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Gin Reviews

Candy Manor Gin

Candy-Manor-Gin

Price:  $31 / 750 mLABV: 40%Origin: Iceland Distiller:  Painted Stave DistillingAvailability: Delaware/Washington DC Rating: Heavy with the florals, it’s a bright contemporary styled gin rife with violet, lavender and spring meadow. Though some might be looking for a bit more juniper, it acquits itself well in summer staples like the Gin and Tonic or Gin Fizz, and is recommended to those looking for a floral summer gin.   (3/5)

The pinup model on the bottle calls to mind an intriguing tale of Prohibition era Smyrna. This one is probably best to just quote:

Story aside, Candy Manor gin is unabashedly contemporary style, proudly proclaiming their strong, and less traditional profile, distilled on a base from grain. But the distillers at Painted Stave are far from traditional. I’d suggest that they might be best known for their Scrapple Vodka; however.

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Gin Reviews

Gustaf Navy Strength Gin

Gustaf-Gin

The Distiller’s grandfathers’s eponymous gin— Gustaf— is grain-to-glass distilled from Winter Rye— hand done at that, and then distilled with a decidedly modern botanical blend, including meadowsweet, oft purported to be the botanical which gave early Hendrick’s a unique touch, sadly since replaced, and botanical du-jour thyme—  for that herbally citrusy kick and cucumber—  well where isn’t cucumber these days?—  all bottled up nice and tidy at the strength the British Royal Navy would have liked—  but this one hails from the decidedly inland Rye plains of Minnesota— in a beautiful austere bottle no less.

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Gin Reviews

Metropologin

Metropoligin

Metropologin is a “Minnesota Organic Gin,” which as the side of the bottle describes an evocative portrait, that it is designed to be enjoyed with the sun shining on your face at a lake [which is notable, given that Minnesota has 15,291 lakes*, 7 of which are named Elbow Lake and 14 Named Eagle Lake, but I digress]. Loon Liquors was the first distillery in Southern Minnesota in nearly a century.  The base spirit is distilled from  locally sourced Wheat and Barley, and the label reveals several hints that we might have a less than traditional botanical blend, indicating Black Currant, Rosemary and Cardamom. Though I mostly keep it to the product, let me just say: this is a beautifully designed bottle, with an Art Deco motif that suggests a prohibition era link that also, in the more recent cultural consciousness, strongly suggests the 2013 The Great Gatsby movie adaptation’s cover art. 

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Gin Reviews

Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin

Ferdinand's-Saar-Dry-Gin

First, let me say that I’m not a fan of a wine-style cork in a bottle of gin. I know that Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin Slate/Schiefer Riesling after distillation, which means it’s an intentional design decision to call to mind the process; but I’m not a fan. Unlike wine, you wont finish this in one sitting [probably] and therefore you need to seal it [oh, and a bottle opener to open it]. A weak seal though will allow evaporation, and aromatic volatiles to dissipate, reducing flavor upon further sips. Buy a good wine bottle sealer [you don’t need vacuum] or just grab yourself the plug from an empty.

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Gin Reviews

Blackwood’s Vintage Dry Gin 2012

Vintage doesn’t mean quite what you think it does. Not quite like a wine, where the annual growing conditions (i.e. the rain, the heat) affect the composition of the grape; the evidence for annual variation based on botanical alone in spirits is tenuous at best. But that’s not what the folks at Blackwood Distillery are getting at (solely). In previous years the composition of their gin differed (such as the ’07 featuring mint and elderflower, or the ’08 featuring violet and bog myrtle). The 2012 variation that we are trying today features angelica, sea pink (!!), Marigold, Meadowsweet, among some of the more standard gin botanicals.

Sea Pink, perhaps better known as Sea Thrift, is a small perennial grassy bush that features prominent red, pink or white globe flowers.

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Gin Reviews

Dictador Treasure

Dictador-Treasure-Bottle

South America is perhaps better known for its rums than for its gins, hence why it should be less of a surprise that the distillery behind Colombian gin is a Rum distillery first, and that their gin is distilled from cane (like Rum). Dictador’s treasure is then aged for 35 weeks in the barrels previously used to hold their rum. As far as the gin part goes, they use a local citrus variety known as the limón mandarina or “Paraguayan Lime.” Citrus enthusiasts describe its taste as having the most essential lime flavor of all citrus fruits.

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Gin Reviews

East London Liquor Company, Premium Gin: Batch 2

East-London-Dry-Gin

As if a pioneer organism, the East London Liquor Company has brought distilling back to London’s East End for the first time in over a hundred years. The re-purposed glue factory that they call home is where they distill their rum, vodka and line of gins, which number three at the moment. They have their entry level gin and two premium gins. One features tea and the other (the subject of this review) takes a more herbal forward approach featuring bay, sage, fennel and the unusual winter savory. Closely related to the summer savory, it played yin to summer’s yang.

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Gin Reviews

Shortcross Wild Clover Gin

shortcross-gin

The Craft Gin Club tells the story best, in their March post to their members about this special edition of Shortcross Gin*. For those of you who aren’t going to click a link no matter how brief the article [four paragraphs!], the TL;DR is, “they boosted the Clover in their signature formula,” which by the way was unusual and exotic to start, with apple and elderberry alongside juniper, coriander, cassia, orange, and lemon.

Tasting Notes

Juniper and coriander, heady and rich on the nose. Furthermore, citrus zest, granny smith apple. and an interesting note that’s green, herbal and slightly floral. This is where the clover seems to come through. Though the Gin Club post seems to allude to the greens being present in here, I’m getting hints of clover blossom and not much green.

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Gin Reviews

Dublin City Gin

dublin-city-irish-dry-gin

A love letter from two gin fans to the city of Dublin, it adds Dublin Rhubarb [didn’t know this was a thing] along with some traditional gin botanicals to create a gin that is about the place first, but hopes to one day be distilled in the place with a Dublin distillery part of the long term plan.

Lovely, juniper forward nose, with dry, slightly spicy, [smells perhaps like Moroccan] coriander, angelica, and pine notes with grapefruit flourish along the edges. Exceptional and bright, I love this nose, though you do get slight hints of linalool beneath the surface. Perhaps lavender, perhaps the aforementioned rhubarb. The top notes carry the juniper, but this coriander really makes up the body of it, especially as it warms.

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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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