Everytime I tell someone the name of this gin, I usually need to add the qualifying statement: “it’s GIN-ever. No. It’s not a Genever.”
But something interesting is going on in this name. Wigle has taken a bold step towards trying to define this new type of gin [Just as House Spirits tried and was quite successful at doing with Aviation gin and the “New Western” designation] which no longer seems an anomaly or an experiment.
I’ve experimented with a few terms in this space before. “Dutch Contemporary” perhaps? To pay homage to the origins of this whiskey-as-a-base style where the base acts as if a botanical adding flavor to the mix. But then again, why not “Dutch Traditional?” And how do we talk about the classic vs. contemporary spectrum of gin flavors?
Whether or not any of those terms work out, or if “Ginever” catches on, I consider Wigle’s Ginever to be among a different category of gin altogether, and therefore I will have to consider it in light of some of that style’s key characteristics. Let’s briefly review. These type of gins work best in drinks that are more whiskey like. Manhattans, Old Fashioneds yes. Think drinks that don’t presume a London Dry like edge: Martinez, Martini, Negronis yes. Aviations or Tonics? not so much. This is only a general guideline that I’ve found from working with similar gins before so your mileage may vary. Let’s get down to the gin.
Nosing and Tasting
Very malty and warm. But notes of sweet baking spices on the nose, some cassia and cardamom. Not a lot of hints of juniper or anything overtly “gin-like.” But inviting nonetheless.
Pepper and bright juniper hit your lips immediately on first sip. Remains a bit peppery through the mid palette taste, and a warm Rye note hits you. The grainy character begins to fade revealing some trailing floral notes. Very interesting, they’re very faintly there. Lavender and a hit of citrus astringency closing. Perhaps some lime or grapefruit, or it may even just be the citrus notes of the Coriander coming through. A burst of heat in the back of the mouth, leaving a warm malty character. A very white whiskey like finish w/ a hint of juniper still coming through. On the distant tail of the taste, minutes after sipping there’s an interesting grassy like note that remains. Not sure if its an aspect of the grain character on the base or evidence of an herbal botanical such as thyme coming through on the end.
Mixing w/ Wigle Ginever
It’s worth nothing that even the card on top of the gin refers you to their website for cocktail recipes. You’re not going to be going through your gin catalog and just making everything and anything. They’re not all going to work. For example, I don’t particularly think this style of gin works in a gin and tonic [I wouldn’t mix a whiskey w/ tonic water either, in case you were going to ask]. While some of this style of gin works better than others in this mixed drink, Wigle’s Ginever seems discordant, citrusy, grassy, and just never seems quite in sync w/ the quinine. But I hope you don’t stop here on the count of it not working in a G&T. There’s a lot more you can do with this, that it does quite well.
For example, the bright whiskey like character shines, bringing out high notes of juniper and a bright peppery character in a Negroni. I’d even suggest throwing out the Negroni recipe in this case and making it more like a Boulevardier. [Think Negroni w/ double the Gin in this case, and please spare me your Blasphemer! comments]. I think this works quite excellently because then you get some of the interesting floral notes and grain character more clearly, while still retaining a lot of the essential character of the Negroni.
Perhaps tonic water and quinine don’t work, but if you want a fizzy drink try a gin fizz. The little bit of simple syrup will take some of the edge off, but the plain carbonated water will allow Wigle Ginever’s notes to come through without being clashed with. I found a dash of citrus to work quite nicely here.
Also, whiskey lovers will really like this spirit in a martini. I think it works quite nicely with Vermouth and many of the variations on the martini. The perfect martini variation a la a perfect Manhattan is perhaps the best way to go here.
Price: $35/ 750 mL
Origin: [flag code=”US” size=”16″ text=”no”] Pennsylvania, United States
Best consumed: Think like a whiskey drinker. Boulevardier, Old Fashioned, Martinez or Martini..
Availability: Pennsylvania, Oregon and online. [see here]
Rating: This is a good example of the emerging category of gins that have a whiskey like character to their bases. Fans of this style will find Wigle Ginever to be a welcome addition to their cabinets with some interesting new notes on this style. Those who haven’t been convinced by this style probably won’t find anything in Wigle Ginever to change their minds.
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