Impressions

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

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

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

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

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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