Aside from being my favorite piece of punctuation (sorry octothorpe!), Ampersand is also the name of a family-founded distillery, which opened doors in 2014 on a farm in British Columbia. On their custom built equipment, father and son Jeremy and Stephen Schacht use their engineering background and local grown wheat to design their craft gin. Not much is shared about what is in their gin, other than the aforementioned wheat base spirit and some classic botanicals like juniper, coriander, angelica, lemon and orris root.
Articles Tagged: British Columbia
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.
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.
The distillers at Long Table Distillery [among Vancouver’s first btw] take their classic London Dry Gin and age it in 30L oak barrels, formerly used to hold Bourbon. Their Bourbon Barrel Aged Gin is a limited edition spirit, with a pleasing goldenrod hue to it. It. Alike their other gins, this one rests on a foundation of botanicals from wild and other sources around the world, and has been distilled on their 300 L copper pot still.
Lemon and white grapefruit zest on the nose, with buttery, wood laden notes just underneath. Cinnamon toast notes of butter, cinnamon sugar and even caramel. Really melds some of the olfactory character of both bourbon and gin. A lot to like here.
The spirit itself has a nice viscosity, and the aromatic character evolves steadily and gently on the palate. There’s also a heaviness to it that’s quite nice. Twisted lemon zests, crisp oak, flaky pastry and silky vanilla notes. Pine-laden juniper comes on toward the finish along with a touch of fennel. The finish is medium in length with a nice warmth, accompanied by a late hint of mintiness and anethole.
Quite nice on its own, it shows a lot of promise as a mixer.
Okanagan Spirits Distillery’s flagship gin is distilled from 100% British Colombia grown fruit, not grain on their copper pot still. Using local spring water they cut the spirit before re-distilling with coriander, spruce, rose and of course juniper. They do a wide array of spirits in addition to gin. including Aquavit, Brandy, Absinthe and Vodka.
On the nose, spruce buds, musky rose, grain, some green juniper, and coriander. There’s a grainy/fruit brandy background note present as well. Not quite over the top enough to signal that this is obviously using a fruit base rather than grain, but it does add something to the nose creates a warm aura around the spirit.
The spirit is smooth and warming, though the spirit itself does feel a bit thin as it passes over the tongue. Whisper quiet at first, spruce shoots, orris, violets turn rose-like a bit later. Piney juniper evolves to be a bit more resinous on the finish. Tree sap, lemon, and a scintilla of caraway usher in a finish with grain and a faint touch of fennel stalk. Relatively short finish.
Spruce seems to be the dominant pine character of this gin, lending it a boreal forest freshness, however, the juniper is very much in the background and something you have to look closely for.
From the distilling hotbed of the Pacific Northwest, Endeavour Gin comes from the Liberty Distillery on Granville Island in Vancouver. Founded in 2010, it took four long years before the still was running and the spirits were pouring. Their gin is built on a base of local wheat, completely triple distilled on site on their copper stills and diluted with local water. Keeping with the spirit of local, their gin uses vapor infusion and twelve carefully selected botanicals on that same copper pot still.
The folks at the Liberty Distillery have been quite experimental with gin since their opening. They also have an Old Tom and a West Coast riff on traditional gin featuring 25 local botanicals. Hopefully we can get our hands on one of those soon, but for now here’s our impressions of their primary gin offering.
The nose is warm, slightly floral with a some grassy, wheat lined underpinnings. Floral strawberry and lemon notes on the nose, honeysuckle, spring pollen, and a hint of licorice. The palate is rich, with red grapefruit, black peppercorns, and a licorice. Juniper comes on strongly mid-palate with still a bit more citrus.