The concept behind Tamworth Distilling’s Apiary Gin is bees (truth in names). The spirit is flavored with locally, foraged, poplar and red clover, and then sweetened with local, New Hampshire raw honey.
Articles Tagged: Limited Edition
Follow along with us this holiday season as we go through Drinks by the Dram’s 2015 Ginvent Calendar. You can follow along yourself at home by either picking up a calendar and either run ahead on your own by grabbing a copy of my latest book GIN: THE ART AND CRAFT OF THE ARTISAN REVIVAL (nearly all of the gins are featured in the book!) or staying tuned here for notes on the gins as we open them up alongside you.
For Ginvent, our rating system will be out of 5 ‘s and will instead be solely judging the spirit based on how it is on its own. Where we’ve done a more full review on the site, we’ll link to that as well.
Ferdinand Saar Quince Origin: Germany 30% ABV Quick Review:
A cordial style gin that is absolutely exploding with good ideas! Riesling wine [check!]. Quince instead of Sloes [check!]. 30 botanicals! [check!] There’s just so many things happening that you can’t focus on what each of them does well. It’s an orchestra where everyone plays at once.
This limited edition Advent Calendar treat is brought to you through a partnership of the outstanding Southwestern Distillery and the folks at Gin Foundry. This exclusive run of only 250 bottles begins with the same 12 botanicals underlying their Tarquin’s Cornish Gin.
The Hedgerow Gin is a tribute to the 30,000 miles of its namesake which spread across the countryside, and play host to many herbs, flowers and weeds, which are familiar to the gin drinker: thistle? rose? sloes? Hedgerows were often a source of autumn fruit for residents of the British countryside. You can see evidence of this in the long tradition of Sloes [harvested after frost, mind you] and their addition to the world of gin.
Cocktail Historians [yes that’s a thing, apparently] have long been seeking out the origins of the drink we call “gin.”
The criteria for something to be a proto-gin are vague, though it is generally thought to be some combination of the below:
Distilled is important because gin is a spirit, and it represents a departure from the decoctions and juniper berry flavored beers and wines that were fairly common from the medieval era forward.
Grain based was important because it sought to represent a shift from the brandies, distilled wines, Steinhagers, Schnapps, and other spirits of the time which used juniper in other ways.
And finally, recreational was important because distilled juniper berry waters were once quite common, and although prone to abuse they were designed to be drank as medicine. Yes. people used their medicine for recreation, but the step towards gin was the intentionality of distilled a spirit strictly for enjoyment, with no pretense.
The 1495 Story in < 100 Words
Buried in the Sloane Manuscripts, Phillip Duff discovered the recipe calling for a mixture of several exotic spices and the word gorsbeyn, which depending on your translation could mean “frog” or it could be a corruption of the word for “juniper.” Assuming this is a correct reading of the word on the page, there’s no mistaking based on context that this wasn’t a medicine.
The distillers at Long Table Distillery [among Vancouver’s first btw] take their classic London Dry Gin and age it in 30L oak barrels, formerly used to hold Bourbon. Their Bourbon Barrel Aged Gin is a limited edition spirit, with a pleasing goldenrod hue to it. It. Alike their other gins, this one rests on a foundation of botanicals from wild and other sources around the world, and has been distilled on their 300 L copper pot still.
Lemon and white grapefruit zest on the nose, with buttery, wood laden notes just underneath. Cinnamon toast notes of butter, cinnamon sugar and even caramel. Really melds some of the olfactory character of both bourbon and gin. A lot to like here.
The spirit itself has a nice viscosity, and the aromatic character evolves steadily and gently on the palate. There’s also a heaviness to it that’s quite nice. Twisted lemon zests, crisp oak, flaky pastry and silky vanilla notes. Pine-laden juniper comes on toward the finish along with a touch of fennel. The finish is medium in length with a nice warmth, accompanied by a late hint of mintiness and anethole.
Quite nice on its own, it shows a lot of promise as a mixer.
My good friend and buddy David T. Smith recently hooked me up with a few minis/samples from his extensive collection when I was in London last month. One of those gaps in my gin notes was the Beefeater London Market variation, released right around the time Beefeater Winter and Beefeater Summer (warning, one of my earliest reviews on this site: ).
I realize this gin is probably quite difficult to find, as it was a limited edition, and it came out a couple of years ago. Sorry for being a few years late to the party.
In <100 Words
Part of a series of gins put out by Beefeater just as the gin renaissance was exploding, London Market adds Cardamom, Pomegranate Seeds, Kaffir/Makrut Lime leaves to the standard beefeater set of botanicals. Released in 2011 in European markets, it is no longer being produced or widely available.
The nose has a little bit of a floral lilt in the high notes, with lime coming through clearly, then lemon and orange, with a tinge of citric acid. Strong nose that ends on a more classic note. The palate is tart and citrus dominated, with a lemon/lime zest sharpness, likely given a sharper character by the addition of pomegranate which seems to fade into the background.
White wine, meet red.
Earlier we reviewed No. 209’s Savignon Blanc Barrel Reserve Gin, and we were quite a fan of its novel take on Aged Gin. This is the red wine version of that same gin, this time rested in Cabernet Sauvignon Barrels.
Its color is a rich deep shade of golden brown, close to an almond shell. It is much darker than the Sauvignon Blanc for comparison.
A very interesting and quite unique nose for a gin, lots happening here.
First cardamom, and then Madeira and Sherry. There’s a bit of that similar lemon and citrus rind note from the Blanc version, but the gin notes seem a little more in the background here. Less juniper initially, and unlike other aged gins, a mild nose that doesn’t assault you with oak and overt signs of aging.
The palate is complex as well: oily citrus and cassia initially. A robust full bodied middle, with juniper, pepper, baking spices and a bit of heat. The finish is somewhat oaky, but largely Sherry, with oxidized fruit, grapes, apple. Very smooth the whole way through. Complex and thoroughly enjoyable neat.
Sometimes I get so caught in this craft thing that I miss – well not quite miss- but fall behind on reviewing the gin that is the Zeitgeist. The gin de la moment. Tanqueray Malacca was hot news in late 2012-early 2013. Tanqueray brought back from the dead a gin which sold like ice to Eskimos a decade back. But I suppose now, as a gin drinking public, we’re more open minded to the idea that a gin- even a gin from a big name like Tanqueray- can lead with notes other than juniper.
Citrus on the nose at first. This certainly can’t be from Tanqueray, can it? Definitely doesn’t echo any of the other trademarks of the Tanqueray brand. Not a lot of juniper. Zesty, citrusy and bright. Lime and grapefruit predominantly.
The taste is robust but smooth. Citrus up front again, a tad bit of acidic tang. Lemon, and Grapefruit. The middle we get some baking spices, Cinnamon in the middle. The finish is perhaps the shining moment for this gin, you get a tad bit of juniper and a long creamy finish with notes of creme anglaise, specifically warm creamy vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.
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!
The Story 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.
Tasting 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].
I’ve been into this before, but I think it bears repeating: if a gin has a white whiskey as it base, and then that gin is aged, is the end product really a gin anymore?
Fortunately for us, Few Spirits has forced the issue for us and this question no longer dwells in the realm of the philosophical, the hypothetical or the theoretical. Its quire real: Few Barrel Aged Gin.
At First Taste you might mistake this barrel aged gin for a Genever, and although you’re technically incorrect, you wouldn’t be far off in perception. Okay, so Genever has a malt base, this gin doesn’t. But the flavor profile that is created is not far off. It has the rich lows of a good Genever. A rich woody character permeates the base. You can pick up the earthiness of the base here, but its in the way that the taste builds that Few Barrel Aged Gin really differentiates itself from Genever and even some other barrel aged gins.
There’s a certain spicy sweetness evident here, warm Christmas notes: Cloves, [a good gin-tasting friend of mine pointed out Gingerbread, and I think he may be right], and a faint note of burnt sugar.