Articles Tagged: Spain

Other Thoughts

Ginvent 2015

December 06, 2015 at 0103PM

Follow along with us this holiday season as we go through Drinks by the Dram’s 2015 Ginvent Calendar. You can follow along yourself at home by either picking up a calendar and either run ahead on your own by grabbing a copy of my latest book GIN: THE ART AND CRAFT OF THE ARTISAN REVIVAL (nearly all of the gins are featured in the book!) or staying tuned here for notes on the gins as we open them up alongside you.

For Ginvent, our rating system will be out of 5 ‘s and will instead be solely judging the spirit based on how it is on its own. Where we’ve done a more full review on the site, we’ll link to that as well.

Follow @aaronandtonic on Instragram or @theginisin on Twitter!

December 17th

Ferdinand Saar Quince Origin: Germany 30% ABV Quick Review: 

A cordial style gin that is absolutely exploding with good ideas! Riesling wine [check!]. Quince instead of Sloes [check!]. 30 botanicals! [check!] There’s just so many things happening that you can’t focus on what each of them does well. It’s an orchestra where everyone plays at once.

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Gin Reviews

Ginabelle Gin

Ginabelle Gin Bottle

Spain has a reputation for pushing the envelope with their gins. That doesn’t make them a style unto themselves (despite frequent efforts to try and force an entire national identity about gins crafted in a place), but it does mean that you can expect to find a few surprise in place. The inclusion of plums (outside of Sloe Gins) is a rarity, while Gorse might be slightly more common, but still a surprise to find the flowers of an evergreen shrub that has been declared an invasive species everywhere but its native range in Western Europe, in your gin.

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Gin Reviews

Larios 12 Botanicals Premium Gin

Spain - Larios 12 Botanicals Premium Gin

Recently, I was taken to task by an anonymous commenter. The gist was as followed: you’ve called several gins the “best selling gin in the world.” Yes, many are. Gordon’s () is one of the best selling gins in the English-speaking world, and the best-selling gin in the world in terms of overall numbers over the life of the brand. And then there’s Ginebra San Miguel (), which in turn (in terms of volume, units sold) is the best-selling gin in the world, in terms of year over year sales. And then we have Larios, owned by Beam Suntory, which is the best selling gin in Spain, and in terms of units, among the best selling gins in the world year over year. But this impression is of their upscale offering featuring 12 botanicals.

This was going to end up in the forthcoming book (!), but due to some complications it ended up not making it in. So Instead, we’ll take a look at it here.

Impressions

The nose is bright and awash with orange blossoms and coriander. Quite nice, very inviting, and decidedly contemporary.

The palate is still bright with lots of citrus: a melange of tangelo, orange, and particularly Minneola.

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Gin Reviews

Giró Gin

Giró Gin

Spanish Gin is perhaps slightly undercovered here on The Gin is In. So special thanks goes to David, my chum over at Summer Fruit Cup who scored me a couple Spanish gin samples. A lot of the Spanish gins I’ve covered in the past have been really out there: some green, some purple, some flavored with eccentric botanicals. But instead, today we have a Spanish gin who predates the contemporary gin revolution by no small amount. Giró Gin has been around since 1930, and it has a much more illustrious history when compared to other Spanish gins we’ve covered. And at a relatively inexpensive price of $13/L, this is truly a people’s gin if there was one.

Tasting Notes

The nose is strong, a good deal of ethanol, but with a faint, and quite pleasant notes of juniper and orange behind it. A bit harsh, but quite gin like, and not all too different from many inexpensive gins.

The palate is a bit stronger and colors in the notes of the nose vividly. Juniper at first, a rich earthy middle with coriander, angelica, and then suddenly and boldly a really quite surprising finish.

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Gin Reviews

Entropia Gin

Entropia Gin

Image from http://eladerezo.hola.com/

We have another bold colored gin from the Galicia region of Spain. Entropia’s golden color isn’t from aging, its actually from the post-distillation infusion of the two botanicals most prominently called out on the bottle. Guarana and Ginseng. I know, it’s hard to not think “energy drink” considering I’ve seen those two ingredients prominently called out on the labels of everything from Sobe to Vitamin Water over the last decade.

Ginseng is often considered a natural boost for one’s mental acuity, sexual drive, or mood, science thus far has only been able to find weak evidence to associate it with boosting one’s immune system. Not exactly unabashed support, yet some claim to experience these benefits.

Guarana has been associated with a whole host of supposed boosts, everything from weight loss, to mental sharpness, to sexual stamina and really everything in between. Science remains unconvinced.

But we’re not here to try the botanicals’ medical properties. We’re here to try their flavor. And on that matter we feel like we’re qualified to pass judgement.

Tasting Notes

Entropia Gin has a golden color, similar to that of a lager. It has the hue of bright hay or goldenrod.

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Gin Reviews

Dry Gin 19

19 Flors Dry Gin

When I talk about Spain as the “bold frontier” of gin, you’ve got to understand: I’m not kidding. From the nation that brought you “purple gin” (COOL Gin ), we now have a “green gin.”

The color is usually indicative of flavors added post-distillation. Though, this hue in particular doesn’t seem reminiscent of a bathtub style. It is genuinely odd: a bright, somewhat mint or lime Jolly Rancher shade. I’d guess that whatever was added is only a small portion of the overall list of botanicals: all 19 of them. Only a small list are available: Angelica, Cardamom, florence lily,  Cilantro,  cinchona, star anise, nutmeg,  cinnamon,  cálamos,  Lemon, Black Tea, Chammomile, licorice. A couple possibilities exist but none readily come to mind as to what may have given this its shade.

Tasting Notes:

Firstly, the color: pale mint, somewhat fake lime, dilute food coloring. A washed out grass color. Very hard to place, it probably most resembles the color of broccoli leaves to me.

Nose: Surprisingly, juniper and alcohol. Very straightforward gin nose.

Palate: Rather subtle, not quite overwhelming. Juniper and a touch of citrus early, herbs, and floral notes come on the mid and finish,subtle in the back of the throat and edges of the palate.

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Gin Reviews

Jodhpur Gin

Jodhpur Gin

Jodhpur Gin in the Bottle.

Jodhpur gin is an interesting specimen.  It is made in the UK, most likely at Langley according to my friend David. Secondly, the inspiration for the gin was the city in India. And finally, it’s a gin made for the Spanish market [at least if the entirely in Spanish twitter, facebook and the Gin Tonica focused instagram site is any indication].

But so what if it’s an India inspired, UK distilled gin for the Spanish market. How does it taste?

The (Old) Taste of India 

No, not the song, the city. Frankly, when I hear a gin is inspired by a city in India, I begin to think literally: cardamom, coriander, exotic pungent spices. But what often is forgotten in these literal recollections is that classic London Dry gin was often enjoyed in India. So rather than India being an inspiration for modern contemporary style gins, India conversely can be used as an inspiration for classic traditional styles. Just if you take that inspiration a different way….

The gin has a nice nose, gentle juniper and a touch of citrus. Warm, freshly ground coriander on the edges too.

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Tonic Water

1724 Tonic Water

1724 tonic

I loved Tonic Water. Almost as much as I love gin. Only almost.

And for a man who loves tonic water, one of the saddest parties that I feel like I’m missing out on is the Tonic explosion of Europe, Spain in particular. A beverage which here in the states most are willing to accept as a plastic bottles, saccharine sweet and pretty much absent of any bitterness, is seeing a vast expansion overseas of artisan care, attention to ingredients and importantly, how the end result mixes with vodka, other spirits, but most importantly gin. Of course when the fine folks who distribute 1724 offered to send me a sample, I graciously accepted. And have since been at work diligently putting it to work with my vast stocks of gin. So how is 1724 tonic? Can it live up to the hype?

Tasting Notes

Starts very clean, crisp and refreshing almost nothing: a touch of effervescence. Nice character because this is exactly where your gin shines brightest. It really allows a gin to come through strongly on the first taste, and the tonic comes in second, mellowing and offsetting: the sweetness builds in the middle.

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Gin Reviews

Blanc Ocean Gin

blancginbottle

Picture courtesy of SummerFruitCup.com

Spain, once again you surprise us. Pushing the boundaries of what gin can be. Using ingredients that few ever thought of using in gin. Yes, Blanc Gin is the gin probably better known among the gin community as the “seaweed” gin, owing to its one rather unique botanical–

–well I should break in here. The list isn’t what you’d consider a standard list. A few surprising names appear on it. Bergamot, Lemon and Verbena, and three different kinds of citrus, including Key Lime. Different, but none of these botanicals get top billing, so although we’ll be tasting them later, this IS the seaweed gin–

The Nose and the Palate of Blanc Interesting at very first scent. A bit of orange, but the distinct aroma of dark cocoa. The nose reminds me a lot of orange chocolate, the Easter candy. Not much juniper on the nose, and definitely not much to tell you this isn’t a chocolate vodka. Wow, not gin like at all.

Citrus at front, with a bright burst of cocoa. Rich, chocolaty, a little bit of burn, and a hint of juniper. Some earthy notes more towards the finish, a little bit of bitters punch from the gentian/angelica and rich creamy orange chocolate again on the finish.

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