From the Boreal Plains comes Boreal Gin, from Duluth’s Vikre Distillery. The team at Vikre sought to capture something truly Minnesotan in culture and heritage with their line of gins. I spoke with Emily Vikre in my most recent book Gin: The Art and Craft of the Artisan Revival (available now!), so check out the book to learn more about the genesis of their distillery, their gins, and why Minnesota.
Vikre’s gins are made on a base of 100% Malted Barley, and though distilled several times so that the taste itself is clean, there’s a certain sweetness/heaviness that belies the team’s choice in base spirit. With Smoked Cedar, Sumac and Currant, their Boreal Cedar Gin might be the one that most jumps off the beaten path.
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Naturally, when there’s 30+ gins to be tasted it cannot be done all at once. As much as we’d like to try, to do a proper tasting our livers and mental capacities just couldn’t take it. So in order to give every gin a proper tasting and a fair shot, we spread it out into 6 mini tastings over the course of a long day. So as promised, here’s a recap of what we tasted side by side and with what– and I’ll share with you my top two from each heat.
For full gin reviews of every gin covered in the 50 States of Gin tasting, you’ll have to stay tuned to the Gin is In this fall. If my first post was the 10 miles high overview, this is the one from 50,000 feet. The full reviews will be on the ground: up close and personal.
Heat #1 ///
The Participants: Dogfish Head Jin from Delaware [the nation’s first state, I’m sure you see where we’re going with this], Pennsylvania’s Bluecoat Gin, Southern Gin from Georgia, Gale Force Gin from Masscahussetts and finally, New Hampshire’s Karner Blue gin.
Overall a strong opening.
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“Organic,” for a while I thought was going to be the next BIG thing in spirits. It seemed all at once that vodkas and gins were appearing on the shelf at my local liquor store advertising that the botanicals, the base, everything was organic. So slowly, it seemed an inevitability that the USDA label would start appearing on liquor bottles, proclaiming (legally) that at least 95% of this beverage’s components were produced in accordance with USDA’s guidelines for calling something organic.
Well, I won’t turn this into a referendum on the “organic” label, nor on the USDA’s guidelines. Let’s get to the gin. Straight out of Minnesota, brought to use from the same people that make Crop Vodka [side note, better known as the folks who make the cucumber and the tomato vodka], we have Farmer’s Botanical Organic Gin.
Getting down to business
The scent is a little bit juniper and the faintest bit floral, with more than a little bit of alcohol burn. We are dealing with 93.4 proof gin here, so this is to be expected.
The tasting is where the array of flavors in Farmer’s gin begin to reveal themselves.
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