Gin Reviews

Gin Reviews

Myer Farm Cayuga Gold Gin

Myer-Farm-Cayuga-Gold

Myer Farm Distillery’s Cayuga Gold Gin is a mashup of two of Myer Farm’s products: the spirit starts as their signature, flagship Myer Farm Gin, which is then rested in barrels which formerly held their line of whiskeys. The distillery is grain to glass— er “field to flask,” to borrow their words— with an organic certification to go with it. Although you might normally think of New York’s Finger Lakes as a wine region, Myer Farm Distillers is among those who are quickly making it a place to look for New York’s Distillers as well.

Tasting Notes

Lovely,creamy, vanilla, citrus and spice laden nose. Hints of orange sherbet, oak, and buttered cinnamon toast(!).

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Gin Reviews

Candy Manor Gin

Candy-Manor-Gin

Price:  $31 / 750 mLABV: 40%Origin: Iceland Distiller:  Painted Stave DistillingAvailability: Delaware/Washington DC Rating: Heavy with the florals, it’s a bright contemporary styled gin rife with violet, lavender and spring meadow. Though some might be looking for a bit more juniper, it acquits itself well in summer staples like the Gin and Tonic or Gin Fizz, and is recommended to those looking for a floral summer gin.   (3/5)

The pinup model on the bottle calls to mind an intriguing tale of Prohibition era Smyrna. This one is probably best to just quote:

Story aside, Candy Manor gin is unabashedly contemporary style, proudly proclaiming their strong, and less traditional profile, distilled on a base from grain. But the distillers at Painted Stave are far from traditional. I’d suggest that they might be best known for their Scrapple Vodka; however.

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Gin Reviews

Vor Barrel Aged Gin

Vor-Barrel-Aged-Gin

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?

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Gin Reviews

Gustaf Navy Strength Gin

Gustaf-Gin

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.

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Gin Reviews

Metropologin

Metropoligin

Metropologin is a “Minnesota Organic Gin,” which as the side of the bottle describes an evocative portrait, that it is designed to be enjoyed with the sun shining on your face at a lake [which is notable, given that Minnesota has 15,291 lakes*, 7 of which are named Elbow Lake and 14 Named Eagle Lake, but I digress]. Loon Liquors was the first distillery in Southern Minnesota in nearly a century.  The base spirit is distilled from  locally sourced Wheat and Barley, and the label reveals several hints that we might have a less than traditional botanical blend, indicating Black Currant, Rosemary and Cardamom. Though I mostly keep it to the product, let me just say: this is a beautifully designed bottle, with an Art Deco motif that suggests a prohibition era link that also, in the more recent cultural consciousness, strongly suggests the 2013 The Great Gatsby movie adaptation’s cover art. 

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Gin Reviews

Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin

Ferdinand's-Saar-Dry-Gin

First, let me say that I’m not a fan of a wine-style cork in a bottle of gin. I know that Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin Slate/Schiefer Riesling after distillation, which means it’s an intentional design decision to call to mind the process; but I’m not a fan. Unlike wine, you wont finish this in one sitting [probably] and therefore you need to seal it [oh, and a bottle opener to open it]. A weak seal though will allow evaporation, and aromatic volatiles to dissipate, reducing flavor upon further sips. Buy a good wine bottle sealer [you don’t need vacuum] or just grab yourself the plug from an empty.

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Gin Reviews

Blackwood’s Vintage Dry Gin 2012

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.

Sea Pink, perhaps better known as Sea Thrift, is a small perennial grassy bush that features prominent red, pink or white globe flowers.

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Gin Reviews

Three Corner Dry Gin

Three-Corner-Dry-Gin

A. van Wees distillery de Ooievaar is best known for its Genevers, which is the last traditional Genever distillery in Amsterdam (well, so they say). In operation since the late 18th century, the distillery now has 18 different takes on the traditional Dutch spirits, and more than a few gins as well. Three Corner Dry Gin is something of a curiosity owing to its rather lean botanical bill. Simply lemon and juniper, its an apt exploration for students of gin looking to focus on learning the ways different botanicals taste in isolation, but more than that, despite its simplicity it’s a rather versatile gin with a rather distinctive flavor to boot.

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Gin Reviews

New Deal 33 Portland Dry Gin

33-Portland-London-Dry-Gin-Bottle

With unflinching focus on juniper, New Deal’s 33 Portland Dry Gin uses copper trays for the berries in the distilling process. Furthermore, New Deal only uses Juniper Berries, heightening and tightening the focus botanically, while starting from a base spirit of locally grown Oregon wheat and finishing with the addition of local water.

The distillery is focused on the art of hand-crafted DIY spirits, with a bias towards local and organic in their ingredients.

Tasting Notes

Lovely, juniper and pine bough notes leap forward on the nose, but creamy hints of lemon and honey lie underneath, emerging among the low notes.

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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

Shortcross Small Batch Cask Aged

shortcross barrel aged gin

Shortcross Small Cask Barrel Aged Gin starts with Rademon Estate Distillery’s flagship gin, and rests it for four month in European Oak barrels from a Bordeaux Wine estate. The barrel aged gin is the first flirtation with barrels for the young distillery, who just barreled their first batch of whiskey, and which is still some years off…

But I digress, back to the gin.

Tasting Notes

Absolutely gorgeous nose! Herbal, but more towards the floral side of that genre, a veil of clover, vanillin and barrel notes, herbaceous juniper, grassy meadow notes, toasted walnut and burnt orange rinds. It’s all blended quite delicately, with the wood only subtly in the mix, transforming the botanicals and not shouting or being too literal.

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Gin Reviews

Ginebra San Miguel Premium

ginebra san miguel premium

The premium version of the classic Ginebra San Miguel (previously reviewed) launched in 2005 as an extension to the already century and a half old formula which is the most drank gin in the world. GSM Premium is made with “extra neutral alcohol,” distilled from molasses and features juniper and a bit more citrus. It’s meant to be an upscale offering, though price wise, although costing more than GSM, we’d still find the price to be in the range of inexpensive or bargain priced gins.

Tasting Notes

Candy citrus and orange in particular on the nose, with some alcohol laden, ethanol kissed hints of mint and herbaceous juniper, with further hints of lemon mint and pineapple sage. Though with a good deal of fruity/citrusy notes strongly at the fore, there is a core underneath which is readily recognizable as gin.

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Gin Reviews

Lord Astor Gin

Astor-Gin

When I first picked this up last year, I naively, despite the name, didn’t realize this was the house brand at a Astor Place Wine and Spirits in New York City. Those of you who follow me on social media know that it’s one of my favorite liquor stores in the city and that I do often go there and I’ve extolled their virtues before. Little is shared about the details behind the gin. It’s 100% Grain neutral spirits [says the label], it’s distilled in England [says the label] in a copper still [says the website].

Designed to be of good quality at an affordable price, the appearance is simple enough, but how does it taste?

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Gin Reviews

Old Young’s Six Seasons Gin

Old youngs photo

From Western Australia, made in Swan Valley the folks at Old Young’s Distillery seek to put a little bit a little bit of their local and cultural heritage in the work they do. My buddy David Smith again shared with me this sample of their Six Seasons Gin which is based on the Aboriginal people’s calendar. and it includes six native botanicals to embody that spirit. The gist of these non-European based seasonal calendars is that each season carries with it a bit more knowledge about the land and the weather conditions. For example, the people of the Southwest Coast had a season known as Bunuruwhich was characterized by hot, dry winds, and as a great time for catching fish and collecting wattle.

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Gin Reviews

Dictador Treasure

Dictador-Treasure-Bottle

South America is perhaps better known for its rums than for its gins, hence why it should be less of a surprise that the distillery behind Colombian gin is a Rum distillery first, and that their gin is distilled from cane (like Rum). Dictador’s treasure is then aged for 35 weeks in the barrels previously used to hold their rum. As far as the gin part goes, they use a local citrus variety known as the limón mandarina or “Paraguayan Lime.” Citrus enthusiasts describe its taste as having the most essential lime flavor of all citrus fruits.

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Gin Reviews

East London Liquor Company, Premium Gin: Batch 2

East-London-Dry-Gin

As if a pioneer organism, the East London Liquor Company has brought distilling back to London’s East End for the first time in over a hundred years. The re-purposed glue factory that they call home is where they distill their rum, vodka and line of gins, which number three at the moment. They have their entry level gin and two premium gins. One features tea and the other (the subject of this review) takes a more herbal forward approach featuring bay, sage, fennel and the unusual winter savory. Closely related to the summer savory, it played yin to summer’s yang.

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Gin Reviews

Shortcross Wild Clover Gin

shortcross-gin

The Craft Gin Club tells the story best, in their March post to their members about this special edition of Shortcross Gin*. For those of you who aren’t going to click a link no matter how brief the article [four paragraphs!], the TL;DR is, “they boosted the Clover in their signature formula,” which by the way was unusual and exotic to start, with apple and elderberry alongside juniper, coriander, cassia, orange, and lemon.

Tasting Notes

Juniper and coriander, heady and rich on the nose. Furthermore, citrus zest, granny smith apple. and an interesting note that’s green, herbal and slightly floral. This is where the clover seems to come through. Though the Gin Club post seems to allude to the greens being present in here, I’m getting hints of clover blossom and not much green.

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Gin Reviews

Dublin City Gin

dublin-city-irish-dry-gin

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.

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Gin Reviews

Pierdas Almas +9 Botanicals

Pierdas-Almas-Bottle

Labeling is a problem. Let me explain. as is the case of Pierdas Almas +9 Botanicals. In the United States, one of the relics of the prohibition era laws written mostly for the ease of regulation than for the benefit of the customer is that “Officially,” a spirit may only be classified as one thing. So it doesn’t quite matter whether that spirit is technically both a Mezcal* and a Gin**. It can only be officially classified, and subsequently labeled as one thing.

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Gin Reviews

Gibson’s London Dry Gin

Gibson's-Gin-Bottle

Gibson’s gin is among the most popular gins in a couple of places not necessarily known for their gin drinking. Readily available in Sweden and France, Gibson’s Gin is something of a rarity in its home range of the United Kingdom.

And of course, on shelves chock full of (now!) hundreds of gin, it can be hard for an inexpensive, and not particularly special looking gin to stand out. However, for all of the times I reach for an inexpensive gin and find that you can judge a book by its cover, I sometimes find a gin like Gibson’s, that is worth well more than what you’re paying for it.

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Gin Reviews

Ísafold Gin

isafold-gin-bottle

From one of the oldest and biggest breweries in Iceland, Ísafold Gin has a relatively nondescript appearance. It’s hard not to immediately see it and think “bargain brand.” Situated on the bottom shelf and available in plastic containers 200 ml all the way up to a full liter, it’s the most inexpensive gin I saw while in Iceland. But despite this, this relatively understated gin with very little information available on it; there’s no story nor mythos. No hidden water sources nor endemic flora inside. It manages to surprise and be a solid dry gin that ticks all of the boxes for gin at a reasonable price point.

Tasting Notes

A highly volatile nose that comes on suddenly before quickly dissipating delivers with a pleasant accord of juniper, pine, lemon and orange. Quiet underneath, it’s a pleasant smelling classic style gin.

The palate adds some roundness to the nose, with coriander, and baking spice making way before the citrus comes in later.

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Gin Reviews

Xoriguer Mahón Gin

Mahon-Gin-Bottle

As of 2016, Xoriguer Mahón Gin still qualifies for protection as a gin with a geographical indication under European Union Regulation No 110/2008. Famously, you might remember Plymouth Gin formerly qualified for this as well; however, under the terms of the 2008 regulation, trademark owners had to produce and publicly distribute a technical file which would disclose “what makes this spirit unique.” Plymouth, and Plymouth trademark owners Pernod Ricard, saw the value in the process rather than the GI, and decided to rather than disclose the details of what makes Plymouth so unique, they opted to forgo the Geographical Indication. On the other hand, the GI was so important to La Isla De Menroce, that they did indeed file a technical summary which describes the process in keen detail.

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Gin Reviews

New Deal Gin No. 1

New-Deal-Gin-No-1-Bottle

New Deal Gin No. 1 is a self declared “garden-style gin,” and the term itself might be a source of misunderstanding. Among the most common uses of the term I’ve previously seen has been as a catch-all for gins which are not really gins altogether. Art in the Age’s Sage spirit calls itself a “garden style gin” as it borrows from the gin tradition or botanical forward spirits, but does so without juniper.

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Gin Reviews

Pinckney Bend Cask Finished Gin

Pinckney-Bend-Aged-Gin

Pinckney Bend Gin is designed around the concept that if each botanical is distilled and crafted individually, a distiller can bring out the best in it. Basket and vapor infusion? Maceration and high heat distillation? It’s all about what best expresses the ingredient they’re working with. This gin starts as their American Dry Gin before being rested inside used, white oak barrels.

Tasting Notes

The gin is a gorgeous goldenrod hue, shimmering with a bright, almost translucent golden color. Inside the bottle, it’s certainly one of the most attractive barrel aged gins I’ve scene.

The nose shimmers as well, with spice, coriander, hints of vanilla, orange rind, and white peppercorn cracked over creme anglaise sauce.

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Gin Reviews

Lee Spirits Co. Dry Gin

Lee-Spirits-Dry-Gin-Bottle

Lee Spirits Co. was founded in 2013, and their flagship gin is distilled on a hand-assembled stainless steel still; the botanicals are macerated for ten hours before being distilled. The botanical blend was perfected over 31 test runs, and while it doesn’t pull any surprised using seven of the eight most popular botanicals (Juniper, Coriander, Cardamom, Orange, Lemon, Angelica, and Orris Root), the range within every botanical can be immense. So never assume that the same botanical in the hands of a new distiller might taste like something you’ve had by ingredients alone.

Tasting Notes

The nose is quite lovely. Punchy citrus and orange, juniper with some piney notes forward, and a gentle green cardamom pod, freshly broken open, pushing forth a gentle Chai tea and vanilla cake note underneath it.

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Gin Reviews

nginious! Vermouth Cask Gin

Vermouth Cask Nginious

Some barrels are like cats. They have many, many, lives. Such is the story of the barrels behind nginious! Barrel aged gin.

Picture this: a fresh barrel, constructed of French oak begins its life’s journey. Fresh from the cooper, the barrels heads to Northern Italy, to hold for a minimum of eighteen months (and often longer), one of Italy’s greatest treasures: Barolo, ‘the King of Wines.’ Its a lightly colored red wine with a bold flavor that has been the subject of much back and forth between traditional and modern takes on the wine; but as per he style, once a barrel has held Barolo, it won’t a second time…

Life Two for this barrel was to hold Cocchi Vermouth di Torrino.

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Gin Reviews

Malfy Gin

Malfy-Gin-Bottle

The Vergnano family drew from deep within the annals of distillation history for the inspiration for their Malfy Gin. About one thousand years ago (yes, really) monks in Italy were experimenting with primitive distilling techniques and the bounty of the Italian countryside. It’s extremely likely that at some point, owing to the fact that juniper grows widely throughout Italy, that monks experimented with juniper and therefore, drank one of the world’s first distilled juniper berry drinks. But I digress.

The Vergnano family’s gin is naturally distilled in a modern fashion, but similarly builds on the bounty of the Italian land: the base is Italian wheat, the juniper is from Tuscany, and the lemons are a blend of Sicilian and boutique Amalfi Coast lemons.

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Gin Reviews

nginious! Summer 2015 Gin

nginious summer gin

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.

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Gin Reviews

nginious! Swiss Blended Gin

nginious-swiss-blended-gin

Distillers Oliver Ullrich and Ralph Villager sought to create a gin which could be known as the Swiss Gin. As Swiss as Cuckoo Clocks. As Swiss as banks and neutrality. As Swiss as the Edelweiss growing in the alps.

The botanicals are distilled in four passes, loosely grouped by their aromatic profile, before being blended to create the final gin. Among the unusual botanicals in this mixture are Black Currant Leaves (a popular herbal tea, particularly in the plant’s northern Europe range), the barberry (a subtropical, very tart and bitter berry, who was repatriated in Northern Europe due to its reputed medicinal qualities) and the Carlina (which looks vaguely like a daisy, and could once be found growing from the Canary Islands all the way across Europe, Northern Africa and Asia).

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Gin Reviews

Malawi Gin

Malawi Gin

Malawi Gin has long had something of a cult following among British Tourists. They’d return home from vacations to the small African Nation and former British Colony raving about the local gin.

Ivan on TripAdvisor – ” I understand what you say about Malawi gin, it really is up there with the best.” and “Malawi gin is amazing, a real well kept secret, (magic as part of a G&T)”

Sadie on GinFestival.com – “My mum first had a bottle of this gin back in the 70’s and has never stopped talking about it being her favourite gin ever”

Phillip Briggs in Brandt Travel Guide Malawi –“The Malawi Gin is well-loved, so much so that manufacturers can’t always keep up with the demand….[the] MGT – Malawi Gin and Tonic that is – is practically mandatory.”

Howaboutwetryagain on Reddit /r/alcohol – “I’ve just returned from Malawi and I loved the gin they had over there.

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Gin Reviews

Bourbon Barrel Gin from Watershed Distillery

Watershed-Distillery-Bourbon-Barrel-Gin

Distilled from corn, with the same botanical base as Watershed Distillery’s Four Peel Gin (Four citrus peels, get it?), also featuring performances from juniper, cassia, Jamaica pepper (better known as Allspice) and coriander. It’s then rested in bourbon barrels. The spirit looks like it enjoyed some quality time with the barrel, sporting a golden, maple wood hue. For this review, we’re tasting Batch 14.

Tasting Notes

Wood and citrus most prominently on the nose, Meyer Lemon, bitter orange notes, fresh cut wood, and an intriguing cherry undernote whose low notes have peppery and vivid cinnamon stick.

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Gin Reviews

Prairie Handcrafted Gin

Certified-Organic-Prairie-Gin-Bottle

The Prairie Brand is entirely organic, from start to finish, with every step of the process. The base spirit is distilled from dent corn, which is better known as the corn which is turned into chips, syrups, corn meals, in large part due to its high starch content. The grain is grown by a cooperative of farmers from across the state of Minnesota and makes its way into Prairie Handcrafted Gin via a partnership with the Phillips Distilling Company, who redistills the spirit with a classic gin botanical bill to create their signature gin

Tasting Notes

The nose isn’t too loud, with subtle hints of coriander and juniper, peppercorn and pine needles. Quite classic, but also quite restrained. Very nice, and classically inviting.

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Gin Reviews

Gordon’s Distillers Cut Gin

Gordon's-Distillers-Cut-2004

Before there was Bombay Sapphire East (and actually around the same time as Tanqueray Malacca), another big name in gin was experimenting with Asian botanicals to expand the category. It adds lemongrass and ginger to the usual Gordon’s formula.

Launched in 2004, Gordon’s Distillers Cut would have been on the vanguard of the contemporary gin revolution; however, tastes hadn’t quite caught up. It was discontinued unceremoniously due to poor sales in 2009, and now bottles can be found on the collector’s market for upwards of a $100.

Tasting Notes

Some classic Gordon’s character on the nose: angelica, green juniper, and spiced ginger loaf, with perhaps a lemongrass icing. Interesting with a bit of Gordon’s and a bit of unexpected.

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Gin Reviews

nginious! Smoked & Salted Gin

nginious salted and smoked gin

Smoked and Salted.

I’ll forgive you if you thought we were talking about herring. But no, we are indeed talking about a Swiss gin from the team behind the nginious! line of gins, which we’ll be seeing more of in the coming weeks on here, thanks to David T. Smith who brought me some samples during a recent get together in California.

Using chestnuts, which are cold smoked for 40 (!) hours, and are subsequently macerated in spirit with ginger, quince, bitter orange, coriander and juniper, the smoked nuts are only half of the equation.

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Gin Reviews

Koval Dry Gin

Koval-Dry-Gin-Bottle

From a word meaning Blacksmith, Koval Distillery has been making spirits since 2008. Though perhaps best known for their whiskeys, their gin too is organic and grain-to-glass (and certified Kosher too). Embracing “woodland spices,” conceptually it may not call to mind Chicago, nor Illinois; however, the care, the process and handsome bottle design suggest that well executed concepts can be of anywhere and still be a winner.

Tasting Notes

At first whiff, you certainly might think of open fields and meadows in blossom. It’s warming and suggestively floral, with plenty of green juniper accompanied by rose, lavender, and vanilla notes.

The palate is creamy and rich, with juniper bringing some fresh pine and resinous notes, the florals really take blossom on the palate.

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Gin Reviews

Dingle Gin

Dingle-Gin-Bottle

From one of only a couple distilleries in making gin in Ireland, they’ve come to making gin and vodka in the meantime while their flagship whiskey is given the time it needs to age [due for release, by the way, this year]. The botanicals are distilled in two steps, some are macerated for 24 hours before distillation, and the others are suspended in a gin basket. Their unique blend of botanicals that calls to mind the Irish landscape actually has a lot of overlap with other brands, particularly Scottish brands, with Rowan Berry, Bog Myrtle, and Heather set amidst some of the traditional juniper, angelica and coriander. Cut with local water, Dingle Gin is produced in small batches to be traditional and Irish all at the same time.

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Gin Reviews

Pinnacle Gin

Pinnacle-Gin-Bottle

A bargain brand from a name that probably calls to mind vodka before it does gin. In fact, the Pinnacle Brand holds over forty flavored vodkas ranging from citrus to whipped cream. In the tradition of flavoring neutral grain spirit (which for the vodkas comes from a distillery in France), you might not be surprised they take their hand at a gin; however, it’s worth noting that the bottle says it is “distilled in England,” “distilled four times,” and bears the name “London Dry Gin.” So it is in fact something better than the brand itself might otherwise suggest. The botanicals are added via distilliation, and then the final product is cut with water from Wales. Beam Suntory bought the brand from the Maine based White Rock Distilleries a couple years ago, and although inexpensive, I find it a bit of a harder-to-find gin for a national brand.

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Gin Reviews

St. George Botanivore

st-george-botanivore-gin

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.

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Gin Reviews

Green Hat Navy Strength

Green-Hat-Navy-Strength-Gin

In intention, Green Hat’s year round Navy Strength gin packs a punch with not just Green Hat’s signature blend of botanicals, but some added juniper. Bottles at 114 proof, it’s designed to be your go-to cocktail gin. Like the other products from Michael Lowe and John Uselton’s New Columbia Distillers, the gin begins as Red Winter Wheat, mashed, fermented, and distilled on their traditional copper pot still, vapor infused with botanicals ranging from the traditional like lemon and juniper, to the less traditional like celery seed and grapefruit.

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Gin Reviews

Conniption Navy Strength Gin

Conniption-Navy-Strength

We’ve previously covered Durham Distillery’s Conniption American Dry Gin, and much is similar. Distilled via a two step process in a German built pot-still, Conniption Navy Strength Gin still splits the botanicals into two batches for distillation (vacuum, and traditional) to maximize the aromatics expressed in the final product.

Like other Navy Strength gins, this one is bottled at 57%, giving it a bracing on its own character that is well suited to cocktail mixing. But more on that in a bit.

Tasting Notes

On the nose, coriander, resinous juniper, a touch of English cucumber  and a delicate hint of caraway towards the back end.

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Gin Reviews

ADK Gin

ADK-Gin

ADK Gin is entirely corn based, fermented and distilled on site. It makes it entirely grain to glass and crafted in small batches on a copper pot still aiming to create the taste of the Adirondacks [though it’s made in Utica, which is close, but more in the hills than it is the mountains], and does so by including the Alpine Bilberry, a berry growing shrub common in alpine regions around the world, but in particular found sporadically in the Appalachians and Adirondacks. It’s rather uncommon at the Southern tip of its range, which includes New York State, which makes it quite a find.

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Gin Reviews

Euphrosine Gin #9

Euphrosine-Gin

We were quite big fans of Atelier Vie’s Euphrosine #9 Barrel Finished Reserve GIn (), so it stands that we’re also excited to see how the gin stands on its own. Again, not much is mentioned about the internals of the gin. We know there’s nine botanicals, two of which are bay and juniper. The gin visually trades on the reputation of New Orleans, replete with fleur-de-lis, but the spirit itself is steeped more deeply in the gin tradition of London. Let’s look a little closer:

Tasting Notes

Juniper clear and present on the nose, there’s a menthol tinged note that does indeed summon visions of bay laurel, but also hints of rosemary, and “green” garden herbs in general.

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Gin Reviews

Old St. Pete Tropical Gin

Old St Pete Gin Bottle Photo

From the Sunshine capital of the United States,* comes a gin which seeks to capture that in a bottle. Emblazoned with a giant sun on the bottle, Old St. Pete Tropical Gin rests on that which its namesake sunshine and tropical climate combine to produce the most of: citrus fruit**. But it’s not all sunshine and citrus. Director of Product Development Daniel Undhammer Sr. is a Londoner by birth, who moved to Florida to start his distillery. In a recent Tampa Tribune interview, Undhammer described their gin as a little bit of old meeting new.

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Gin Reviews

Spy Hop Distilled Gin

Spy Hop Gin Bottle

With extremely limited distribution, Spy Hop Distilled Gin, and the rest of the line which includes several other spins on the local fauna of the San Juan Islands are pretty much only available there. And by design too. By keeping their distribution radius small, they cultivate a local following, but also are able to experiment in ways, and on scales that a large scale distiller wouldn’t be able to.

Spy Hop gin is a study in the terroir of the San Juan Islands mashed up with a traditional, global, assortment of ingredients. Cardamom meet local lavender. Local barks meet lemon, orris root meet wild roses and so on.

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Gin Reviews

Apiary Gin

Apiary Gin

The concept behind Tamworth Distilling’s Apiary Gin is bees (truth in names). The spirit is flavored with locally, foraged, poplar and red clover, and then sweetened with local, New Hampshire raw honey.

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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

Brighton Gin

brighton-gin-gin

I read an interesting piece about Brighton Gin sometime ago. It was suggested that Milk Thistle (one of the novel botanicals disclosed) was included because the plant itself contains silymarin, a compound reputed to have beneficial effects on the liver. WebMD says the jury’s out, while academic articles seem to indicate there’s some potential there that is being looked at further. The compound itself isn’t soluble in water, but it is soluble in ethanol. Meaning at higher proofs, you’ll get more of it. [solubility is the factor at play when the Ouzo effect/Louche occurs in higher proof spirits, the addition of water causes certain compounds to come out of solution].

But more romantically, the gin itself is distilled in a pub in Brighton.

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Gin Reviews

Professor Cornelius Ampleforth’s Bathtub Gin Old Tom

bathtub-gin-old-tom-gin

Price:  £24  / 500 mLABV: 42.4% Distiller: Professor Cornelius Ampleforth/Master of Malt HouseOrigin:  UKAvailability:  UKRating:  (2.5/5)

That name is a mouth-full. But let’s break it down into some helpful definitions:

Bathtub Gin – owing to the fact that legally gin is simply “juniper flavored spirit,” one can make a gin by infusing/macerating, or alternatively “cold compounding” juniper berries and other botanicals in a spirit.

Old Tom Gin – the simplest, widely accepted definition for what an Old Tom Gin is simply a gin which has sweetening added after distillation*. Usually Old Tom gins feature a malty, character-filled base spirit which hasn’t been distilled to the point of being neutral, and often, but not necessarily by definition, have been rested in a barrel, usually for only as long as it needed to travel from distillery to pub.

Professor Cornelius Ampleforth Master of Malt house brand based on a legend of a slightly mad Victorian re-creationist who hasn’t met a spirit of yore that he didn’t want to bring back. See Victor Frankenstein**

Tasting Notes

Cardamom, lemon and juniper on the nose, it comes across as sweet without being sweetened per se.

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Gin Reviews

Helsinki Dry Gin

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.

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Gin Reviews

The West Winds Gin – The Broadside

the-west-winds-the-broadside-gin

From the line of gins which has brought you the evocative names The Sabres (40% ABV), The Cutlass  (50% ABV), the West Winds kicks it up a notch with the sea-themed (in more than just name) The Broadside. Named for the Naval maneuver, the gin takes liberally from its namesake, and comes out all guns blazing at once. Bottled at 58% ABV [It’s Navy Strength] it draws botanically from the shorts of Australia where Sea Parsley grows and from the sea itself. Salt is among the ingredients.

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