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Gin Reviews

Bourbon Barrel Gin from Watershed Distillery

Watershed-Distillery-Bourbon-Barrel-Gin

Distilled from corn, with the same botanical base as Watershed Distillery’s Four Peel Gin (Four citrus peels, get it?), also featuring performances from juniper, cassia, Jamaica pepper (better known as Allspice) and coriander. It’s then rested in bourbon barrels. The spirit looks like it enjoyed some quality time with the barrel, sporting a golden, maple wood hue. For this review, we’re tasting Batch 14.

Tasting Notes

Wood and citrus most prominently on the nose, Meyer Lemon, bitter orange notes, fresh cut wood, and an intriguing cherry undernote whose low notes have peppery and vivid cinnamon stick.

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Gin Reviews

Bombay Amber

bombay-amber-bottle

Perhaps the best part of doing this new series of impressions is that I no longer have to hold back on sharing some tasting notes, just because I don’t have a full bottle of the gin. While I’d love to spend some time tasting Bombay Amber in a series of cocktails, it’s really just not plausible. That is unless I’m able to schedule a flight which connects/goes to Las Vegas, Toronto, Singapore, or Sydney. Though I’ve been doing a fair amount of traveling this year, those cities have eluded me. For now. Though I’ve got my eye on you Sydney.

I’ll spare you my thoughts on travel retail*, and get down to the gin.

In <100 Words

Take the standard Bombay Dry Gin [] botanical blend, and add smoky black cardamom, nutmeg, and the zest of a type of bitter orange. Could it be Seville? Myrtle Orange? Or maybe even Amara? My money is on Seville orange. It is then aged in oak barrels, which formerly held French Vermouth. The bottle is distinctive, unlike anything else, and as with Sapphire and East, it looks as if Bombay is pushing the envelope slightly further than it really is.

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Gin Reviews

Touchwood (Oaked Gambit Gin)

touchwood-pinup

Lucky Bastard Distillers’ combine a pin-up girl aesthetic with puns about “wood” [wood, as in what’s its aged in!] for all of their barrel aged spirits. But they’re not just about the bawdy jokes. Acute attention to detail and local character set their spirits apart and give them a distinctly “Saskatchewan” character. Their spirits are small batch, the ingredients are local and organic. The spirits have appreciable depth of character. Their aged gin uses their contemporary Gambit Gin as a base spirit [which features Saskatoon Berries, more on that in a moment], and then rest it in oak.

Saskatoon Berries? In the states, these small, blueberry shaped berries are known as “Juneberries,” and even before that they were known as Pigeon berries. Often a feature of prairie underbrush, these small (<20 ft tall) bushes grow across the prairies of the Northern United States and along the Rockies all the way through the Yukon up into Alaska. These small “wild” tasting fruits weren’t able to be grown commercially until only a few years ago. Demand is high, in part due to their prominence in local heritage cuisine such as Pemmican, jams, and even beers, but also due to their positioning by growers as the latest “superfruit.” Watch out pomegranate and acai!

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Gin Reviews

Waterloo Antique Barrel Reserve Gin

waterloo-barrel-aged

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.

Tasting Notes

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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Gin Reviews

Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve

beefeater burroughs reserve

When Beefeater announced Burrough’s Reserve Gin back in 2013, the echoes were immediately “so look here, the big guys have decided to get into Barrel Aging their gin.” And the big guys indeed. Beefeater who has been quite busy this decade, with seasonal blends and city versions. Burrough’s Reserve represents a bold attempt to capitalize on name and begin to take some of the emerging, but still small Aged Gin market.

In Our own <100 Words

“The Gin for Free Thinkers” it proudly proclaims in its marketing materials, to borrow five words from Beefeater. Nevermind, that Oak resting isn’t quite “new” [Seagram’s, many small distillers in the US] on its own. What is novel, or rather rare, is the use of wine barrels. In this case, Burrough’s Reserve is rested in Jean De Lillet barrels made of French Oak. For those taking notes, French Oak is said to impart “sweeter,” smoother and more “creamy” notes, with long lasting floral notes. These particular differences when compared to American Oak show up in the gin itself.

Nose

The Gin is a light amber color, with a slight shimmer of golden hues in it: it is neither subtle, nor dark.

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Gin Reviews

Filliers Barrel Aged Gin

Filliers Barrel Aged Gin

Barrel Aged Gins are slowly becoming popular on both sides of the ocean. No longer is the domain of barrel aging a product, one not normally barreled, the exclusive domain of American distillers experimenting with their future whiskey barrels. Though it does still seem to be more common among distillers who also dabble in the dark spirits.

In our own < 100 Words

The Filliers family can trace their distillery’s origin back to a member of the family who distilled a Genever back in the 1700s. Enter today, the family name is still carrying the banner high. The Filliers’ distillery, in addition to the family Genever, also produces whiskey, and their namesake “28” gin, so named for the other 28 botanicals which are added to compliment the juniper. Like all families with multiple trades, the barrel aged gin puts the best of their gin world (28) with the best of their whiskey world (the barrel) and produces a wholly new product.

Tasting Notes

The color of the spirit is somewhat blonde, or champagne colored. It has only a faint yellow hue to it, remarkably lighter than other aged gins we’ve tried here.

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Gin Reviews

No. 209 Barrel Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

no-209-cabernet

White wine, meet red.

Earlier we reviewed No. 209’s Savignon Blanc Barrel Reserve Gin, and we were quite a fan of its novel take on Aged Gin. This is the red wine version of that same gin, this time rested in Cabernet Sauvignon Barrels.

Its color is a rich deep shade of golden brown, close to an almond shell. It is much darker than the Sauvignon Blanc for comparison.

Tasting Notes

A very interesting and quite unique nose for a gin, lots happening here.

First cardamom, and then Madeira and Sherry. There’s a bit of that similar lemon and citrus rind note from the Blanc version, but the gin notes seem a little more in the background here. Less juniper initially, and unlike other aged gins, a mild nose that doesn’t assault you with oak and overt signs of aging.

The palate is complex as well: oily citrus and cassia initially. A robust full bodied middle, with juniper, pepper, baking spices and a bit of heat. The finish is somewhat oaky, but largely Sherry, with oxidized fruit, grapes, apple. Very smooth the whole way through. Complex and thoroughly enjoyable neat.

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Gin Reviews

No. 209 Barrel Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Gin

barrelreserve

Aged gin is hot right now. Very hot. But this particular release from No. 209 stands out. It was finished for three months in a barrel which once held Rudd Sauvignon Blanc wine. Available in limited release, in particular the Sauvignon Blanc gin, is quite unique and retains an oxidized, somewhat fruity character that I haven’t tasted in other barrel aged gins.

Also special among aged gins is its lovely pale straw hue, almost exactly the color one might expect to see in a Chardonnay style wine. A far cry from the burnt almond shell and deep golden browns of most aged gins.

Tasting Notes

On the nose, disarmingly quiet. It retains notes of stone fruit, a god deal of juniper, lemon and citrus with a touch of alcohol. It immediately stands out as a gin, but with a faint nose of oxidized fruit. Very interesting and quite good.

The palate begins somewhat understated. Sweet lemon and candied orange peel, bright peach and nectarine, stone fruit. The mid notes stand out as being the most gin like: cardamom and juniper. The finish is buttery and rich, with citrus, cardamom and some oak.

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