Q: What is a “Greyling”?
A: The Greyling is the informal term which refers to any fish in the genus Thymallus. Graylings are colorful, sometimes spotted fish which can grow up to 30 inches long. They live worldwide in freshwater lakes in the northern hemisphere. They are extremely sensitive to changes in the quality of the water they live in and are therefore sometimes referred to as “indicator species.” In other words, when Graylings diminish in numbers, other species are soon to follow. Also, they are quite delicious*.
Specifically the Greyling in the case of Greyling Modern Dry gin is an homage to the once common species of Greyling (T. Arcticus) which once was widely found in the great lakes [and may soon return]. For a gin made of Michigan spirits and Michigan botanicals, the Greyling is an appropriate reference to the place where this gin comes from.
Now on to the gin.
The nose is mildly floral, but with juniper in the center. The floral notes make you think this gin could go in a contemporary direction (a la Modern Dry Gin) but the juniper is clearly there.
The taste fades nicely from aspect to aspect, botanical to botanical. Each major ingredient makes itself known in the flavor. Initially, sharp juniper hits you, but quickly makes way for a floral note followed by a nice pop of citrus zest. A little more piquant than some gin’s citrus. Almost grapefruit with an acidic tang, and lemon adding a bit of sweetness. There seems to be some coriander in there too with a hint of spice rounding out the flavor. The tail when the finish kicks in is where you can pick out some floral, jammy notes. Lavender, but almost intimating at something bigger, brighter and more fruity. Then it’s fading gently leaving sharp juniper and a bit of heat on the edges of the mouth.
Very nice, with complexity in terms of multi-faceted tasting, but not with the botanicals competing. Quite nicely balanced in my opinion.
Rather nice, but perhaps a little bit more heat than you’d expect from an 82 proof gin. The base is Michigan red winter wheat. Although it’s smooth, the heat is noticeable.
Making Drinks w/ Greyling
With each botanical loud and clear, Greyling should hold up in most cocktails. I found it to make a nice Gin and Tonic, although it took on a more dominantly citrus/juniper character rather than the full bodied contemporary character the gin embodies.
The clear but interesting flavors make this a nice pick for a martini. In more complicated cocktails, Greyling works well as a gin but I didn’t find the Lavender notes that I really likes when sipping it neat something through. Negronis, Corpse Reviver No. 2, and drinks of that ilk with strong ingredients [your Absinthes, your Chartreuses] almost color Greyling as a traditional gin. An aviation can nicely highlight some of the floral character and bring out the Lavender.
Overall, I have to say I quite liked Greyling Modern Dry Gin. Lavender is quite common among American gins [and in fact, based on my friend David T. Smith over at Summer Fruit Cup’s research, Lavender might be considered the quintessential “American botanical.” ] but its presentation here is more clear than most. I applaud the simple approach to doing a few botanicals really well, and this is proof that adding a contemporary spin to a gin need not make it unrecognizable to those who’ve been brought up on Beefeater and Tanqueray.
My only suggestion is that perhaps if it were bottled at a higher strength some of the more interesting nuances of the gin might allow it to stand up more boldly in more cocktails. But if you’re looking for a good Gin and tonic or Martini and not looking for a gin to add a floral punch to your Negroni, Greyling is a good choice.
Price: $28//750 mL
Origin: [flag code=”US” size=”16″ text=”no”] Michigan, United States
Best consumed: Martinis, Gin and Tonics, Aviations.
Availability:Michigan, Missouri and Online.
Rating: If there was a spectrum between classic and contemporary, this would only be just right of center on the contemporary side. Lots of nice citrus, a bright note of Lavender, but the juniper comes through nicely in every sip.
*Fun reference. According to wikipedia, the name of the genus actually refers to a “Thyme smell,” that fresh Graylings have when caught. If this is in fact true and you know a source for it, wikipedia’s looking for the citation. In the meantime, I thought it was potentially an interesting point of reference.
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