The Walter Collective (like many collectives it starts with a statement of purpose) says that contemporary gins can be so out there that there barely recognizable as gin; classic gins can be one-dimensional and overwhelming in their single focus.
Articles Tagged: Oregon
The popularity of so-called Genever-like gins, especially stateside isn’t something new as much as it is the pendulum of fashion swinging back in the opposite direction. These gins, which might be more aptly described as Holland style (or Holland style inspired?) are usually pot distilled (rather than column distilled), and the spirit itself is designed to have a malty-grain like character (sound familiar?).
Bull Run Distilling Co. has been making spirits since 2010, giving them a bit of seniority on the craft gin scene. The distillery is named for the watershed where the city of Portland, Oregon gets their drinking water, meaning that true to the gin’s name— there is a bit of Portland in this bottle. A mix of 10 botanicals, stated clearly on the bottle, Aria opts for a more traditional spin on Northwest gin, built on a base of 100% grain spirit and bottled at a pleasantly strong 45% ABV.
On the nose, pine-fresh juniper, with citrus and coriander playfully occupying supporting roles. There’s even a slight, warm hint of pepper in the low notes. The nose is classic in character, with a bright, nicely balanced freshness. I’d say it’s more Beefeater in its approach than it is Gordon’s (); however, classic and inviting all the same.
The palate is rife with fresh juniper, leaning towards the pine/green type of notes. Cardamom jumps out as a mid-palate background, lending some character but not stealing any thunder; citrusy coriander comes on late with a hint of pepper and orange zest.
We should get it out of the way by way of introduction. This is probably one of my favorite gin labels out there.
Flooded Fox Den Distillery is located outside Portland, Oregon in Forest Grove and is designed with the quintessential “craft” ethos of “small batch” and “natural” with no added colorings or sweeteners. Alike many before him, Scot Lester came to the world of distilling via brewing. Once a brewing hobbyist, now a part-time distiller. His first product, the aforementioned gin hit the market in 2014 with a Rum launching early this year as well.
Spice and citrus on the nose: coriander, cardamom, grapefruit and lemon peel with lavender coming through as well. Nicely blended with no ingredient rising too far above the other; the aroma is harmonious and inviting.
The warm spice hits up front. Cardamom leads into a creamy, slightly floral mid-body. Lavender, turning into orris; there’s lemon rind, coriander and cardamom. The overall mouthfeel is rich and the spirit is most definitely warming. A nice gin that you would probably characterize as floral; however, there’s moments where it seems slightly more spice forward; and other moments where you detect the juniper peaking through from a tuft of lavender, just enough to be there and add a bit of a gin-like heft to it.
Compound Gin is the name given to gins in which the botanicals are added after distillation. These gins have a perhaps unfair reputation as being “cheap,” “low-quality” and “inferior.” This reputation has come from the myriad of store brands, local one-offs and bottom shelf compound gins which have sullied the concept.
Now it is true, I won’t deny it. Compound gins are cheaper to make, and therefore that is why so many bottom shelf gins make their gin this way. But Bendistillery causes us to question this. When a craft distillery takes the time to do it right, why can’t a compound gin be something better than ‘acceptable.’ can it indeed be good?
First thing to note, Crater Lake Gin clearly has a slight golden hue [almost that of a light white wine] largely owing to the botanical infusion.
Enter The Compound The nose is a little bit harsh. A vivid note of alcohol burn and a hint of mild fresh juniper.
The taste is one that I find rather pleasing though. True, there is a bit or harshness there. At 95 Proof, its not to say that the harsh edge is disingenuous, I’d only go as far as saying that it tastes noticeably harsher than other gins at this similar proof point.
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.