All Gins from Colorado

Gin Reviews

Lee Spirits Co. Dry Gin

Lee-Spirits-Dry-Gin-Bottle

Lee Spirits Co. was founded in 2013, and their flagship gin is distilled on a hand-assembled stainless steel still; the botanicals are macerated for ten hours before being distilled. The botanical blend was perfected over 31 test runs, and while it doesn’t pull any surprised using seven of the eight most popular botanicals (Juniper, Coriander, Cardamom, Orange, Lemon, Angelica, and Orris Root), the range within every botanical can be immense. So never assume that the same botanical in the hands of a new distiller might taste like something you’ve had by ingredients alone.

Tasting Notes

The nose is quite lovely. Punchy citrus and orange, juniper with some piney notes forward, and a gentle green cardamom pod, freshly broken open, pushing forth a gentle Chai tea and vanilla cake note underneath it.

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Gin Reviews

Leopold’s Navy Strength Gin

Leopold Brothers Navy Strength Gin

Navy Strength Gin is undoubtedly powerful stuff. That’s just the proof. Leopold’s Gin is among the most respected names in craft gin. Venerable and has stood the test of time.

But for their Navy Strength they did something that’s rather unusual for a distiller working on a Navy Strength gin. Most distillers give us a “less watered down” version of their main gin. So the flavors are more intense but its remarkably familiar.

But not here. This gin is a complete new from-scratch creation specifically designed to be mixed. The flavors are vivid and bright, painted with a thick paint brush. This isn’t the Lepold’s you’ve had before. It is truly it’s own beast:

Nose and Taste

Rumor has it they doubled the juniper in this batch, but wow can you tell. Lots of juniper and a hint of lemon. Strong and to its credit the only thing strong is the aroma. You’re not getting a whole lot of indication of the heat in here. Just clean gin.

On to the tasting, and this is where it becomes quite clear what this gin’s point of view is. Almost like taking a first sip of Bergamot oil: bitter, a tad sour and slightly citrus.

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Gin Reviews

Downslope Ould Tom Citrus Flavored Gin

downslope closeup

A little late to our Colorado Gin tasting party, but no less interesting, this is the second Old Tom style gin that we’ve reviewed. The first being Spring 44’s rather excellent offering.

The picture above doesn’t do it justice. I tried to capture the bottle against the backdrop of where I do my reviews. That’s not Colorado, that’s Astoria, NY. And that little silhouette on the upper right? A Colorado Proud sticker. Yet another distiller that’s proud to be a part of the incredible distilling culture in that state.

Let’s get to the gin. An interesting note to pay attention to before you even get to the tasting is the base. It’s not grain, it’s cane. Yep, like a Rum. This makes it a sort of rarity among gins before we even actually get to the notes.

Riding Downslope of Flavor and the Nose

The nose is bright, a touch malty actually. You get a hint of dry grassy field in here as well as a touch of malted grain. There’s a bright citrus note as well, fresh and orange with a touch of lemon. Kind of interesting, the creamy warmth is certainly Old Tom like, but that touch of grass/grain isn’t.

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Gin Reviews

Wood’s Barrel Rested Treeline Gin

woods-aged-gin

Here we have another award winning gin from the state of Colorado. Wood’s Treeline Barrel Rested Gin took a silver earlier this year at the ADI’s craft spirits judging. I was on the panel, and I admit being rather impressed with this sample, although at the time I had no idea what gin it was [I did write in my notes, “never had this one before.” So of course, when the kind folks at Wood’s High Mountain Distillery offered to send me some samples of their gin, I was quite excited to give the gin a closer look in my test kitchen.

Firstly, the barrel rested gin is simply a barrel rested version of their main Treeline Gin offering in terms of botanicals. However, while the main offering is bottled at 40%, the barrel rested is bottled at 45% and therefore has a slight amount more kick. It has a pronounced, bronze/golden huge. Looks fairly darker than probably 2/3 of the aged gins out there, but nowhere near as dark as say Few’s.

What does it taste like? Nose is classic aged gin to me. Juniper, a hint of char. Woodsy, hints of cedar and smoky grain.

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Gin Reviews

Colorado Gold

colorado-gold-gin-768x1024

Sometimes I get a sample of a gin that hasn’t  actually crossed my radar at all. I hate to say it, but Colorado Gold? This is the rare gin that I hadn’t heard anything about before it ended up in front of me to taste. I’m not sure I can tell you any story about it other than that David was able to obtain me a sample while at the ADI Conference in Colorado this past Spring.

What I can say [and thanks to a little bit of internet research to back this up] is that Colorado Gold Gin is part of the illustrious tradition of Colorado distilling.

Local grain [✓] Local and sourced water [✓] Juniper [✓]

Something Local + Juniper = Colorado Gin, without exception.

Now I’m not a big believer in the “water thing,” in that water affects the final character of a beverage in a unique and distinct way. But I do like that for some places, like Colorado, water is an important part of life and the terroir culture. So of course, sourcing the water and using spring water is important to Coloradans and therefore should be part of their distilling culture*.

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Gin Reviews

Colorado Fog Gin

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We continue our journey through the state of Colorado to Mystic Mountain Distillery to try their flagship gin called Colorado Fog Gin.

Nose/Palate: A little bit of juniper and a little bit of alcohol. Immediately recognizable as a gin. Perhaps on the harsher side of the alcohol-on-the-nose spectrum, but not off-putting. A hair strong smelling for 80 proof.

The flavor is straightforward, but sedate. Begins with a flash of heat, the mid notes are where the flavor is. It’s juniper forward but backed off. It’s as if the loudest note is only being played at half strength. A bit piney, but it quickly backs off a bit giving way to a bit of earthy spice underneath the flavor. Hints of angelica and lime. Restrained, and not really trying to overpower the juniper notes. The finish is a bit hot, warm in the corners of the mouth with a slight juniper tinge. Very quiet juniper and very dialed back. In terms of drinking neat, there’s a lot of heat here and a harsh edge, but botanical wise it’s an exercise in restraint and balance.

Mixing With tonic, it still contributes a subtle, but even more dialed back gin like flavor.

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Gin Reviews

Rob’s MTN Gin

rob's mountain gin

Rob as in Rob’s MTN Gin and Rob Masters a.k.a. the head distiller over at Spring 44 [whose gins have been reviewed on this blog before]. Rob has had his hands on more than a couple gins and has been a mainstay on the Colorado Distilling scene for nearly a decade now.

Of course I’m not the one to introduce you to Rob. His story has been covered, so if you want to get to know the man behind the name of Rob’s MTN gin check out this piece from Denver Off the Wagon.

Now that you know the name. Let’s get down to the spirit, because in his own words on his very own website, “it’s all about what’s in the bottle.”

TSTNG the MTN: Bright juniper on the nose, mild alcohol nose. Citrus. Very balanced with an almost single scent nose. A homogeneous balanced blend of botanicals. Very nice, very inviting. I’m excited to taste the gin based on the nose alone.

The palate is bright and nice. Plenty of juniper, but well balanced within the context of other flavors and notes.

Walking you through the taste:

    subtle bright, juniper begins.

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Gin Reviews

Dancing Pines Gin

dancing-pines-bottle

Another stop on our Spring tour-de-Colorado distillery tour, Dancing Pines Distillery makes a wide array of spirits. Some of which if I were not a narrowly focused gin writer I would love to talk about. [The Black Walnut Bourbon Liqueur? guilty pleasure city….]

Dancing Pines distinguishes itself with a refreshingly narrow list of 6 botanicals.

Dancing with Dancing Pines Gin: A nice bright nose, juniper and lemon along with a tinge of sweet but pronounced alcohol. The lemon borders on super sweet towards the end of the nose [although still very subtle], almost going in an Uncle Val’s sort of direction. Very bright, and aromatic. Interesting balance, not quite sure if the nose belies a contemporary or classic style gin.

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Gin Reviews

Golden Moon Gin

golden-moon-gin-bottle

Our next stop on the Colorado Gin Trail is Golden Moon Distillery, located in the foothills of  the Rockies.

Normally I like to keep it about the gin. But to understand this gin we have to briefly talk about the distillery’s founder, Stephen Gould. Stephen has immersed himself in centuries worth of distilling experience. For some of his other products, they are the result of years worth of research into old recipes and his interpretations. So when we take a look at Golden Moon Gin, we can first observe the perspective and foundation of the distiller and the distillery*.

On to the Gin Indeed** The nose is somewhat malty, warm and grainy with a slightly floral note augmenting a powerful dose of mint. The floral note is a tad like lavender, and it adds some color to this warm, malty, and almost earthy touch that it has upon first inhale.

The taste actually begins somewhat more classically styled than the nose might otherwise hint at. Juniper and lemon nip at the corners of the mouth at first, but you feel a menthol coolness slowly starting to rise. That’s going to be the mint which is going to dominate the mid palate character of the drink.

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Gin Reviews

Spirit Hound

spirit-hound-gin-bottle

Back to Colorado we go. On the side of a road, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains you might come across a sign that says DISTILLERY.

If you know David and I. Or if you know what we do [write about spirits], you know that even if we didn’t have it on our list [we did, we just had bunk directions] we were going to stop.

We should have had a bumper sticker that says, THIS CAR BRAKES FOR DISTILLERIES. Because we saw the words. Quickly pulled a U-turn, and were in the parking lot of a distillery. We were at Spirit Hound Distillers, and they were so kind as to give David, Sara and I a tour of their wonderful space, but also to let us try their spirits.

First Some Background Spirit Hound’s Gin consists of 9 botanicals [see picture below of the botanical bottle], but what really struck me about Spirit Hound gin was a quirky arrangement that existed at the time when we visited. Folks who were hiking in the Rocky Mountains and found juniper [yes, there’s a good deal of it in them there foothills] could pack a bag of fresh picked juniper and bring it to the distillery in exchange for a drink.

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