Featuring 30 (!) botanicals, Ferdinand Saar Gin is already something of a beast. It combines common botanicals (angelica, coriander, ginger), less common, but still regularly seen ones (lavender, rose) and then there’s those which are really unusual (sloe, rarely seen as a botanical, lemon thyme) – but wait! It’s then cut with Riesling wine (Germany, kind of known for that). And in the case of the Quince gin, it’s a Sloe gin homage, using the local quince grown right at the distillery, with a touch of sweetening. It’s a lovely golden hue.
On the nose, there’s ginger, wet, herbal notes, a touch of fruit, slight bits of rose and bobs of vanilla.
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The story of Monkey 47 is attributed to an Indian born British Commander who was stationed in Germany after the second world war. Inspired by the Black Forest through the lens of his family’s heritage he combined British influence, Indian botanicals, and the natural flora of the German forest to create a complex gin he called Schwarzwald Dry Gin, along with the note Max the Monkey.
You see, this Commander also helped rebuild the world-famous Berlin zoo, and during the course of this he came to support Max, an egret monkey, who lived in the zoo. So it might seem natural that years after the fact in retirement, he retained an affection for the monkey he sponsored, and when he made his gin, he named it after him.
On botanicals alone, boasting an ostentatious 47, it might be the most complicated gin on the market, but to throw you one more curveball, it’s also built on a base spirit of molasses.
The nose is mentholated juniper, pineapple sage, lemon verbena, lavender, rose, hibiscus and lime. (!) This encyclopedic list merely reflects how incredibly complex and brightly aromatic this gin is.
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Some gins are the perfect examples of their style. Plymouth is the classic example of Plymouth style gin and Schlichte is the classic example of the Steinhäger style. If you’re curious about the style’s baseline, we covered that a short while ago. This review is just about Schlichte.
The first thing I noticed was the beautiful earthenware bottle. It stands out among the other glass bottles in any gin section where it appears. It seems distinctly “old world” and “throwback” just as itself.
I opened, and the first thing I noticed was nearly nothing. No powerful aromas, just a subtle hint of gin. Its just as cool and throwback as the bottle itself. So far Schlichte has given away precious little of itself. I know that its triple distilled based on neutral wheat spirit and juniper berries, with a recipe dating back to the 15th century. But what else? On to tasting: will you reveal your secrets?
Sipping it neat reveals a distinctly different and unique among gin quality. Its remarkably smooth and simple. You taste the juniper and that’s about it. Technically that’s exactly what it should taste like too.
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