Articles Tagged: 3 stars

Gin Reviews

Bombay Dry Gin

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Today we’re going mainstream.

Yep.

I know a lot of folks like to hear about craft gins, but I also know there’s been a lot of “what do you think about this gin,” where this is a gin that you can find on the shelf of every liquor store worth its salt from sea to shining sea on both sides of the Atlantic.

Today, we’re going to look at Bombay Dry Gin. You might know the name better from the Sapphire blend which was among the pioneers in putting all the botanicals clearly on the back of the bottle [something Bombay Dry does now also] and one of the first crossover gins designed to appeal to folks who don’t really dig the juniper forward gins of yore.

First and foremost, this is a gin of yore. Juniper forward, this is a gin that is classic in style though has a few flourishes to set it apart. Let’s get to the tasting notes, shall we?

Tasting Notes. Neat we have lemon fresh and lots of juniper. Strongly gin like. The lemon notes seem to overwhelm and dominate the nose on this at the end.

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Gin Reviews

Wood’s Barrel Rested Treeline Gin

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Here we have another award winning gin from the state of Colorado. Wood’s Treeline Barrel Rested Gin took a silver earlier this year at the ADI’s craft spirits judging. I was on the panel, and I admit being rather impressed with this sample, although at the time I had no idea what gin it was [I did write in my notes, “never had this one before.” So of course, when the kind folks at Wood’s High Mountain Distillery offered to send me some samples of their gin, I was quite excited to give the gin a closer look in my test kitchen.

Firstly, the barrel rested gin is simply a barrel rested version of their main Treeline Gin offering in terms of botanicals. However, while the main offering is bottled at 40%, the barrel rested is bottled at 45% and therefore has a slight amount more kick. It has a pronounced, bronze/golden huge. Looks fairly darker than probably 2/3 of the aged gins out there, but nowhere near as dark as say Few’s.

What does it taste like? Nose is classic aged gin to me. Juniper, a hint of char. Woodsy, hints of cedar and smoky grain.

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Gin Reviews

Colorado Fog Gin

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We continue our journey through the state of Colorado to Mystic Mountain Distillery to try their flagship gin called Colorado Fog Gin.

Nose/Palate: A little bit of juniper and a little bit of alcohol. Immediately recognizable as a gin. Perhaps on the harsher side of the alcohol-on-the-nose spectrum, but not off-putting. A hair strong smelling for 80 proof.

The flavor is straightforward, but sedate. Begins with a flash of heat, the mid notes are where the flavor is. It’s juniper forward but backed off. It’s as if the loudest note is only being played at half strength. A bit piney, but it quickly backs off a bit giving way to a bit of earthy spice underneath the flavor. Hints of angelica and lime. Restrained, and not really trying to overpower the juniper notes. The finish is a bit hot, warm in the corners of the mouth with a slight juniper tinge. Very quiet juniper and very dialed back. In terms of drinking neat, there’s a lot of heat here and a harsh edge, but botanical wise it’s an exercise in restraint and balance.

Mixing With tonic, it still contributes a subtle, but even more dialed back gin like flavor.

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Gin Reviews

Spirit Hound

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Back to Colorado we go. On the side of a road, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains you might come across a sign that says DISTILLERY.

If you know David and I. Or if you know what we do [write about spirits], you know that even if we didn’t have it on our list [we did, we just had bunk directions] we were going to stop.

We should have had a bumper sticker that says, THIS CAR BRAKES FOR DISTILLERIES. Because we saw the words. Quickly pulled a U-turn, and were in the parking lot of a distillery. We were at Spirit Hound Distillers, and they were so kind as to give David, Sara and I a tour of their wonderful space, but also to let us try their spirits.

First Some Background Spirit Hound’s Gin consists of 9 botanicals [see picture below of the botanical bottle], but what really struck me about Spirit Hound gin was a quirky arrangement that existed at the time when we visited. Folks who were hiking in the Rocky Mountains and found juniper [yes, there’s a good deal of it in them there foothills] could pack a bag of fresh picked juniper and bring it to the distillery in exchange for a drink.

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Gin Reviews

Spring 44 Old Tom Gin

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Old Tom Gin.

If you were hunting the streets of London for gin during the heady days of England’s early 18th century prohibition [and for those of you who don’t know your gin history, it was specifically gin which was targeted. The craze, Mother’s ruin, and all of that good stuff came out of this period] you need look no further than the window with a picture of the Old Tom Cat over it. Insert your coin, and the barkeep inside of the building would insert some gin into a chute for the paying customer to enjoy.

Old Tom Gin had a reputation for being cheap, almost vile stuff. The style in question was sweetened, to hide the less pleasant notes of the unfortunate and crudely produced spirit lying underneath.

History Lesson Over And now to the present. Dry gin merely meant “unsweetened gin,” and now Old Tom generally refers to a sweetened style of gin that differs from a the vast array of dry gins which decorate the shelves and bars or liquor stores around the world. Old Tom is something of an obscure style too, though with the recent craft distilling surge, its making a comeback and now there’s nearly ten distilleries Old Tom Gin being made in the United States, and I’d be expecting more in the near future.

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Gin Reviews

Hernö Navy Strength Gin

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This is the second gin from Hernö brenneri and the northernmost distillery gin distillery up in Dala, Sweden. We previously reviewed their 41% Swedish Excellence Gin.

Northernmost Navy What?

Q. If there was a Navy, let’s say hypothetically, would they be operating anything other than icebreakers?

A. Well, let’s dispel this notion. In theory, the nearest large city to Dala, Härnösand is known as a Harbor city, and its climate, while cool, is similar to Buffalo, NY. While this is the northermost gin distillery, it’s not so northern that a Navy – in theory – couldn’t operate out of the town where it is distilled. So dispel the notion that this is a spatial anachronism of sorts. On to the drink!

Tasting Notes on the World’s Northermost Navy Strength Gin The nose is a bit different than the lower proof batch. A little bit more emphasis on the floral, and a decidedly pronounced bit of heat. You can tell that this is going to pack some strength just from the scent.

The palette emphasizes some different notes as well. Up front, quiet on the lips. Takes half a second for the intensity to build.

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Gin Reviews

Hernö Swedish Excellence Gin

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My love for the great white north of any continent has left me with a somewhat peculiar fascination for the “as far north as you can go” concept. I’ve spent hours pouring over sites such as the “Route de la Baie James” site counting the mile markers of the Transtaiga Highway through other people’s photographs.

So of course when a gin says it is made at the world’s northernmost distillery, you’ve caught my sense of fantasy.  Hernö gin is made in Dala, just outside the city of Härnösand, Sweden. Coat of arms right below.

Unusual Botanical Alert! Two botanicals not often seen in gin appear in Hernö gin.

Meadowsweet: Has a subtle. pleasant aroma, sort of similar to almond. Used in wines, jams and potpourri, but most pertinent to the gin Meadowsweet is traditional component of Scandinavian Meads. Lingonberries: also known as Cowberry in the states, this tart, currant-like berry is probably best known as the red jam sold in every Ikea everywhere.

Tasting Notes: a hint of juniper and an astringent berry-like flavor. Sweet smelling, not too intense. The taste is complex with an emphasis on fruity notes.

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Gin Reviews

Green Hat [Spring/Summer 2013]

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It seems like there’s a few hot trends among gin distillers. One of them definitely is the creation of “seasonal” or “limited edition” runs. Green Hat Distilled Gin from New Columbia Distillers in Washington D.C. burst onto the scene just late last year, and in addition to their rather excellent, in this reviewer’s opinion, Green Hat Gin, they’ve released their first seasonal selection for this year’s spring and summer.

As it’s a seasonal gin for spring and summer, I’m heavily assuming this is a gin built for the official drink of summer: the Gin and Tonic. I’m going to factor that heavily into my review of this drink. In my opinion, if you’re putting out a seasonal gin for summer, you’ve got to be able to handle lazy days in the yard -being combined all willy-nilly with lemonade, tonic, or whatever else might be sitting in the cooler. But fear not, I’ll test it in some proper cocktails too, because although I like the idyllic vision of pulling a bottle gin out of the cooler on the beach, I know that properly made bar cocktails deserve a little bit of summer love too.

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Gin Reviews

Worship Street Whistling Shop Cream Gin

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If I told you that in terms of volume, 1/7th of your bottle of Cream Gin is actually cream, you might say I’m crazy. After all, there’s no hint as to where thick white color of cream might be.

Cream gin is the result of cold distillation with the cream as an actual botanical. And it’s cold, so the cream is never heated and therefore never denatures or does whatever weird flavor things that burnt milk is wont to do. A throwback to the Victorian Era, Master of Malt tells us.

Suffice to say, the folks at Master of Malt have been experimenting left and right in the last year or so, releasing gin after gin.

Although I’m lactose-intolerant [I don’t think there’s any lactose sneaking through…is there? should I be packing some dairy pills?] I’m rather excited about Cream Gin. Let’s get down to business.

So how about this meck*? The nose is a bit vanilla, with hints of citrus, juniper, and alcohol. Not very hot in terms of the alcohol, but it gives off a certain rubbing alcohol smell. The vanilla/cream odor dominates, but nowhere near as loud as you might expect it to be.

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Gin Reviews

Dry Fly Gin

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Up north to Washington we go, to the Pacific Northwest. If you haven’t heard, it’s quite a hot bed for distilling. Enter Dry Fly, from Spokane Washington. Their gin is made from all local ingredients, all the way up from the base through the botanicals.

GINISIN POP QUIZ: Given what I just told you. Dry Fly Gin is made from all Washington Botanicals AND it’s from Washington, what quintessential Washingtonian export might you expect to find in Dry Fly Gin?

…..

I’ll give you a hint. Last year the state had one of the largest crops in history and it made the national news when it was revealed that up to 1/4 of the crop might be left on trees from lack of people to pick the fruits.

Did you guess?

Without looking at the link?

Well, the answer is apples. And you’d be correct if you suspected there might be some Apple in here. (In addition to mint, lavender, and hops.) Oh yeah, juniper and the usual suspects too. Intrigued? I know I am. Let’s get down to some drinking, shall we?

Nose/Taste Wow, a tad malty on the nose with a distinct scent of stewed heavily spice apples.

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