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Gin Reviews

Dillon’s Cherry Gin

dillons-cherry-gin-bottle

First, a big shout-out to my friend Chris who picked me up a bottle of this gin while on a wine tour this past Spring. You’ll be seeing a few bottles from Dillon’s coming up, and they’re all thanks to him. So stay tuned for that.

In <100 Words

Dillon’s Cherry Gin is the combination of local Niagara Peninsula Cherries and their signature, locally grown 100% Ontario Rye base spirit. The same base spirit they use in many of their spirits. Dillon’s philosophy is steeped in tradition and family. Interesting note, among the team, Peter Dillon’s title is “Herb and Botanical Expert.” That sounds like a fantastic title to have, and one that I hope to one day aspire to. I digress, back to the gin.

Tasting Notes

On the nose, brown sugar, molasses, stewed cherry, strawberry, and a faint hint of banana as well. Lower, there’s a nice touch of spice with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Nice depth with a lot of complexity at first whiff.

The palate is complex as well. Tart with clear cherry at first, with spice emerging later. Cardamom, ginger, and cassia come through, however, it seems indistinct.

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Gin Reviews

Long Table Cucumber Dry Gin

Canada - Long Table Cucumber Gin

Long Table’s cucumber gin sources local vegetables, even rounding out the botanical mixture with two peppers in addition to their BC cucumbers. It shares the same high quality base spirit and attention to detail that their other spirits do; however, it differentiates itself with its bright, and decidedly cucumber-forward approach.

Impressions

Bright, crisp cucumber on the nose. Clearly vegetal with melon/honeydew undertones. There’s a hint of acidic lemon, green juniper and coriander as well.

Where I think it rises above the pre-conceived notions of cucumber flavored gin, or perhaps even the expectations set by some of the ways that cucumber has been used as a botanical as of late, is when it hits the palate. Crisp English cucumber hits at first, but the mid-palate is rife with many traditional juniper touches. Plenty of baking spice, earthy depth, a peak of coriander, and a green— but evolving into a more herbaceous/pine-like juniper note. The coriander spice takes over on the finish but is backed by waves of vanilla cream, honeydew and bell pepper. The finish is crisp and quite long, with more surprises in store. Spicy fresh cracked coriander gives way to some gentle vegetal complexity.

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Gin Reviews

Think Pink Gin

think-pink-gin-bottle

Think Pink Gin isn’t just carnation pink in color, but it also boasts (right on the label) as having Natural Cranberry Flavor. 

It’s made by Marks & Spencer, a luxury food retailer headquartered in the UK. Now, before you think you know Supermarket Brands, let’s establish something. Some are actually high quality products. Aldi’s Oliver Cromwell () is pretty good for its standards, while many of the gin brands distributed by Trader Joe’s stateside are actually quite good (more on one of those in the very near term). So to say that just because it’s a supermarket brand, it must be underwhelming isn’t fair. So we’re going to give it a fair shot Even though Cranberry Flavored Gin isn’t a particularly big part of the overall gin market. Even cranberry/gin cocktails are an exception rather than the rule. So let’s think pink for a couple of moments. In today’s impression we try Marks & Spencer Cranberry Flavored Gin.

Impressions

The nose is incredibly sweet, ride with fake blueberry/strawberry candy flavors and aromas. There’s a faint hint of may-be-cranberry tartness down underneath it, but the candy-like aromas dominate heavily.

The palate is incredibly sweet on first flavor, with a sharp acidic tartness building behind it.

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Gin Reviews

Warner Edwards Elderflower Infused Gin

warner-edwards-elderflower-gin

Last month we reviewed Gordon’s brand expansion Gordon’s Elderflower Gin ();  last summer we checked out Knockeen Hills’ variation Knockeen Hills Elderflower Gin (). Clearly Elderflower is still en vogue and gin drinkers are still looking for that unique floral note in their cocktails. How does Warner Edwards’ variation on the theme standup to others? And why wouldn’t you just buy some St. Germain to whip up some cocktails?

In our own <100 words

Warner Edwards’ Harrington Gin () received a boatload of accolades last year when they launched their now renowned Harrington Gin. We also quite liked it. Among the original botanicals* was Elderflower. It gave it a nice brightness. In this latest brand expansion, they’ve pushed the Elderflower to 11. This time its infused. Alike the other Elderflower gins on the market, the flowers are infused after distillation. Unlike other Elderflower gins….

Tasting Notes

The nose is much less literal than other Elderflower gins. Though the name aroma is present, there’s much more going on. For example, juniper, rich spices, cinnamon, cassia, and a lot of cardamom. The aroma is bright and finished with some hints of Elderflower, but it is much more understated than the competition.

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Gin Reviews

Seagram’s Lime Twisted Gin

seagram's 2

You’re probably familiar with Seagram’s Gin if you’ve ever bought gin in the states. Its rather ubiquitous. It also is the only gin brand I know of which has its hand in ready made drinks, flavored gins, aged gin and regular gin. Seagram’s Gins are designed to cover a whole range of tastes at a rather inexpensive price point.

This is the first time we’ve had one of their twisted gins in the lab for a taste test. First, I want to note what it says on the front of the bottle: “Extra Dry Gin with Lime Liqueur.” Basically they take their main gin offering, and infuse it with a lime liqueur. Interesting, seeing as how as far as I’ve tasted, there are not many lime spirits out there. Lime and gin go together quite naturally, so let’s see how this spirit brings it all together.

Tasting Notes

Nose is definitely gin like, good deal of citrus and some juniper. Smells a tad sweet, but clearly gin. Tasting it neat it begins with a bit of a gin like edge, citrus, juniper, and angelica. The lime comes in loud and clear about halfway through the tasting.  

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Gin Reviews

Baffert’s Mint Flavored Gin

Bafferts-mint-flavored-gin-bottle

Baffert’s mint flavored gin has a wonderfully distinctive bottle at first glance. Subtle, not over-designed, it elegantly spirals, emulating the swirl of the Baffert’s logo. Given how relatively uncommon mint gin is, its not as if Baffert’s needed to do anything to stand in a not-so-crowded marketplace.

At least that’s what you think. Until you look up Baffert’s Mint Flavored Gin and see what kind of user they are targeting: “Bafferts offers a refined light taste that is perfect in Martini’s or a wide variety of cocktails that you would normally use vodka in.”

Baffert’s is targeting vodka drinkers and bills its mint flavored gin as an alternative to vodka in cocktails rather than a mint flavored alternative to what you might normally use gin in.

Interesting, let’s get into the tasting.

Notes Smells exceptionally hot. Lots of ethanol burn in the nostrils. Slight hint of juniper, surprisingly little mint at first.

But the mint is not subtle once you get to the taste. Unlike other gins which include mint among the botanicals [Cardinal Gin from North Carolina for example] Baffert’s takes their namesake gin and infuses mint after distillation. Many gins add elements post-distillation, but it is worth pointing out, any gin which does so forfeits the legal right to call itself a London Dry Gin.

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Gin Reviews

Piping Rock Mint Flavored Gin

Piping-rock

Should you drink the liquor in those quote unquote “collectible” miniature bottles?

The answer seems to generally be “no,” due to spoilage, evaporation, and “fear of the unknown.” But I am not a collector. I have no aspirations in my life of harboring assortments of things which have no greater use. So when I receive a mini, my question is: can I actually consume this?*

This specific bottle of Piping Rock Mint Flavored Gin seemed an ideal candidate for experimentation. It was well sealed and seemed to have suffered from seemingly little evaporation. It was in a glass bottle and seemed to be only (only!) about thirty-ish years old. I can vouch for the safety of thirty-year old booze, but that’s another story altogether.

Tell me a bit about Piping Rock… Firstly, Piping Rock still exists and still does make gin. Predictably, it is rather inexpensive. Their Sloe Gin is still widely available for a little less than a single Hamilton [and that’s for a full 750mL]

The name Piping Rock has been in use as a brand for gin since 1935 (and was registered officially in 1955) by Luxco hailing out of St.

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