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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Karner Blue Gin is the flagship gin of New Hampshire’s only in-state distillery at Flag Hill Winery in Lee, only a relatively short drive from the oft traveled I-95 as it hugs along the coast of the state. Flag Hill Winery was founded in 1990 and has been distilling spirits using local ingredients since 2004. Probably best known for their General John Stark vodka, they launched Karner Blue gin in Fall 2011. I had heard good things, so during my brief sojourn up to Maine last month, I made a point of stopping at the state liquor store just off I-95 to pick up a bottle for myself.
A little background on the Spirit
Karner Blue is the first gin I’ve reviewed which uses apples as the base instead of grain. Locally grown apples add a unique local note to this contemporary styled gin. Among the botanicals there are a couple of unique points of difference from most gins. Joining the classic juniper, citrus and orris root, are savory and cubab berries.
But the question that is still on your mind, what is Karner Blue? You might be ready for Jeopardy if you knew off the top of your head that the butterfly adorning the front of the bottle wasn’t just a novel decoration, but instead the state butterfly of New Hampshire: the Karner Blue Butterfly.The Karner Blue butterfly is threatened in its natural range in New Hampshire, Vermont and Upstate New York, but fortunatly conservation efforts have been successful at maintaining the Karner Blue’s numbers in recent years.
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