Piger Henricus Gin

piger-henricus-bottleRare that we begin a brand description with a botanical description, but in the case of Piger Henricus its appropriate. The brand is inextricably entwined with its signature: the parsnip. Once used as a sweetener in Europe before the arrival of sugar. the Parsnip is a vegetable, often cooked, similar to a white carrot with a totally unique and different flavor. The gin is the child of a partnership of Patrice Fortier from La Société des plantes and the Subversives Distillers of Quebec.

The name actually means “Slow Harry” in Latin. It’s a reference to the furnaces used by alchemists/distillers in the middle ages.

Tasting Notes

Definitive vegetal character on the nose, with dill, carrot, and citrus rind all present. Once you hear the word Parsnip (the power of suggestion), you’ll pick it out in the dill/carrot aromas. Pine branches and a delicate juniper intimation area bit lower. This is some unique stuff.

The palate begins with citrus and juniper up front, with traditional notes of coriander and cardamom setting the stage before carrot and parsnip ushers in the finish. Medium long finish.

Cocktails

piger-henricus-spread

First we tried it in a Gin and Tonic, and the vegetal aromas and textures come through, albeit quietly, they’re the only notes that come through. Where did that delightful classic nuance go? It’s just your usual tonic with a slight parsnip edge.

I then tried it in a Bronx Cocktail. Can you believe this drink was once among the most popular in the world, on the same plateau as the Manhattan and the Martini? I digress. The orange and vermouth notes overwhelm, with citrus dominating. There’s a touch of something which might be cardamom down there in the lows, but you’re looking for it. It’s lost.

Finally, we had it in an Old Fashioned w/ Celery Bitters. After two disappointing cocktails, this was a revelation! Clean, herbal citrus on the nose, with hints of marjoram, basil, celery and carrot just underneath. Beautiful on the palate with lemon rind, coriander spice, all set you up for a parsnip tinged finish. In short, this is a testament to how finding the right cocktail can make the difference between paying too much for a gin you can’t taste or really experiencing the full vision of the distiller.  Recommended.

Vitals

Price: $30 CDN  / 500 mL
Proof: 86
Distiller: Les distillateurs subversifs – Latitude45
Origin: Quebec, Canada
Availability: SAQ stores in Quebec.
Rating: When you’re on, you’re on. Martinis and Old Fashioned cocktails show off this gin’s eccentric side. It’s just not a bold mixer, losing a lot of its uniqueness and classic character in even simple cocktails. Buy this because you want to drink it neat or in spirit-forward cocktails. Classic gin fans will be pleasantly surprised here, as although I’d call the gin contemporary, it’s only gently stepping outside of bounds. There’s plenty here worth taking a closer look at, as the drink legitimately rises above novelty in terms of flavor profile. If it mixed better, we might be talking about a totally different level here. [Rating:3/5]

 

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Readers' Reviews

by gayle bradford

we watch a TV special on "How it is Made" wondering if the Piger Henricus Gin is available in the US and more specifically "Utah" Thank You

Last updated June 19th, 2015 by Aaron

6 thoughts on “Piger Henricus Gin

  • June 19, 2015by David Schofield

    Aaron,
    I quite liked this Gin especially taken neat and best of all in a Martini. Like you though, I found it’s staying power was somewhat diminished in longer drinks and this is unfortunate given the unusual but very nice flavor. I certainly want to give to give this more than 3 stars but alas the mixing capability keeps this at this level (which is not bad at all). Well, parsnip, who’d of thought eh? The only Gin in the world (I know of) to use this botanical, it seems there could be more “length” for distillers to experiment further with it.
    Regards, David.

  • June 24, 2015by AaronPost author

    There’s more and more distillers experimenting with vegetables in this regard too. Though I would have been less surprised to see Parsnip as a base spirit first [there’s a carrot base spirit gin being distilled up in Maine]. Interesting to hear your take on this as well. It’s definitely one for the curiosity collection, and to catch people off guard: “there’s Parsnip in here?!” – but I agree. There’s room for experimenting here. What could have been?

  • June 24, 2015by David Schofield

    Aaron,
    I can think of several distillers who produce Gins with a unique vegetable as part of their botanical mix: Chesuncook with the carrot base spirit, you made mention of, from Maine Distilling (http://www.mainecraftdistilling.com/) and Meyer’s M2 Gin from Belgium who use White Asparagus (http://www.meyersgin.be/en). These are strange, fun and interesting times we find ourselves in – it’s great to see people’s faces when they find out what’s in their Gin.
    Regards, David.

  • June 28, 2015by AaronPost author

    There’s the always ubiquitous cucumber (River Rose, Martin Miller’s, Hendrick’s, Southern, Counter, and that’s excluding the cucumber flavored variants); then West Winds features Bush Tomato (more eggplant, than tomato), Blanc Ocean features Sea Beans (Marsh Samphire), Gin Mare actually has Olives in their gin. Dandelion greens count as a vegetable at the dinner table, so I’m counting them too in Caorunn. Blade Gin features hot peppers.

    This is in addition to the ones you mentioned (White Asparagus is quite a luxury ingredient!), I can quickly come up with, but I seem to remember someone somewhere recently put out a gin with bell pepper in it, and I’m pretty sure there’s even more with hot peppers in it. (if not, there’s a fertile space worth exploring more, hint hint distillers).

  • June 28, 2015by David Schofield

    Aaron,
    It is said there is a Gin for everyone. I’d take this further and say there’s a Gin for every time, situation and mood too. Now with vegetables coming into the mix perhaps we’ll see a “Salad Gin”.
    Regards, David

  • January 22, 2017by Blanca Mutz

    I watched the making of this gin on Sunday morning with Jane Pauly. My husband and I were very impressed and would love to know if we can get it in Florida? Thank you?

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