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: local
We’ve reached a point in the Gin Renaissance where to merely point out that a Rye Distillery, a five hour drive north of Helsinki is now producing a Rye based barrel aged gin, and that fact alone doesn’t warrant quite the same level of remark.
All of these facts being true, the Kyrö Distillery Company took over a cheese factory in Isokyrö in 2014. Their gin(s)* take a little bit of local, including four botanicals foraged locally to give it that “little bit of Finland” feel. The gin is aged in “small barrels” for “enough time.” They’re aging their Rye in New American White Oak, so I can guess that might be their choice, but that’s not said for sure.
Stovell’s is an award winning restaurant in Chobham, England. and their Wildcrafted Eponymous gin is a partnership of bar manager Geyan Surendran and chefs Kristy and Fernando Stovell.
The concept is simple: local, foraged botanicals. A truly local gin. Nothing is in the gin which cannot and does not grow locally. The only exception to their provenance rule is the juniper, which they source from Croatia due to their concern for the local juniper populations, which are still threatened in the UK.
Among the botanicals, couple standout: both angelica root and seed (toasted) are used, as are red efflorescent clover blossoms.
Featuring a strong emphasis on local, from the base spirit (Red Winter Wheat) up through the botanical selection (and we quote “no tropical ingredients typically used in most gins”). Great Northern Distilling’s Herbalist Gin is evocative of what a Wisconsin distiller might have available to them. Taking two typical botanicals (juniper and coriander), the Great Northern team adds Rose Hips, lavender (the quintessential American botanical according to my friend David T. Smith) and Spruce Tips.
The first thing you’ll notice is just what a rich, luscious spirit this gin is. It has an oily and thick character that speaks to the quality of the canvas on which the team began their work, the nose bursts with lavender, creamy grain, and some aspects of juniper, though let it sit and it transcends the initial nose to become intensely floral, as musky, deep perfumed low notes from the rose and lavender rise to the fore.
Firstly, a special thanks to my friend Katie who picked me up this bottle during her recent trip to Australia! Thank you!
Botanic Australis in <100 Words
The name itself tells you what you need to know: this gin is a tribute to the flora of Australia.
Times change, and so do distillers’ equipment, techniques, botanicals and so on. A few friends of mine suggested that I take another look at Death’s Door Gin. Initially, back in those early days of the craft gin movement, I was less than impressed. But in those times, you took the good (yay, craft distilling!) with the bad (not so much my cup of tea).
Going into this re-review, I can tell you that this Death’s Door Gin shares a couple things in common with the previous version I had: the name [nope, hasn’t changed] and the botanical mix [same three ingredients]. But the flavor has changed, and because of that. I have to change my mind and admit that there just might be something here.
In our Own <100 Words
One of the earliest gins on the market to bandy about words that now seem like quotidian utterances, to which today’s gin drinkers nary bat a brow: organic and local. It also distinguished itself for the attention paid to its base spirit: a combination of local Washington Island wheat and malted barley from Chilton [yep. I had to look it up too].
In our own (<100) words
From the “Top O(f) the Hill,” —Chapel Hill, North Carolina that is, the folks behind Topo (get it? Top O’) Restaurant, Brewery and Distillery have a line of spirits which thus far has won a great deal of accolades. But where it counts is what’s actually in the spirits, and they’ve left no box unchecked on the craft gin scorecard. Local? Check. North Carolina Wheat. Organic? Yep, certified. Even the name Piedmont refers to the Carolina foothills, bringing us full circle.
Nose: Sweet and a bit floral. Ripe berry in the top notes, creamy vanilla in the mid-notes. Juniper as well and a touch of citrus and cream, reminiscent of lemon curd. Bright and welcoming.
Palate: Some of the citrus present at first, bright in the top notes. Creamy with a butter, flaky crust. Hints of spices, quickly giving way to the meat of the taste. Sharp, punchy juniper. Cardamom and other baking spices.
Another of the wonderful gins sent to me by David over at http://www.summerfruitcup.com/ was one gin in particular which I had wanted so very badly. 31 Botanicals! and 22 of which are native to the island of Islay. The Botanist comes to the bar with an impressive resume to begin with: It’s a limited run (only 15,000 bottles) , is very much a part of the “locally sourced” trend in food and drink (see: Death’s Door Gin), and it is distilled at the well known and respected Bruichladdich distillery in Islay which is best known for its whiskeys and the unique terroir that Hebrides brings to their creations. But now on to the Botanist. How does it stand up to the very crowded market of high-end gins with obscure botanicals?
Neat, it was complex. There was a lot going on in there, but almost so much that you couldn’t really say that “this was in there,” or it felt like “this kind of gin.” Sipping, it has a vaguely vegetable like flavor, but juniper stands out.
I have been excited to try this gin since the day I read that two gin distilleries were opening in Brooklyn, NY. The New Yorker in me was thrilled that a craft, seemingly regulated out of existence in urban areas, was coming back to the city I lived in.The gates opened this past spring, and a short couple of weeks ago I finally picked up a bottle.
The first thing I noticed was the lovely bottle complete with a classy wax-sealed top. Anxious to try, I grabbed a knife, slit the wax and poured myself a gin and tonic. The first thing that I noticed was the powerful scent of citrus. The bottled smelled noticeably more of citrus than many other gins I’ve tried – but it wasn’t just the smell, it was the components of the smell, and Brecuklen is the only gin I know of where grapefruit stands so boldly.
The grapefruit is hardly a secret, nor are any of the other botanicals in this gin. Brad Estabrooke, the distiller himself, told the Village Voice that in addition to juniper and lemon, rosemary and ginger are also in there.
Aaron’s Note: This was a very early batch of Death’s Door Gin. Some have told me that the formula since these early batches has changed significantly. This review is based on the bottle I bought back in early 2010 and reflects the product and batch I had at the time.
The Botanical Gin revolution is alive and well. I applaud it. Anything that gets people out and talking about gin, or better yet— experimenting boldly with gin is a good thing. Generally, I think a lot of good things have come out of these experiments. There are more delectable varieties of gin out today than I’ve ever seen before. But every now and then, I taste a gin that doesn’t work.
Death’s Door is another gin from the United States, made in Washington Island, Wisconsin (map here, because I didn’t know where that was either) entirely from native botanicals grown on the Island. The gin also fits into a larger picture of local farmers working to promote keep the agricultural community going and to show off the flavors of the great lakes region. This is all great stuff, and really exciting stuff.