I find that “sense of place” is among the most important things that affect the way people perceive something new. Considering that so many new microdistilled gins proudly advertise their place on the label; so many gins proudly source their botanicals locally [Waterloo Gin is no exception there], it makes sense that we’re not just talking about a drink: we’re talking about a drink and a place.
First, a Gin is In informal perception survey conducted on friends™
The other night my friends and I were enjoying some Adult Beverages™ containing everyone’s favorite [my favorite, and perhaps the only liquor that I have in quantities large enough to share at a party] liquor mixed with tonic. Because I’m a gin-geek, I love to ask people what they think of the gin. So, Waterloos and Tonic, all-around. My friends were positive, and they enjoyed it. I asked “where did you think it was from?” No one came up with Texas.
But once I told them it was from Texas, the characterization of the gin’s flavor changed:
G&T sipping friend A: I thought so, it tasted a bit ‘cactus-y’
G&T sipping friend B: I detected notes of ‘BBQ’
Of course this was all in good fun. But I think its really interesting the kind of perceptions that crop up just from place alone.
Now, a The Gin is In Geographical Aside™
Waterloo is not actually a Napolean reference. For those unfamiliar with the history of the state of Texas, this may your first guess as to the name of the gin. Waterloo, was the name that European settlers gave the village which was founded in 1837, and later made the capital of the Republic of Texas. The city formerly known as Waterloo, is today better known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” – Austin.
Taste and Nose
Waterloo Gin is an interesting case. It sought to be a London Dry/classically styled gin, but made with all Texas botanicals. I can tell you, that the nose is all you need to know that they’ve succeeded. Warm, a little bit of burn and a strong nose of juniper. Very nice and inviting. The taste is rather well balanced too. A lot of heat, but plenty of the notes you’re looking for in a classic gin are there. The citrus is nice and balanced, not overpowering. There’s a nice earthy base in here too. Sipping it neat, there’s a bold note of rosemary, an herb which I think is underrepresented in gin- and surprisingly too, because Rosemary pairs nicely with juniper and can do so without overpowering. Waterloo, for the most part is a solid classic gin through and through.
By the way, I haven’t eaten much cactus, so I can’t really say with certainty there were no notes of cactus in here. But as weird as it sounds, I think there is something on the finish that makes me think of BBQ. I don’t think I would have looked for it if someone didn’t mention it to me first. But I think its there. When you make a nice classic styled gin, you don’t need a whole lot more. But there’s something interesting and unique lingering on the finish. Perhaps the pecan? Either way, its toasty and rather unique.
Making Some Drinks
I know most of you just want to know, “does this make a good Gin and Tonic?” and I will say to you that it emphatically does. A really nice one. But its classic style, 47% % alcohol, and well-balanced taste makes this a flexible gin that really does it all and does it with high marks. I’ve made some really nice Aviations with it, and a good Clover Club. Like I said, there’s not much that this gin doesn’t so well.
Its particularly enjoyable. It might lean a bit more juniper than most gins I would consider to be an entry-level “gin to convert those who don’t really like gin,” but for those that already enjoy gin and are looking for something that has a contemporary flare, but definitely skews a bit more classic, this gin might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Rating: Lovers of classic gin will definitely appreciate the bold juniper forward punch of this gin, that has just enough exotic “Texas” nuance to help it stand out.
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