We were quite a fan of Genius Liquids’ Genius Gin when we tried it last year. We also got a bottle of their Navy Strength variety, so this is a long overdue look at that gin. It shares a lot in common with the 45% variety, so for details on Genius Liquids’ unique process we suggest checking out last summer’s review of Genius Gin ().
Lavender, resiny, woody juniper and a hint of grain grace the nose, which has a distinct, warming impression. It seems slightly less vivid than their 45% offering; however, it shares the same inviting character.
The palate is loud and quite warm, and although this is as a Navy Strength Gin should be, it strikes me as less over-emphasizing the high proof than some other Navy Strength gins do.
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Revolution Spirits you say? Yes, the revolution is certainly in the glass here. Only six botanicals are present: juniper, rosemary, lemongrass, grapefruit, lavender and pink peppercorn, built on a base spirit of Missouri corn and bottled at an assertive, but not overdone 100 proof, Austin Reserve Gin is confident, refined, and like the name might indicate, pushing the envelope just a tad.
Revolution Spirits is just one name in a burgeoning Austin, Texas Gin distilling scene, which already includes Genius Gin () and Treaty Oak Distilling whose Waterloo () and Waterloo Antique () have already set a high bar for Texas Gin.
While the Rosemary is the first thing you pick up on the nose, there’s more in the background to reward the careful noser/sniffer/soon-to-be-sipper. Lavender and grapefruit zest hover on the fringes as well, with a resiny juniper note a little further back.
The palate is clear and crisp juniper at first dancing with fresh garden picked juniper. There’s a floral hint in the background as well where orris meets lavender, and tart citrus rinds make themselves known as well— imparting a slight pithy bitterness which lingers through the medium long finish rife with resiny juniper, dried rosemary, and basil/sage notes as well.
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Waterloo Antique is the darkest Barrel Aged Gin we’ve seen yet. It’s dark brown, almost root beer or cola hue sets it apart. (Is this really an aged gin?) Another aspect of Waterloo Antique that is rare among aged gins is both the length of the aging and the methodology. It is composed of a blend of gins, each which have been aged different lengths of time, and in some cases as much as two years.
Wow, what a nose on this gin! Sweet, caramel, brown sugar and pecan pie, even a slight touch of dark rum. There’s some citrus and honeysuckle in the background, but this one is a stunner. Unlike any gin I’ve ever nosed before. It presses the buttons of what exactly you think an aged gin can be.
On the palate, it begins a little quiet than expected, with hints of rosemary, grapefruit. There’s a pronounced rich honeysuckle notes in the mids, rich and syrupy before the palate seemingly turns over itself, with a roar of spice and citrus, you’re getting hints of clove, allspice, nutmeg and then some tart lemon rind. The finish is unrepentant with long charred note, smoked cedar and grill, a touch bitter.
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Genius Gin is distilled in Austin Texas, which is quickly showing signs of becoming a distilling hotbed, and somewhat surprisingly to me, a hotbed for craft gin.
In our own (<100) words
Built Grain to glass with a local emphasis, Genius Gin is designed in part for the cocktail resurgence, but also with an eye towards a good gin which can be drank neat. Unabashedly contemporary in construction, it uses a “hot and cold” process to bring out the best in its botanicals. Half are infused at room temperature for 3 days, removed, and then that liquid is distilled with the remaining botanicals in a gin basket.
Sweet spice on top, a tad malty, grainy and bright, Zesty. Mid notes reveal more traditional gin profile, with lemon zest and just a touch of ethanol.
The palate reveals a pleasant, but never overwhelming warmth. Lime and citrus on top of the palate, but that fades nearly as quickly as it came on. The palate is dominated by sweet spicy notes: subdued rose, juniper, floral qualities, which crystallize more clearly on the finish. Hints of grass, a good deal of caradmom, citrus, lime and lavender.
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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.
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