Oh that hotbed of American distilling that is the American Northwest. Every time I look up from my cocktail, there’s a new one!
Wishkah River Distillery, named for the river of the same name just outside Aberdeen, probably rings a bell with Nirvana fans who remember the live album From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah. Heck, I’m not even a big Nirvana fan and that reference popped into my head. But two things about the name: Wishkah is Chehalis for “stinking water,” and this gin is neither muddy, nor stinking. So put what you know about the word behind you and let’s just focus on the gin. Because it’s quite good.
Bulfinch gin is a gin in the “craft gin” tradition. The base spirit is their very own neutral grain spirit, distilled from Washington grains. Reminder that in Washington “Craft” is actually codified in law, meaning that more than 50% of the raw materials must have been grown in the state. So craft? Sure seems it. Let’s get down to the tasting.
The nose is bright, orange and lemon, citrus as well as juniper. A tinge of alcohol, but generally mild and very much in the spirit of gin. The taste begins a bit quiet on the palate. Quiet citrus undertones on the initial taste a dash of cardamom, juniper builds in the middle, with notes of licorice and fennel, herbal and a bit quiet. The tail brings with a dash of heat, while still being very mild, slight dash of lemon and cardamom again on the finish. Nice and well balanced, leaves a slight warm tinge on the palate, but shows restraint and balance the whole way through.
The gin and tonic reduced the complexity a bit, juniper and cardamom dominate, but in a very pleasant way. I enjoyed it with tonic syrups, though found it a bit overcome by some. Cardamom comes through most strongly on the tail, depending on the brand. In the gimlet, there’s quite a nice balance coming through, citrus and juniper and a sweet almost chai like note on the finish. I quite enjoyed this drink.
I have to say, I really loved Bulfinch 83 in a martini. Nicely balanced, smooth, and everything I loved about it neat well represented in the cocktail. Highly recommended.
The Campari overpowered it a tad in the Negroni. To bring out more of the gin, you could opt for a 2:1:1 ratio, and you’d get a bit more cardamom, fennel, licorice and juniper. If you’re a purist about the 1:1:1 ratio you might not get as much out of the gin as you’d hope for. I’d suggest representing the gin a tad more strongly in the Negroni.
Also great in the Aviation and Moonlight cocktail, as well many other classic cocktails. Well rounded, and works great as a cocktail gin, but also smooth enough to be drank neat on its own.
Price: $29/ 750mL
Origin: [flag code=”US” size=”16″ text=”no”] Washington, United States
Best consumed: A top notch cocktail gin, though you might need to put a bit extra to get it to stand out in cocktails such as Negronis.
Rating: I’m quite a fan of this gin, and despite its proof it does indeed have a fairly bold and flavorful profile. A great cocktail gin, and a worthy addition to any home bar.
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