Heritage Distilling Co. Soft Gin has an unassuming, simple label. The spirit itself has a sunny, faint straw hue which suggests either maceration or more often aging. The note on the front says “Distilled from Grapes,” which although unusual isn’t quite rare. Many distilleries, especially those located on wineries, have experimenting with gins that start out having a bit more in common with Brandies, or going even further back, some of the more ancestral gins created from distilled wines.
Heritage Distilling Co. has been one of the most awarded Craft Distilleries by the American Distilling Institute, and they are one of the most prolific craft distillers, experimenting with a wide range of products with a wide range of base spirits.
Intriguing and somewhat unusual nose, with suggestion of Kumquat, peaches in syrup (!?), pine needles and nutmeg. It has a somewhat resiny character to it that’s interesting.
The palate is really surprising as well, and certainly has some surprises in store. First, although it’s called soft gin, I find the spirit itself to have some rough edges. It’s quite warm at first sip, with more edge than most other 40% ABV spirits.
That being said, the palate starts early with some some star anise, turning creamier with licorice, mid-palate notes of orange chocolate candy and a spicy, peppery, juniper edge. The finish is on the quite long side of long. Warming, it leaves with black peppercorn, a touch of wood, cinnamon bark and a fair dash of heat.
It’s an intriguing gin. Although I might say “soft,” is the wrong word, that shouldn’t mean it’s a not worth taking a look at: it has a spicy, robust edge that delivers some unusual flavors.
The Gin Wife added, “mmm— seems a little [off] on the nose,” she paused [for dramatic effect], “it tastes like a wine cocktail…smells like super powerful wine…. Might be good in a Negroni, something which has a lot of rich flavor to back it up in…”
I think the Gin Wife may be right on this one. The bold flavors seem best able to stand up to cocktails like the Negroni, and less suited for the Gin and Tonic, where the notes of licorice, anise, and resiny notes don’t quite come together. It surprisingly though has the potential to stand up in a Dirty Martini, I think the spices might really complement the briny, earthiness of the olives.
Other than that, I think this gin is best sipped on its own or on the rocks; I find it to be a difficult mixer. Bartenders may need to be creative to find the right uses for it; home drinkers looking for something unusual to add to their gin collection may enjoy it at home if you just want an easy-to-pour gin.
Heritage Distilling Co. Soft Gin has an intriguing contemporary style gin profile which will appeal to those who look for something new in their gin. The grape base adds charm but doesn’t really impart too much of a Brandy-like character IMHO. I think that as long as you’re looking at Heritage Distilling Co. Soft Gin through the right lens, you’ll find a lot to like here at a reasonable price point.
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