All Gins containing: Rose Hips

Gin Reviews

Crossbill 200

crossbill 200

Junipers are long lived species. A single bush can live for hundreds of years in the wild. Most of the juniper grown in captivity is much younger than this, and with human development expanding further and further into the wilds there’s fewer of these long lived bushes than their once was, particularly in the UK where although the juniper’s demise might have been prematurely declared. One distillery in particular in Scotland, Crossbill Distillery has traded its reputation on locally sourced juniper, rather than the Italian and Balkan sources most distillers rely on because of its invariability and steady supply.

So Crossbill 200 is the distillery’s love letter to the 20 century old bush that grows just outside its distillery; lovingly distilled along with the rosehip that grows alongside the bush in its natural habitat.

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Gin Reviews

Ferdinand’s Saar Quince

ferdinands-saar-quince-spirit

Featuring 30 (!) botanicals, Ferdinand Saar Gin is already something of a beast. It combines common botanicals (angelica, coriander, ginger), less common, but still regularly seen ones (lavender, rose) and then there’s those which are really unusual (sloe, rarely seen as a botanical, lemon thyme) – but wait! It’s then cut with Riesling wine (Germany, kind of known for that). And in the case of the Quince gin, it’s a Sloe gin homage, using the local quince grown right at the distillery, with a touch of sweetening. It’s a lovely golden hue.

Impressions

On the nose, there’s ginger, wet, herbal notes, a touch of fruit, slight bits of rose and bobs of vanilla.

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Gin Reviews

Ginbrew Jenevieve

We took a closer look at the botanicals in the bag to see what was going into our gin.

This is kind of an odd review, because while we’re reviewing a botanical blend which is used to make gin, we’re not reviewing a gin per se. Let me explain.

We took a closer look at the botanicals in the bag to see what was going into our gin.

Recipes for making your own gin have been circling the internet for nearly a decade. Gin, by definition is an alcoholic spirit which gets its primary flavor from juniper. This means that even spirits in which the juniper has been added after distillation, a.k.a compound gins are still technically gin (for example Crater Lake Gin () and Tru2 ()) Compounded gins often have a different flavor profile, because the juniper [and other botanicals] are not distilled; therefore aromatics which might not come through as strongly during distillation are still present, in addition to all of the essential, and non-distillable oils present in the ingredients.

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Gin Reviews

Herbalist Gin

Herbalist Gin

Featuring a strong emphasis on local, from the base spirit (Red Winter Wheat) up through the botanical selection (and we quote “no tropical ingredients typically used in most gins”). Great Northern Distilling’s Herbalist Gin is evocative of what a Wisconsin distiller might have available to them. Taking two typical botanicals (juniper and coriander), the Great Northern team adds Rose Hips, lavender (the quintessential American botanical according to my friend David T. Smith) and Spruce Tips.

Tasting Notes

The first thing you’ll notice is just what a rich, luscious spirit this gin is. It has an oily and thick character that speaks to the quality of the canvas on which the team began their work, the nose bursts with lavender, creamy grain, and some aspects of juniper, though let it sit and it transcends the initial nose to become intensely floral, as musky, deep perfumed low notes from the rose and lavender rise to the fore.

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Gin Reviews

Crossbill Gin

crossbill gin

Photo and sample from David at Summer Fruit Cup.

When I think “Place”-ish gin, I don’t simply think of the physical location of the distillery. Plenty of gins, right or wrong can claim to be “Scottish” based on this alone. As if simply placing your building there allows you to claim something of the land.

But I reject this notion. When I talk about a Scottish gin, I don’t want to just be technical: sure the distillery is there… but it’s not really Scottish, now is it?*

Crossbill is of this new ilk. Crossbill takes provenance seriously. If you’re going to call yourself Scotland, there better be something from the place in your bottle.

In our own <100 Words

Whereas some people saw the litany of articles bemoaning the imminent demise of UK’s juniper industry at the hands of unjust environmental forces and wrote apoplectic click-bait pieces heralding the end times** others found opportunity. Enter Jonathan Engels. Engels worked closely with the Forestry Commission and Plantlife [one of the groups who was sounding the alarm about the aforementioned junipocalypse] to cultivate the juniper for Crossbill gin in Scotland. This means that Crossbill Gin can claim 100% Scotland-sourced botanicals.

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Gin Reviews

Genius Gin

genius-gin-bottle-full

Genius Gin is distilled in Austin Texas, which is quickly showing signs of becoming a distilling hotbed, and somewhat surprisingly to me, a hotbed for craft gin.

In our own (<100) words

Built Grain to glass with a local emphasis, Genius Gin is designed in part for the cocktail resurgence, but also with an eye towards a good gin which can be drank neat. Unabashedly contemporary in construction, it uses a “hot and cold” process to bring out the best in its botanicals. Half are infused at room temperature for 3 days, removed, and then that liquid is distilled with the remaining botanicals in a gin basket.

Tasting Notes

Sweet spice on top, a tad malty, grainy and bright, Zesty. Mid notes reveal more traditional gin profile, with lemon zest and just a touch of ethanol.

The palate reveals a pleasant, but never overwhelming warmth. Lime and citrus on top of the palate, but that fades nearly as quickly as it came on. The palate is dominated by sweet spicy notes: subdued rose, juniper, floral qualities, which crystallize more clearly on the finish. Hints of grass, a good deal of caradmom, citrus, lime and lavender.

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Gin Reviews

Ungava Gin

ungava-bottle

Ungava Gin is all about trying to paint the portrait of a place. Firstly, the Cree font near the word Ungava, tries to draw a parallel between many of the Cree nations which live in Northern Quebec. Secondly, Ungava makes use of a series of botanicals native to the northern Quebec region to create a connection with a place.

The place that Ungava is establishing ties to is Ungava Bay, a shallow bay along the Hudson strait with intense tides [that humankind has not yet been able to harnass for good!] but a cold climate not entirely conducive to plants and agriculture. Only a small bit of the southern piece of the bay is within the juniper’s range. Both the common juniper and Juniperus Horizontalis share this native range. Though the latter is native to the colder regions of North America, I might gander if any juniper was truly nordic, it might be the creeping, and quite edible, Horizontal variety, but nevertheless the juniper in Ungava is classic common juniper, just grown in rocky and colder soils.

For example, Ungava uses a selection of “Nordic Botanicals.” Let’s take a look at them since most of them are quite unique to this gin.

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