Articles Tagged: Contemporary Gin

Gin Reviews

Entropia Gin

Entropia Gin

Image from http://eladerezo.hola.com/

We have another bold colored gin from the Galicia region of Spain. Entropia’s golden color isn’t from aging, its actually from the post-distillation infusion of the two botanicals most prominently called out on the bottle. Guarana and Ginseng. I know, it’s hard to not think “energy drink” considering I’ve seen those two ingredients prominently called out on the labels of everything from Sobe to Vitamin Water over the last decade.

Ginseng is often considered a natural boost for one’s mental acuity, sexual drive, or mood, science thus far has only been able to find weak evidence to associate it with boosting one’s immune system. Not exactly unabashed support, yet some claim to experience these benefits.

Guarana has been associated with a whole host of supposed boosts, everything from weight loss, to mental sharpness, to sexual stamina and really everything in between. Science remains unconvinced.

But we’re not here to try the botanicals’ medical properties. We’re here to try their flavor. And on that matter we feel like we’re qualified to pass judgement.

Tasting Notes

Entropia Gin has a golden color, similar to that of a lager. It has the hue of bright hay or goldenrod.

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Philosophy

Is there room on the shelf for two kinds of gin?

…or perhaps even three. But I’d be getting ahead of myself.

Firstly, the premise. The hook: there’s at least two distinct kinds of gin out there.

The Bourbon/Rye Parallel: It’s not as night and day as say rum vs whiskey. Even when both are aged, you can clearly distinguish between the two. It’s more of a distinction between say Rye and Bourbon. I know, at your local dive bar, or for folks who make cocktails once a year, having a “whiskey” is sufficient. But when is the last time you’ve seen a cocktail menu of any repute simply call out a whiskey, as if to imply to the drinker, the finer points don’t quite matter here?

For example, I don’t have to have had Buffalo Trace Bourbon to ascertain whether or not it fits my tastes. I’m largely familiar with other Bourbons, so although not all Bourbons are the same, I can roughly ascertain, “this might be a sweet, a bit smoother and have less edge.” If I’m looking for something with ‘a bit more spice, something peppery, some heat,” I might opt for the Rye sour….well maybe not, but you see where I’m going with it.

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Gin Reviews

Colorado Gold

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Sometimes I get a sample of a gin that hasn’t  actually crossed my radar at all. I hate to say it, but Colorado Gold? This is the rare gin that I hadn’t heard anything about before it ended up in front of me to taste. I’m not sure I can tell you any story about it other than that David was able to obtain me a sample while at the ADI Conference in Colorado this past Spring.

What I can say [and thanks to a little bit of internet research to back this up] is that Colorado Gold Gin is part of the illustrious tradition of Colorado distilling.

Local grain [✓] Local and sourced water [✓] Juniper [✓]

Something Local + Juniper = Colorado Gin, without exception.

Now I’m not a big believer in the “water thing,” in that water affects the final character of a beverage in a unique and distinct way. But I do like that for some places, like Colorado, water is an important part of life and the terroir culture. So of course, sourcing the water and using spring water is important to Coloradans and therefore should be part of their distilling culture*.

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Gin Reviews

Dancing Pines Gin

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Another stop on our Spring tour-de-Colorado distillery tour, Dancing Pines Distillery makes a wide array of spirits. Some of which if I were not a narrowly focused gin writer I would love to talk about. [The Black Walnut Bourbon Liqueur? guilty pleasure city….]

Dancing Pines distinguishes itself with a refreshingly narrow list of 6 botanicals.

Dancing with Dancing Pines Gin: A nice bright nose, juniper and lemon along with a tinge of sweet but pronounced alcohol. The lemon borders on super sweet towards the end of the nose [although still very subtle], almost going in an Uncle Val’s sort of direction. Very bright, and aromatic. Interesting balance, not quite sure if the nose belies a contemporary or classic style gin.

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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

Nolet Reserve

nolet-reserve

Special thanks to David over at Summer Fruit Cup who obtained me this sample of this rather rare, expensive, and unique gin. Without him, I’m not sure my travels would have ever taken me across this gin.So thanks again David!

The Story This is the “private reserve,” not to be confused with Nolet’s Silver offering, a rather floral, bright, and somewhat expensive [~$50/750mL] contemporary style gin. This gin is slightly golden and is the result of a myriad of botanicals, each separately distilled or macerated [depending on the ingredient] and then mixed together by hand, and personally tested by Carolus Nolet Sr. to ensure it being of the highest quality. Among the disclosed botanicals are  Verbena and Saffron [likely the source of the golden hue].

I only had a small tasting. So of course in this one case, I’m not going to be able to talk about cocktails. But when you spend $700 on a gin, this is surely a gin designed to be tasted neat and not mixed. So please forgive the omission in this one instance.

Tasting Rose Petals, honeysuckle and bright pungent floral aromas on the nose. A hint of juniper in the background, a touch of alcohol [104 proof, so not unexpected].

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Gin Reviews

Blanc Ocean Gin

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Picture courtesy of SummerFruitCup.com

Spain, once again you surprise us. Pushing the boundaries of what gin can be. Using ingredients that few ever thought of using in gin. Yes, Blanc Gin is the gin probably better known among the gin community as the “seaweed” gin, owing to its one rather unique botanical–

–well I should break in here. The list isn’t what you’d consider a standard list. A few surprising names appear on it. Bergamot, Lemon and Verbena, and three different kinds of citrus, including Key Lime. Different, but none of these botanicals get top billing, so although we’ll be tasting them later, this IS the seaweed gin–

The Nose and the Palate of Blanc Interesting at very first scent. A bit of orange, but the distinct aroma of dark cocoa. The nose reminds me a lot of orange chocolate, the Easter candy. Not much juniper on the nose, and definitely not much to tell you this isn’t a chocolate vodka. Wow, not gin like at all.

Citrus at front, with a bright burst of cocoa. Rich, chocolaty, a little bit of burn, and a hint of juniper. Some earthy notes more towards the finish, a little bit of bitters punch from the gentian/angelica and rich creamy orange chocolate again on the finish.

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Gin Reviews

Hernö Swedish Excellence Gin

herno-swedish-gin

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

Blade Gin

Blade Gin Bottle Image Front

I’ve had this sample floating around my kitchen for awhile now. Reviewing a mini is a challenge for me, but I try to do it as best as I can, especially when David hooks me up with some samples from the UK. I prefer to mix a couple of full cocktails, try it in a few smaller drinks and really kind of get a sense of what the gin is trying to do. Well in this case I have about  50mL of a spirit. It’s hard to do as a complete a review as I’d like, but I’m going to take a shot at telling you what it tastes like and how it works w/ Tonic. But that’s about all I can do. If I ever am able to get a full bottle, I reserve the right to update this review with a more complete list of cocktails and tasting notes.

Okay, phew. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to the first ‘micro-tasting.’

Blade: introductory notes. Very intrigued by the fact that the base mixed a standard neutral grain base with grape spirits as well.

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