by innumerable chemistry journal articles which analyze the essential oil characteristics of such gin staples as angelica, juniper and coriander. For this piece we’ll call this terroir type I.
But a further more obvious aspect of terroir is often at play in gins such as Vor. What grows around you natively is perhaps the most readily identifiable aspect of a place’s regional food culture. The same soil conditions that can cause juniper to contain different quantities of linalool also dictates why crowberry or a kind of moss grows in Iceland and nowhere else. And why you might not be able to grow Tapioca in a northern clime, or banana. For this piece we’ll call this terroir type II.
Vor gin is a gin which uses both affects to delirious effect. And it’s far from just a gimmick: the combination of the two creates a gin which is wholly like anything else out there.