Spanish Gin is perhaps slightly undercovered here on The Gin is In. So special thanks goes to David, my chum over at Summer Fruit Cup who scored me a couple Spanish gin samples. A lot of the Spanish gins I’ve covered in the past have been really out there: some green, some purple, some flavored with eccentric botanicals. But instead, today we have a Spanish gin who predates the contemporary gin revolution by no small amount. Giró Gin has been around since 1930, and it has a much more illustrious history when compared to other Spanish gins we’ve covered. And at a relatively inexpensive price of $13/L, this is truly a people’s gin if there was one.
The nose is strong, a good deal of ethanol, but with a faint, and quite pleasant notes of juniper and orange behind it. A bit harsh, but quite gin like, and not all too different from many inexpensive gins.
The palate is a bit stronger and colors in the notes of the nose vividly. Juniper at first, a rich earthy middle with coriander, angelica, and then suddenly and boldly a really quite surprising finish.
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Today we’re going mainstream.
I know a lot of folks like to hear about craft gins, but I also know there’s been a lot of “what do you think about this gin,” where this is a gin that you can find on the shelf of every liquor store worth its salt from sea to shining sea on both sides of the Atlantic.
Today, we’re going to look at Bombay Dry Gin. You might know the name better from the Sapphire blend which was among the pioneers in putting all the botanicals clearly on the back of the bottle [something Bombay Dry does now also] and one of the first crossover gins designed to appeal to folks who don’t really dig the juniper forward gins of yore.
First and foremost, this is a gin of yore. Juniper forward, this is a gin that is classic in style though has a few flourishes to set it apart. Let’s get to the tasting notes, shall we?
Neat we have lemon fresh and lots of juniper. Strongly gin like. The lemon notes seem to overwhelm and dominate the nose on this at the end.
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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!
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.
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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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.
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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Some things strike me as just being plain “not fair.”
Here in the states we have one kind of Schweppes Tonic Water for sale. Its pretty much exactly what you expect: saccharine, sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and overall pretty much indistinguishable from other plastic bottle tonic waters available in supermarkets across America.
But overseas, there is this other kind of tonic water called “Indian Tonic Water.” Which (spoiler) means the exact same thing. It is simply put, tonic water. However, taste-wise it is radically different from anything we have on the mainstream US market.
It is slightly sweet, with a syrupy undertone, cut cleanly by a brisk dose of quinine that tastes at least two or three times more intense than the Schweppes I usually buy. The less-intense sweetness means that when you mix if it with gin, a lot more of the gin flavor actually comes through. Overall though, it makes for a much more bitter cocktail.
This is the kind of tonic that really made the lemon/lime a requirement. With not a lot of sweet, it leaves room for the natural sugars of a citrus fruit to make themselves known; whereas with your usual tonic water you might not even need that.
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