These days when you say a gin is “unusual,” you walk on the precipice of invoking other large brands’ marketing material. There’s a brand in Spain which has tried to trademark the word Premium. The word unusual is seemingly trademarked when it comes to gin by other brands. And yet, when I say something is unusual, I don’t mean that it reminds me of another large brand. I simply mean that it does something memorable and different without a wildly divergent profile. In that sense, the non-italicized version of the word ‘unusual,’ Rehorst Gin is unusual.
It starts with a relatively classic set of base botanicals. But then it adds two notes, which Great Lakes Distillery claims have “never [been] found in any Gin before.”
When I initially talked about that unusual flavor profile that immediately strikes you upon first taste is indeed sweet basil. There’s a note which reminds me of the smell of the kitchen when my father used to make spaghetti sauce as a child.
The nose is a bit citrusy, a hint of juniper and a little bit of alcohol vapor burn right there.
But the taste is quite complex, and though that nose seems rather usual, the taste is anything but. Like I said, that sweet herbal note of basil predominates, from start to finish. It’s the first thing that stands out and one of the last notes to leave the palette. Bracing, resiny juniper and a thick, almost oily/silky mouthfeel. Gently melts in the mouth, spreading out,bright lemon peel and orange. Hints of spice and tea, almost earl grey in the lower notes. Coriander, angelica and cassia. A bit of something bright and peppery. Perhaps peppercorn or grains of paradise. Smooth all the way through, never quite bracing or hot or overwhelming. At 94 proof, it feels a little less in proof than that.
But that basil note is rather unique. The lingering after taste with a bit of heat is that fresh juniper and bright basil.
As for cocktail craft, I find that Rehorst gin was a worthy addition to most any cocktail. It mixed well in a Negroni, emphasizing the juniper notes. Thought it was a good Aviation, with the floral character of the sweet basil predominating. A nice martini as it is smooth and quite drinkable on its own, with sufficient depth and complexity to warrant coming back to again and again.
I found it to also make a great gin and tonic, the sweetness complimenting a fresh lime and a nice slightly bitter tonic quite well.
Overall, I”m a big fan of Rehorst Gin. Solid and refreshing, and although a bit unusual, it works. It’s a bit more contemporary than classic, but not so much so as to not appeal to drinkers of classic London Dry gin. I think that basil note is the one that will stand out to most drinkers and likely be the make or break for whether or not you’re a fan of Rehorst Gin.
Price: $30/ 750 mL
Origin: [flag code=”US” size=”16″ text=”no”] Wisconsin, United States
Best consumed: Martinis, Gin and Tonics, and Aviations. It works well across the cocktail canon, and has enough flavor to stand up, but not always stand out.
Availability: High end liquor stores in NYC. [see here]
Rating: Lives or dies on the basil note that is the strongest flavor. But overall it is sweet, and refreshing and a high quality gin with a great flavor.
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