The United States is far from a homogeneous nation. From region to region, we have as much divergence in culture, climate, and attitude as some entire continents. But yet, often I am asked, “Which gins are the most quintessentially American?,” or “What is the most American gin?”
While I will go on the record saying, “I’m not quite sure that such a thing as the Most American Gin exists,” I think it’s a worthwhile exercise to try and compile a list.
That being said, this list is my opinion/thoughts on which gins are the most quintessentially unique American gins. You’ll notice two things: this list doesn’t correspond with my ratings [if you want that, just sort by the highest rated, find the American ones and boom!]. Second, you’ll notice my rationale isn’t always [only sometimes] about the flavor.
I’ve also set myself a couple of ground rules: 1 gin per distillery. Even if a gin makes a couple of worthy entries to this chart, I’m holding myself to just one. Two, it has to be what could somewhat be considered craft. I know this is a loaded term, but I’m excluding names like Seagram’s and Fleischmann’s [among which those two might be the biggest American distilled gins] to focus on the smaller guys.
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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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