Bristow Gin is the baby of Mississippi’s Cathead Distillery. They’re best known for their eponymous Vodka and their signature Honeysuckle Vodka. Mississippi as a state is a mystery to me, and I seem to have made a habit of reviewing gins from the few states that I have never visited [as of right now? well there’s only Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska and Hawaii, but who’s counting, right?] so unfortunately when trying to picture Mississippi I’m left with a few basic impressions. For example, I picture everyone sipping this gin to be sitting around playing some Blues or some early Americana style music. Maybe a jug band, jamming on a humid afternoon, sipping tall gin and tonics. I’m not sure if this is my fantasy about what I think Mississippi is like, or this is my fantasy about wishing that I was playing 1920’s folk music out on the Bayou. Now on to the gin.
The nose is quiet and inviting. Warm and soft juniper predominates with a slight alcohol burn when you inhale deeply. At 47%, its perhaps in line with many other craft gins and a bit stronger than most imports.
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I like to downplay marketing as much as possible. I’m one of those people who like to believe that I buy absolutely nothing simply because I was marketed to. But there are sometimes that marketing is almost inseparable from the product. Sometimes this is a good thing: how can you have had Hendrick’s even once without noticing their expansive advertising campaign and overuse of the word Peculiar. Other times, and Ish’s case this can be a bad thing. The assaulting music that explodes through your speakers when you visit the website and the seemingly out-of-nowhere fetish oriented promotional shots (handcuffs anyone?) are almost off-putting to me. Clearly, I’m not their target demographic. Which is too bad- because behind all of the pomp and handcuffs. there’s actually a pretty decent gin inside.
Lots of pine and juniper on the taste. Rather sharp, but not too harsh. The Juniper gives way to a sharp orange note. Hints of a coriander on the nose and taste. The palate is remarkably traditional, and actually rather pleasant. The finish is bitter and a tad dry, with lingering hints that bring to mind comparisons to Myrtle Orange.
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I find that “sense of place” is among the most important things that affect the way people perceive something new. Considering that so many new microdistilled gins proudly advertise their place on the label; so many gins proudly source their botanicals locally [Waterloo Gin is no exception there], it makes sense that we’re not just talking about a drink: we’re talking about a drink and a place.
First, a Gin is In informal perception survey conducted on friends™
The other night my friends and I were enjoying some Adult Beverages™ containing everyone’s favorite [my favorite, and perhaps the only liquor that I have in quantities large enough to share at a party] liquor mixed with tonic. Because I’m a gin-geek, I love to ask people what they think of the gin. So, Waterloos and Tonic, all-around. My friends were positive, and they enjoyed it. I asked “where did you think it was from?” No one came up with Texas.
But once I told them it was from Texas, the characterization of the gin’s flavor changed:
G&T sipping friend A: I thought so, it tasted a bit ‘cactus-y’
G&T sipping friend B: I detected notes of ‘BBQ’
Of course this was all in good fun.
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