From a distillery that’s been in operation since the 1980’s, formally known for their Eau De Vie, the team of Jörg Rupf, Lance Winters and Dave Smith have helped propel the same distillery the frontline of the gin world, making a line of gins that is as well-respected as it is imaginative: the Dry Rye which wears the Rye base on its sleeve, the legendary Faultline Gin, and their “it tastes like Redwood trees, but in a good way” Terroir Gin.
All Gins containing: Seville Orange
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.
Not just any orange gin, the Seville Orange is worth a closer look as its not the orange you’re probably thinking of. But this kind of orange often does appear in gin.
Let’s begin: there’s a large class of oranges known as “bitter oranges.” These include the Chinotto [yes, the beverage], the Bergamot, and a famous variety known by its hybrid name which is also the signature orange/citrus flavor of Grand Marnier.
Perhaps the best part of doing this new series of impressions is that I no longer have to hold back on sharing some tasting notes, just because I don’t have a full bottle of the gin. While I’d love to spend some time tasting Bombay Amber in a series of cocktails, it’s really just not plausible. That is unless I’m able to schedule a flight which connects/goes to Las Vegas, Toronto, Singapore, or Sydney. Though I’ve been doing a fair amount of traveling this year, those cities have eluded me. For now. Though I’ve got my eye on you Sydney.
I’ll spare you my thoughts on travel retail*, and get down to the gin.
In <100 Words
Take the standard Bombay Dry Gin  botanical blend, and add smoky black cardamom, nutmeg, and the zest of a type of bitter orange. Could it be Seville? Myrtle Orange? Or maybe even Amara? My money is on Seville orange. It is then aged in oak barrels, which formerly held French Vermouth. The bottle is distinctive, unlike anything else, and as with Sapphire and East, it looks as if Bombay is pushing the envelope slightly further than it really is.