Previously on the Gin is In: We reviewed Smooth Ambler’s Greenbrier Gin. We were impressed with the mash base, its whiskey like notes complimented with a bold gin like profile. We found it delicious and notable.
Today on the Gin is In: We get the opportunity to try Smooth Ambler’s Barrel Aged Gin. Batch 1. Its an original edition. Volume 1, Edition 1. Aged 3 months in oak, will it live up to the expectations set by its predecessor? Will we be as impressed? Will the oak add anything.
Stay tuned, as we boldly venture forth to find out.
Opening the Bottle
Immediately on the nose I was struck by the warm notes of burnt sugar and caramel. In a cup though the gin like qualities open up a bit, revealing spruce and juniper, a mild sweetness and note of orange.
Tasting, it starts slow, building from a quiet beginning in an increasing build until the juniper and the oak almost hit you all at once on the back of the mouth almost a second after bringing it into your mouth. Tastes remarkably smooth for being 99 proof [49.5 %].
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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.
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As part of the “50 States of Gin” weekend we made two special visits to New York City area distillers who have developed their own versions of two variations on gin. The first is “Aged Gin” and we visited with Brad Estabrooke whose hopes to have an aged variation of his flagship Glorious Gin out soon. The second visit was with New York Distillery for a look at Navy Strength Gin.
Legal Department Here, thought we should point out that Gin is different from other spirits in that it is not permitted to talk about “age,” “years” or an “aging” process.
That is quite technically correct. In the strictest sense of the guidelines for gin, “age” is not considered an aspect of the spirit, and therefore how it is handled in terms of bottling, labeling, and selling is subject to a different level of scrutiny. So if anyone asks, when I say “Aged Gin” you tell the lawyers I’m saying “New Oak Flavored Gin.” Back to the show.
Oh and one more note, every gin will also get their own dedicated full review quite soon too.
Roundhouse Gin from Colorado. It was rather smooth, and was perhaps my favorite of the tasting.
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