Articles Tagged: Gateway Gin

Gin Reviews

Mohawk Gin

mohawk-gin-bottle

Perhaps you’re saying “not again, Aaron! another plastic bottle?”

I do not try to be biased in which gins I choose to reviews. Craft, rectified, or big-names. I aspire to give them all a fair shot. As in, I’ll let them stand on their own merits [or lack thereof]. I think that it’s important to sometimes go out and pick up some of these gins that I oft pass over, since in a world where despite gin’s ubiquity in cocktail menus across the nation, these inexpensive plastic bottles are what many people’s first taste of gin is. These gins are among the biggest sellers and most common gins in this country. And yet nary a word is written about them.

I’ve seen Mohawk Gin on the shelves of Buffalo area liquor stores growing up, and until a recent trip back, I hadn’t ever actually given it a try. Until Now.

In < 100 of our own words

Mohawk Gin is surprisingly part of a diverse portfolio of brands owned by Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc. It was acquired in 2007 as part of a vast array of products from Boisset [which include bigger names like Hypnotiq, Pama and Christian Brothers Brandy].

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Gin Reviews

Bombay Sapphire

bombay sapphire bottle

Perhaps the single frequently requested gin review is this little number right here. I’ve mostly stayed clear of it out of respect. I know its a great gateway gin, and I give it a lot of credit for helping to show a generation of gin drinkers that gin can be more complex and have notes that are other than just juniper. If someone I meet says “yeah I drink gin,” odds are this gin is among their favorites. I’ve never really felt the need to critique or laud a gin who clearly doesn’t need me to waste type on them. This is the second most widely drank gin in the world today.

But here I am, giving into the call. I’m reviewing that gin which has turned I would guess millions on to gin, and a gin which I honestly will admit to being the first gin behind a bar that I recognized a decade ago as a gin that I could and would want to be seen drinking.

Botanicals?

This is a Bombay Gin so of course the botanicals are clearly labeled on the bottle. This is another one of the revolutions in gin to which we owe Bombay some credit.

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Gin Reviews

Blanc Ocean Gin

blancginbottle

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

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

Cool Gin

cool gin bottle

That is NOT colored glass my friends. This gin is actually purple. Not as purple as the bottle is at right. But it is a light pastel violet hue.  Surely unlike any gin that I’ve ever had in this regard.

Once again, here we are in Spain on the bold frontier of contemporary gin. Surely anything goes and as Cool gin will show, sometimes anything works too.

Notes on drinking Cool Gin:

The nose is floral and sweet. Lots of berry, creamy. Hints of strawberry, blackberry and custard. Very inviting. This is not your grandpa’s gin. Heck, the nose makes it seem like it may not be gin at all.

Floral on the tip of the toungue, vanilla and crisp buttery bread, juniper really shines and peaks quite strongly. Berries, ebb and flow, coming in towards the end of the palette with an almost boysenberry note. The finish is a bit heat, definitively aware of the alcohol in this drink, and juniper lingers, Faint jammy note at the end. Wow, this is interesting and bright. Unique and more definitively contemporary than perhaps all but a couple of gins out there right now.

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Gin Reviews

Green Hat Gin

green-hat-gin-bottle

A couple of weekends ago I paid visit to Washington D.C.’s preeminent Gin distillery. Not only was it great to meet the people behind the operation, see their great space, but I was also amazed at the buzz of activity in their distillery on a Saturday afternoon. People were laughing loudly at a bottling party; there was a constant stream of folks coming in for tastings and tours. I’ve been in some museums that would be envious of the size of the tour group that I saw in the distillery on this Saturday. So all in all, the distillery was quite a hub of activity in what at first sight seemed like a rather out of the way location in Washington D.C.*.

Now there are two things most people want to know about this gin.

One) How does it taste. Two) Why “Green Hat.”

Well I’m only equipped to answer one of those questions. If you want to learn about the Green Hat, go to the New Columbia Distillers’ website. The come back here for the review.

About the Gin, not the Hat. The nose is very floral, very pronounced.

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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

Hoxton Gin

Hoxton-Gin-Bottle

Hoxton Gin, if it were to be personified in a film, would be that kid who was born into a family of car salesman. Great grandfather sold Fords; Grandpa sold Fords; and his father sold his first Mustang a month before he could drive one. Undeterred by the specter of the family business hanging over his head and ten tons of expectations, the kid decides he wants to be a banker, an artist, a poet, or whatever. Its not the what that matters so much as the fact that he does something with his family name (still renowned for their cars) that’s as far from the auto lot as possible. Ladies and Gentleman, meet Mr. Hoxton. Hoxton gin that is.

Its reputation surely precedes it. I knew about this divisive spirit* long before I’d ever had a chance to taste it. There’s been many posts and impromptu twitter conversations that can be summed up in two words: “really? Conconut!?” To be fair, Hoxton doesn’t shy away from this. Their bottle warns you right from the outset. If you don’t like coconut and grapefruit, then you should stay away.

The Nose Bold and perfumed.

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Gin Reviews

Nils Oscar Tärnö Gin

nils oscar tarno gin

This is the first Swedish gin I’ve had the pleasure of tasting. And if all Swedish Gins are this interesting, it is a country whose gin culture I desperately need to spend more time getting acquainted with.

Jag Dricker Gin! Jag Kommer från New York City! [and that is the end of the Swedish I know. To all of my Swedish friends, please forgive me for this brief aside]

Experiencing Swedish Gin The nose has a floral and fruity hint, with just a hint of juniper.

The taste is a bit fruity, but with plenty of juniper. There’s a bit of citrus that hits you at first before making way for a earthy juniper punch. A bit of heat hits you, but quickly parts leaving the palette with a fresh juniper finish. Hints of a sweet fruitiness linger long after the sip. The fruity notes to me had a slight strawberry character.

The overall character was rather nicely balanced. While its profile seems to fit the contemporary style, it has one foot squarely in the classic camp. There’s a characteristic dryness and warmth to the juniper here that at times hints at London Dry, but it has enough unique fruity notes to differentiate itself.

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