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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Naturally, when there’s 30+ gins to be tasted it cannot be done all at once. As much as we’d like to try, to do a proper tasting our livers and mental capacities just couldn’t take it. So in order to give every gin a proper tasting and a fair shot, we spread it out into 6 mini tastings over the course of a long day. So as promised, here’s a recap of what we tasted side by side and with what– and I’ll share with you my top two from each heat.
For full gin reviews of every gin covered in the 50 States of Gin tasting, you’ll have to stay tuned to the Gin is In this fall. If my first post was the 10 miles high overview, this is the one from 50,000 feet. The full reviews will be on the ground: up close and personal.
Heat #1 ///
The Participants: Dogfish Head Jin from Delaware [the nation’s first state, I’m sure you see where we’re going with this], Pennsylvania’s Bluecoat Gin, Southern Gin from Georgia, Gale Force Gin from Masscahussetts and finally, New Hampshire’s Karner Blue gin.
Overall a strong opening.
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