Knickerbocker hails from Holland, Michigan (just on the shores of Lake Michigan) and the bottle proudly looks backwards to those who looked forward. “Knickerbocker” was the name attributed to Dutch settlers of the American continent. As the Dutch founded New York née New Amsterdam (hence the New York Knicks), so did the Dutch found Holland, Michigan and hence the name of New Holland Brewing Company’s Knickerbocker Gin. History aside, I think this is a rather apt name for the gin. But first, the tasting.
The nose is rather clean. Warm notes of lemon rind, sharp juniper and a little bit of alcohol are present. You can tell that this gin is going to have a little bit of harshness to it. But you can also tell that this gin is going to put on a traditional dry profile. There’s a faint sweetness present, but overall you would think this in the Classic style and you would be correct.
The taste opens with warm juniper on the front of your tongue, giving way to a little bit of alcoholic heat (again, at 85 proof I found that a bit surprising. It tastes a bit stronger than it is). The heat doesn’t last long as the taste becomes neatly drying. There’s some of that lemon again that we had on the nose but in the tail there’s some lingering notes of warm spice. Perhaps some Cassia and some Coriander. I found that drinking Knickerbocker after being chilled (small amount of ice) helped take some of the edge off, and as such I found it to have a rather dignified profile. Though there are over a dozen botanicals in here, they fall in line behind the juniper and the citrus, neatly acting as co-stars (a faint spiciness, something vaguely herbal and fresh but not standing out).
Overall, Knickerbocker mixes rather nicely and hits all of the highs that a good London Dry should. Mixed with a nice tonic like Fever Tree or Fentiman’s, it holds its own and refreshes with a nice strong bouquet of juniper. It should also work well in a Negroni, and be your juniper-torch-carrying compatriot in a summer Tom Collins.
That being said, although I thought it made a nice London Dry style gin, I felt that with a little less heat on the palette it might have hit a couple higher notes. Knickerbocker will surely appeal to a gin drinker looking for a microdistilled take on the classic formula, it probably won’t convert many juniper-phobic drinkers.
That being said, I rather enjoyed Knickerbocker and think that it embodies a classic London Dry profile pushed forward to the 20th century. Which I might say reminds me of an explorer looking forward. Then again, that may just be the name.
Price: $26 / 750 mL
Origin: [flag code=”US” size=”16″ text=”no”] Michigan, United States
Best consumed: In a nice tall gin and tonic with a splash of fresh lime
Availability: Michigan, but planned roll outs in other states soon
Rating: A nice London Dry style gin from an American microdistiller. A little more alcohol heat than most, but still among the better classic styled gins that have come out of the states.
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