Articles Tagged: Floral

Tonic Water

Hibiscus Strong Tonic

strong-hibiscus-tonic

Previously, we’ve reviewed Strong Tonic’s Extraordinary Tonic Syrup (). From Oklahoma City, they’ve done quite well since their launch and their newest product is a floral spin on their initial offering. Hibiscus has begun appearing in a few contemporary style gins, but has nowhere reached the popularity of Elderflower. So you’re not going to have the same frequency of flavor convergence when mixing with this syrup. But you are going to add a floral touch to your drink. So if that’s not your style of G&T there’s probably not much that will convince you. But if you are, well then you’re in for a treat.

The syrup is thick and viscous, but still flowing. It’s a lovely oxblood in hue, which lightens dramatically when mixed in a cocktail. The nose is bright and sweet, with molasses, fruit cake, cinnamon sugar, and hibiscus tea notes. Sipping on its own, you can really appreciate how bold an assertive the quinine component is in here. It’s not a floral mixer, it is clearly a tonic. Sweet, with cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, and the finish is bright and slightly spice with a refreshing hibiscus after taste.

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Gin Reviews

Green Hat [Spring/Summer 2013]

green-hat-seasonal

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

Port of Dragons 100% Floral

gin-port-of-dragons-100-floral-437640

Ahhh, Port of Dragons! We meet again!

The mere mention of your brand name makes me feel as if I should be sipping a G&T in Qarth. Or King’s Landing. Have I been reading too much Game of Thrones lately? Perhaps. But let me drop these cultural references and get down to the gin. Does it actually invoke the stark landscapes of Essos or the well traveled paths outside Winterfell? Or Maybe Spain, seeing as that the place it hails from is very real and very much on the cutting edge of innovative gins.

[No this is not a re-post. You are correct that a short while ago we reviewed 100% floral’s companion gin 100% Pure]

The Nose of the Dragon It smells a bit vegetal. Hints of cucumber, and even shrubs. An ambiguous “greenery” smell. Hints of rose emerge from the mix give it a slight “summery” character. I’m picking up a bit of juniper around the edges, but overall it has a contemporary character. But like the Pure, the nose isn’t quite doing it for me.

We get a bit more into the taste. It has a smooth character, with heat slowly building along with the taste.

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Gin Reviews

Comb 9 Gin

comb 9 bottle

[Image from SummerFruitCup.com]

I’ve made a lot over the base spirit that distillers use to build their gin upon. We’ve seen apple, potato, rye, molasses, corn, and any other manner of grains. But until today, we haven’t seen a gin that uses honey. And to be very specific, orange blossom honey.

Oranges? Orange Blossom Honey is a monofloral honey, which means that it is predominantly the honey produced by bees pollinating a single species of plant. Orange Blossom Honey is highly regarded since at the time bees are pollinating orange flowers, not much else is in bloom. Therefore, Orange Blossom Honey is rather pure, and has a unique bright floral qualities.

StilltheOne Distillery takes advantage of these floral properties and distills a base that is wholly unique and maintains hints of those floral qualities in the end products [which include a vodka and a brandy in addition to their gin].

Nose? Sweet and rich, but simultaneously not that strong. Softly floral. It doesn’t scream out gin on the nose.

Taste? While the nose is rather mild, the taste is vivid. Lots of juniper up front, floral with hints of citrus. Some of the floral notes intimate notes of elderflower and lavender.

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Gin Reviews

Bloom Gin

Bloom-3

Bloom Gin is tall, elegant and distinctly contemporary styled. A bold and striking gin from G&J Greenall who recently celebrated their sestercentennial. With over 250 years of gin making, they currently are the proud distillers of their mainline Greenall’s Gin and the bright herbaceous Berkeley Square Gin. Bloom is distinctive and somewhat unexpected. While it is part of a movement among the gin community to specifically target certain demographics [see Ish Gin], Bloom Gin does so without overtly pandering or compromising the core values of the storied distillery. Simple put, its proof that if you make a good product, the marketing does its own work. Bloom Gin is marketed as a “gin for women.” I prefer to look at Bloom Gin as a “gateway gin,” for people who wouldn’t traditional refer to themselves as gin drinkers, or for people who have been raised on the contemporary style of gins such as Hendrick’s.

Enough of the marketing angle talk, how does it taste?

It smells sweet and floral. Honeysuckle and citrus bright and on the nose. Very inviting and very not traditionally gin like. I’d say that the nose comes across as a floral vodka, but I don’t wan’t to invoke the pejorative sides of that taste description.

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Gin Reviews

Hendrick’s [UK version. 41.4%]

hendricks bottle

A peculiar review indeed. But perhaps not for the reasons you might think. We’re taking an opportunity to take a look at an early favorite of the Gin is In’s: Hendrick’s Gin. Really the ultimate in gateway gins. But this time, we’re taking a look at the version of Hendrick’s that you folks in the UK are used to seeing. You see, here in the states Hendrick’s is bottled at 44% or about 88 proof. but in the UK? a full 6 proof points lower. 41.4% or 82.8 proof. Does it actually make a difference? Or has my sentiments on Hendrick’s changed in the last 3 years since my initial review?

Getting down to it: Nose and Taste The nose is heavy on the rose, bright and floral with a hint of alcohol as well. Not something I remember from my initial tastes of even the stronger American version. The taste though is smooth and slow at first, very easy to be drank. But quite, cucumber and neutrality, not much going on. The other flavors accelerate and crash altogether, juniper and earthy angelica, hints of coriander. It fades, leaving a warm alcoholic burn taste in the back of your mouth and a bright hint of floral long after the initial taste.

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Gin Reviews

Dorothy Parker Gin

dorothy-parker-bottle

Who is Dorothy Parker? First and foremost, who is Dorothy Parker? and why is a gin named after her?

Probably her best link to gin is her widely known quote “‘I like to have a Martini, two at the very most; three, I’m under the table, four I’m under my host!'”

 Attributable quips aside, she was a renowned screenwriter, poet and critic. Her wit was described as “caustic,” and cost her a job with Vanity Fair in 1920 when higher-ups grew tired of  her bold criticisms. She was a member of the Algonquin Round Table, a 1920’s association of influential New York City writers. She was a social activist, whose  left-wing activities actually got her on the Hollywood Blacklist despite two academy award nominations for her work.

So it was her reputation in the New York City arts scene, her wit, and her enthusiasm for gin which led to New York Distilling Company naming one of their two flagship gins after her.

And on to the Gin: The nose is sweet and floral. Hibiscus and fruit. It smells sweet. In my initial notes I had written ‘reminds me of Starbucks’ passion fruit ice tea.’ Bright, refreshing, inviting and somewhat unique.

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Gin Reviews

Imperial Barrel Aged Gin

roundhouse-imperial-aged-bottle

Hearkening back to the Barrel Aged Gin tasting a few weeks ago, I’ve become acquainted on a rather intimate level with several quite excellent aged gins.

Roundhouse Spirits of Colorado has created a barrel aged version of their mainline Roundhouse Gin. It has a gorgeous golden brown color, similar to a nice mead, and crystal clear. Imperial comes in at 94 proof [47%] and a message on the front of the bottle says aged in new oak barrels for at least 6 months.” So we know that we have here is an aged gin which is longer aged than most other aged gins out there.

Tasting The nose is a bit sweet, but overall rather heavy on alcohol. A little bit of caramel, candied orange rinds, and a bit of burn.

Upon tasting neat though it begins rather sweet. Similar to Roundhouse Gin, there’s a floral character here. Primarily chamomile, but a little bit of violet too. The floral rolls kindly into a wave of rich spice. Spicy notes of cloves and nutmeg, hints of roasted allspice and quiet cinnamon. There’s a deep rich earthiness here, a but the oak is rather less prominent than it is in some other gins, which have even been aged less.

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Gin Reviews

Berkshire Mountain’s Ethereal Gin Batch No. 6

ethereal-gin-no-6-bottle

I love the concept of it all. Berkshire Mountain Distillers, creators of the already good Greylock Gin, release nearly annually a new batch of limited edition gin which they market under their Ethereal Gin moniker.

Previously, I reviewed Ethereal Gin Batch No. 4, so it is of course with great excitement that I have a chance to review their latest batch.

Immediately, the nose is much more floral than the previous batch of Ethereal Gin. Its light and flowery, a bit reminiscent of Hendrick’s subtle nose. There’s a bit of lavender and rose, a bit of lime and orange. Not a lot of juniper.

The taste is smooth and almost fruity. There’s a bit of juniper up front, smooth and flowing, and it unfolds slowly revealing notes of lime and lemon, before finishing in an almost fruity “fruit punch” sort of way. None of this is up in your face, its a subtle finish. Notes of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, Blueberries and cream and even a hint of spiciness. The tail note where you get a slight hint of anise is vaguely reminiscent of the Ethereal Gin I tasted previously.

I mixed Ethereal Gin No 6 with tonic water and you get a bit of the same floral notes shining through.

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Gin Reviews

Roundhouse Gin

roundhouse gin

Some gins are immediately striking for a variety of reasons. Some gins bring to mind a place in vivid detail: from the bottle design, to the botanical choice, to the smell. Yet other gins bring to mind a place a time: Hendrick’s Gin reminds me of Friday nights in college at just a waft of the rose and cucumber bouquet. And yet other gins remind me of a thing: River Rose Gin reminds me of cookies. What about Roundhouse Gin? Well it reminds me of a warm cup of tea in the winter.

You might say: Aaron, why be so literal? Sure, I get it, chamomile is a botanical in Roundhouse Gin, so why not go somewhere outside the box?

I might reply: Well, I go that direction because from the first nose to the last sparks along the palette a distant thirty second after you’ve swallowed, that chamomile is there. And the accompanying botanicals bring to mind all the best parts of the chamomile tea experience. So hold tight, and give me a moment. If you’re not convinced merely by reading my elegant prose, why not sit down with a snifter of neat Roundhouse Gin, a warm cup of Chamomile tea and challenge me otherwise?

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