Aside from being my favorite piece of punctuation (sorry octothorpe!), Ampersand is also the name of a family-founded distillery, which opened doors in 2014 on a farm in British Columbia. On their custom built equipment, father and son Jeremy and Stephen Schacht use their engineering background and local grown wheat to design their craft gin. Not much is shared about what is in their gin, other than the aforementioned wheat base spirit and some classic botanicals like juniper, coriander, angelica, lemon and orris root.
Articles Tagged: grain to glass
I’d say more distillers are willing to be highly transparent about their botanical bill than their grain bill. The team at One Eight Distilling doesn’t publicly disclose much of their botanicals, but they will be even more specific than you might expect about their grains. This is interesting, as one of the major contentions of the Craft Spirits movement is that “grain to glass” is the only thing which should qualify as craft*.
We were quite a fan of Genius Liquids’ Genius Gin when we tried it last year. We also got a bottle of their Navy Strength variety, so this is a long overdue look at that gin. It shares a lot in common with the 45% variety, so for details on Genius Liquids’ unique process we suggest checking out last summer’s review of Genius Gin ().
Lavender, resiny, woody juniper and a hint of grain grace the nose, which has a distinct, warming impression. It seems slightly less vivid than their 45% offering; however, it shares the same inviting character.
The palate is loud and quite warm, and although this is as a Navy Strength Gin should be, it strikes me as less over-emphasizing the high proof than some other Navy Strength gins do.
Abernathy Gin in <100 Words
The Tenn South Distillery hails from the town Lynnville (pop. 287 as of 2010). The town motto is “striving to be the best small town in America.” Within that tradition, Tenn South Distillery harvests local Giles County white corn and does everything on site in their distillery. All of their spirits are “grain-to-glass,” and are distilled in their Vendome Copper Pot still. The gin is vapor infused with a blend of nine botanicals and is designed from the ground up to be a contemporary styled gin with Southern touches such as the addition of Pecan.
From the distilling hotbed of the Pacific Northwest, Endeavour Gin comes from the Liberty Distillery on Granville Island in Vancouver. Founded in 2010, it took four long years before the still was running and the spirits were pouring. Their gin is built on a base of local wheat, completely triple distilled on site on their copper stills and diluted with local water. Keeping with the spirit of local, their gin uses vapor infusion and twelve carefully selected botanicals on that same copper pot still.
The folks at the Liberty Distillery have been quite experimental with gin since their opening. They also have an Old Tom and a West Coast riff on traditional gin featuring 25 local botanicals. Hopefully we can get our hands on one of those soon, but for now here’s our impressions of their primary gin offering.
The nose is warm, slightly floral with a some grassy, wheat lined underpinnings. Floral strawberry and lemon notes on the nose, honeysuckle, spring pollen, and a hint of licorice. The palate is rich, with red grapefruit, black peppercorns, and a licorice. Juniper comes on strongly mid-palate with still a bit more citrus.
I’ve lived the quintessential East Coast dream on at least a couple of occasions. To point a car West and to to head towards the other coast, stopping at all of the incredible go-between and pass-throughs along America’s state highways, and religiously avoiding the interstate when at all possible. For me, Galena, Illinois holds a unique place for me. Along US 20, it’s the gateway in my mind, that breaking point between the dense urbanity and never-too-far-from civilization feel of the East/Great Lakes and the wide-open expanses of the middle. It’s the beginning of the “everything else.” So each time I’ve driven west, I’ve stopped in Galena’s historic downtown, walked along the Galena river, and Paused.
Galena is home to Blaum Brothers Distilling Company. Located right along the aforementioned US 20, two brothers have been designing spirits from the ground up since 2013. The grains are sourced locally, distilled on their handmade copper still. They have an as-yet-released Rye and Bourbon in the works, but as for now they have vodka, moonshine, and gin out on the market. The gin is based on a small number of botanicals, each distilled individually with their wheat/rye base spirit, before being blended to create the final product.
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.
There’s a warm grainy quality noticeable immediately on the nose.
Genius Gin is distilled in Austin Texas, which is quickly showing signs of becoming a distilling hotbed, and somewhat surprisingly to me, a hotbed for craft gin.
In our own (<100) words
Built Grain to glass with a local emphasis, Genius Gin is designed in part for the cocktail resurgence, but also with an eye towards a good gin which can be drank neat. Unabashedly contemporary in construction, it uses a “hot and cold” process to bring out the best in its botanicals. Half are infused at room temperature for 3 days, removed, and then that liquid is distilled with the remaining botanicals in a gin basket.
Sweet spice on top, a tad malty, grainy and bright, Zesty. Mid notes reveal more traditional gin profile, with lemon zest and just a touch of ethanol.
The palate reveals a pleasant, but never overwhelming warmth. Lime and citrus on top of the palate, but that fades nearly as quickly as it came on. The palate is dominated by sweet spicy notes: subdued rose, juniper, floral qualities, which crystallize more clearly on the finish. Hints of grass, a good deal of caradmom, citrus, lime and lavender.