This is kind of an odd review, because while we’re reviewing a botanical blend which is used to make gin, we’re not reviewing a gin per se. Let me explain.
We took a closer look at the botanicals in the bag to see what was going into our gin.
Recipes for making your own gin have been circling the internet for nearly a decade. Gin, by definition is an alcoholic spirit which gets its primary flavor from juniper. This means that even spirits in which the juniper has been added after distillation, a.k.a compound gins are still technically gin (for example Crater Lake Gin () and Tru2 ()) Compounded gins often have a different flavor profile, because the juniper [and other botanicals] are not distilled; therefore aromatics which might not come through as strongly during distillation are still present, in addition to all of the essential, and non-distillable oils present in the ingredients.
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Every now and then as a gin writer you get an opportunity to try something that you never would have even thought about trying if it wasn’t for the writing. Or try something you didn’t know existed. Here’s one of those examples. Distilled, blended and bottled by the Peace Myanmar Group Co. Ltd. (established in 1993, and the gin(!) was one of its flagship products at launch), we have Myanmar Dry Gin.
First and foremost, a shoutout to my friend Angelo who picked this up for me while he was working on his own research in Myanmar.
There’s this absolutely crazy, unexpected top note in here. It fades really quickly, (<30 seconds after the pour, but when you first open the bottle- wow). Sweet lemon, orange, but heavier on the lime, redolent of candy- familiar in a really unexpected way. Recognizably familiar, but not really in the world of gin nose vocabulary. I also wrote down “fruit punch.” (the for-kids sweetened drink from the supermarket). There’s some more usual gin notes a bit buried at the end of the nose. But really weird, leaning contemporary at first sniff.
On the palate, it’s first worth noting that the quality of the spirit is a little lesser than we’re used to.
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Question: I’ve heard that cheap gin doesn’t have any “actual juniper” in it, but I’m looking for a gin which will hopefully have some juniper in it so I can derive the purported benefits, which include a reduction of inflammation from arthritis and other similar afflictions. Which gin has the most juniper in it?
Answer: The last part of the question is the part that I can and will answer.
Very inexpensive compound gins [on the bottom shelf usually] add juniper “flavoring” to neutral spirit. It’s technically and “legally” “gin.” But that’s not what you’re looking for.
Your next step you have your distilled gins.
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Compound Gin is the name given to gins in which the botanicals are added after distillation. These gins have a perhaps unfair reputation as being “cheap,” “low-quality” and “inferior.” This reputation has come from the myriad of store brands, local one-offs and bottom shelf compound gins which have sullied the concept.
Now it is true, I won’t deny it. Compound gins are cheaper to make, and therefore that is why so many bottom shelf gins make their gin this way. But Bendistillery causes us to question this. When a craft distillery takes the time to do it right, why can’t a compound gin be something better than ‘acceptable.’ can it indeed be good?
First thing to note, Crater Lake Gin clearly has a slight golden hue [almost that of a light white wine] largely owing to the botanical infusion.
Enter The Compound
The nose is a little bit harsh. A vivid note of alcohol burn and a hint of mild fresh juniper.
The taste is one that I find rather pleasing though. True, there is a bit or harshness there. At 95 Proof, its not to say that the harsh edge is disingenuous, I’d only go as far as saying that it tastes noticeably harsher than other gins at this similar proof point.
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