I normally don’t like to make generalizations. Especially about spirits and their creators. Everyone is different, unique and adds their own spin to things.
But in this case I’m going to make a generalization about Colorado Distillers. Water source is a very important part of what makes their gin. We’ve seen other distillers like Spring 44, and on the larger world scene names like Martin Miller’s who make a big deal about where their water is sources. But for some reason in Colorado, if you’re going to read about a gin [or beer, or any other spirit from this region] don’t be surprised to hear that the water that went into the drink is important enough to warrant mention.
In this case it’s the spirit’s actual name: Cap Rock which references the water which has gone into it. A Cap Rock is a hard impermeable layer of rock, which often covers over another rock formation of softer more permeable types. These underlying rocks are often home to gas, petroleum, or even water. These protected sources don’t bubble to the surface and therefore, in the case of the spring water in this are considered to be quite pure.
The base of this gin made from a neutral spirit distilled from apples, mixed with neutral grain wheat. We’ve seen a couple of these Apple bases among American spirits. Cap Rock has been around for quite a while, so surely it may be one of the earliest examples of apple base gin. But apple bases appear to be among one of the more under the radar trends in American gin craft.
Okay, on to the tasting notes.
Very sweet and fruity, almost immediately on the nose. A slight citrus twinge, a hint of juniper. Almost candy like. Very contemporary styled.
The taste is very interesting, almost unlike any other gin I’ve had so far. Starts quiet, warm green, herbal notes on the tip of the tongue. The middle notes are aromatic and brightly herbal. Eucalyptus and a flash of mint. Some floral notes as well, hints of lavender and summer roses. The middle we get some juniper and a touch of heat, it finishes quite warm in the mouth. Leaving notes of citrus around the edges of the palate and just an edge of juniper dryness on the edge. It fades slowly, the faint heat being the last thing to go. Although juniper is here, the peppery quality is taking a backseat to this floral, herbal, fruity bouquet. Quite complex and never boring.
The Gin and Tonic might be the quintessential cocktail around which this drink is meant to work. Smooth, herbal, and not necessarily overtly gin like, it has hints of juniper that bring it down to earth. Quite interesting, and I find that the bitterness and sweetness of the tonic round out the overall flavor, giving notes that might have been missing in the original gin, but giving it depth and character. Quite nice and recommended.
Given its unique character, I was a bit disappointed at how it presented itself in the Negroni. Not as lot of the floral notes coming through, merely a hint of mint and perhaps citrus. Simply, okay.
This gin excels at summery, crisp drinks. The Gin Rickey, The Tom Collins, the Gin Fizz, the Southside all shine lights on the bright floral notes of Cap Rock Gin. Some of the more complex cocktails like the 20th Century, the Last Word seemed to be more hit or miss with Cap Rock, with either the unique notes that make it worth seeking out not coming through, or clashing with the ingredients.
The martini is one that with my little sample that I was not wowed by, but I am willing to give this gin another chance when I have a more herbal and well-rounded dry Vermouth hanging around. Martini and Rossi is a utilitarian Vermouth, but I’m not sure Cap Rock had its best day in the glass with it.
Price: 32 € / 750 mL
Origin: [flag code=”US” size=”16″ text=”no”] Colorado, United States
Best consumed: Bright summery cocktails. The Gin Fizz, the Gin and Tonic and the Southside.
Availability: CA, CO, IL, MD, MA, SC, and Washington D.C., and in Europe
Rating: Unique and interesting, and worthy of trying for novelty alone. While the flavors work quite nicely together, Cap Rock Gin is not for every use. If you’re looking for a good contemporary gin with an herbal edge to make summery drinks, this is your gin.
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