Articles Tagged: Craft Gin

Gin Reviews

Dancing Dog Gin

dancing-dog-gin-bottle

We should get it out of the way by way of introduction. This is probably one of my favorite gin labels out there.

Flooded Fox Den Distillery is located outside Portland, Oregon in Forest Grove and is designed with the quintessential “craft” ethos of “small batch” and “natural” with no added colorings or sweeteners. Alike many before him, Scot Lester came to the world of distilling via brewing. Once a brewing hobbyist, now a part-time distiller. His first product, the aforementioned gin hit the market in 2014 with a Rum launching early this year as well.

Tasting Notes

Spice and citrus on the nose: coriander, cardamom, grapefruit and lemon peel with lavender coming through as well. Nicely blended with no ingredient rising too far above the other; the aroma is harmonious and inviting.

The warm spice hits up front. Cardamom leads into a creamy, slightly floral mid-body. Lavender, turning into orris; there’s lemon rind, coriander and cardamom. The overall mouthfeel is rich and the spirit is most definitely warming. A nice gin that you would probably characterize as floral; however, there’s moments where it seems slightly more spice forward; and other moments where you detect the juniper peaking through from a tuft of lavender, just enough to be there and add a bit of a gin-like heft to it.

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Gin Reviews

Wheel House American Dry Gin

wheel-house-gin-bottle

wheel·house / ˈ(h)wēlˌhous, noun: wheelhouse; plural noun: wheelhouses

    1. a part of a boat or ship serving as a shelter for the person at the wheel. 2. the part of a batter’s strike zone most likely to produce a home run. “Oakland’s closer Street left a fastball in Bonds’ wheelhouse with two outs” 3. a place or situation in which one is advantageously at ease.

Officially it’s definition 1, but I suggest there’s a little a bit of definition 3 here in as well.

In our own <100 Words

Straight from Sacramento City, California, Wheel House Gin is Gold River Distillery’s tribute to the culture of the city and region during prohibition. Enterprising sons and daughters of Gold miners from the Gold Rush weren’t having any of this prohibition business. Taking advantage of the city’s geography, bootleggers used river boats to bring the contraband to the speakeasies of the city. Those brave souls steered their ships from the Wheelhouse, or definition 1. It’s a “grain-to-glass” gin, base from distilled red winter wheat and white wheat on a column still before being distilled with the botanicals.

Tasting Notes

There’s a warm grainy quality noticeable immediately on the nose.

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Gin Reviews

Letherbee Gin

letherbee gin bottle

Letherbee Gin has been created to be the “anti craft, craft gin,” says its distillers aiming to provide an affordable, high quality gin that’s main use is to be poured at bars, to become the main pour at restaurants. It’s not about the bottle, the bottle is an afterthought: its minimal appearance and cryptic tagline “Gin for wellness” are probably not enough to stand out on what is now a really crowded shelf. They want to stand out as a gin, as a local affordable well gin [made in Chicago], not as a package on a shelf of gin.

Commendable, as I judge a spirit not by its wrapper [though some are very nice], but by what’s inside.

Tasting Notes

Strong nose, juniper, fennel, cubeb and a bit of pepper. Gin like, with a bit of an edge. The taste is very loud, even by gin standards. Juniper begins early, some lemon peel, citrus rind, and coriander. The spices begin to shine in the middle before coming out quite loudly in the finish. Fennel and licorice, with a finale that really brings a bit of heat. Long fennel seed note on the finish.

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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

Strait Gin

strait gin bottle

For today’s we review we look to our [my] Northern neighbor, Canada. It too has seen a surge in microdistilling and craft spirits in the past decade. The Myriad View Artisan Distillery has been in operation since 2006 and was Atlantic Canada’s first gin distillery. Their gin is based off of the triple distilled Strait Gin with a series of international botanicals added to a fourth distillation in their copper pot still.

The bottle proudly says “London Dry Gin” with a picture of London bridge in the background. So I’m expecting something classic right from the get go. Let’s open it up and see….

Taste A nice bit of spice on the nose, a good deal of juniper. Juniper, lemon, as well as notes of cinnamon and sweet baking spices. Nice, but not straight forward classic.

The taste has a bit of heat, bottled at 51%, this is not surprising. But the flavor is nice and well balanced: Lemon and baking spices at first on the tip of the tongue, a rising bit of heat. Pleasant and warming but nicely balanced. The flavors are clear but not too loud. Juniper is most clearly characterized here in the mid notes, and the finish begins with heat fading, a warm hint of vanilla and almond, creamy spice on the close.

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Gin Reviews

Leopold’s Navy Strength Gin

Leopold Brothers Navy Strength Gin

Navy Strength Gin is undoubtedly powerful stuff. That’s just the proof. Leopold’s Gin is among the most respected names in craft gin. Venerable and has stood the test of time.

But for their Navy Strength they did something that’s rather unusual for a distiller working on a Navy Strength gin. Most distillers give us a “less watered down” version of their main gin. So the flavors are more intense but its remarkably familiar.

But not here. This gin is a complete new from-scratch creation specifically designed to be mixed. The flavors are vivid and bright, painted with a thick paint brush. This isn’t the Lepold’s you’ve had before. It is truly it’s own beast:

Nose and Taste

Rumor has it they doubled the juniper in this batch, but wow can you tell. Lots of juniper and a hint of lemon. Strong and to its credit the only thing strong is the aroma. You’re not getting a whole lot of indication of the heat in here. Just clean gin.

On to the tasting, and this is where it becomes quite clear what this gin’s point of view is. Almost like taking a first sip of Bergamot oil: bitter, a tad sour and slightly citrus.

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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

Dry Fly Gin

dryfly_03

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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Gin Reviews

Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin

catoctin creek gin

Hailing from the watershed. Which is known as Catoctin Creek. Its waters are known to drain To the bay called Chesapeke.

And the distillers call Loudon County, VA their home Released a few years back a gin of their very own!

So they built their gin from scratch Up on a base of Rye! and the label says its organic! for which it is genuinely certified!

So what say you Aaron? what do you think of this gin? At 100 proof it brings its heat what kind of cocktails will you mix it in?

Enough with the Rhymes/Its drinking time! We’ll hang up our poetry hat for a moment and get down to business right here. The nose is a tad strawlike, notes or carraway and pepper, but with a hint of something a bit jam-like in there, giving off hints of hibiscus and blueberry. Very subtly floral, but predominantly grainy. It doesn’t quite have a white whiskey nose, but you can tell you might be in the neighborhood.

At 100 proof,you might be expecting it to a bit harsher than it is. True, while it brings a noticeable heat, it is still rather smooth.

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Gin Reviews

White Tiger Gin

white-tiger-gin-bottle

I was six when the Buffalo Zoo announced that through an arrangement with the Cincinnati Zoo, Buffalo would soon be home to a cross-eyed white tiger who was mother to almost one fifth of the world’s known population of white tigers. Sumita arrived in Buffalo in June 1989 and was something of a celebrity. Or at least so it seemed to a six-year-old me who lived within walking distance of the zoo. I remember the excitement of my mother [who at this point, I had only seen her as enthusiastic at this when the zoo brought in a Koala the summer prior] as we went to the bustling zoo, to sneak between the crowds and catch a glimpse of the mutant Bengal Tiger [technical term, continuing…]

Sumita passed away in Buffalo in the summer of 1990 and was quickly replaced by a male named Mota later that year. I can recall my younger sister and I each having a stuffed tiger. Hers was the white one and was named Sumita; mine was a traditional orange and black tiger, but owing to the attractive power of the spectacle that was the white tiger in the zoo that summer, I named mine Mota.

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