Articles Tagged: United States

Gin Reviews

The Gin Wife Tries: Prairie Organic Gin

In a bar in Buffalo, I saw this tall bottle of gin sticking out from behind it’s vodka sibling. Prairie Organic Gin, from Ed Phillips & Sons. Claimed to be “made with respect,” it’s certified organic, with the history of the product and means of production detailed carefully on their website.

Okay, so you’re a rocket scientist organic, and you know what? That don’t impress me much. (Fine, Shania Twain I am not.) I appreciate the history, the nod towards local-ism and local business. Plants are fun and the environment is cool! But when it comes to alcohol, I am a bit cynical about the organic label.

My impression of organic aside, I knew that when I saw the gin, it was one that had not be tried and tested here before, so like any good partner would do, I bit the bullet and ordered a shot of it, neat. All in the name of science! I mean, gin reviews!

Prairie Gin is lower proof than regular gins – so I guess you can drink more of it. Okay, this actually results in a somewhat smoother experience. Straight up, you get some faint florals in the front, with a touch of juniper hovering in the middle, and mild astringency on the finish.

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Gin Reviews

Mohawk Gin

mohawk-gin-bottle

Perhaps you’re saying “not again, Aaron! another plastic bottle?”

I do not try to be biased in which gins I choose to reviews. Craft, rectified, or big-names. I aspire to give them all a fair shot. As in, I’ll let them stand on their own merits [or lack thereof]. I think that it’s important to sometimes go out and pick up some of these gins that I oft pass over, since in a world where despite gin’s ubiquity in cocktail menus across the nation, these inexpensive plastic bottles are what many people’s first taste of gin is. These gins are among the biggest sellers and most common gins in this country. And yet nary a word is written about them.

I’ve seen Mohawk Gin on the shelves of Buffalo area liquor stores growing up, and until a recent trip back, I hadn’t ever actually given it a try. Until Now.

In < 100 of our own words

Mohawk Gin is surprisingly part of a diverse portfolio of brands owned by Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc. It was acquired in 2007 as part of a vast array of products from Boisset [which include bigger names like Hypnotiq, Pama and Christian Brothers Brandy].

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Gin Reviews

Bulfinch 83 Gin

bullfinch gin bottle

Oh that hotbed of American distilling that is the American Northwest. Every time I look up from my cocktail, there’s a new one!

Wishkah River Distillery, named for the river of the same name just outside Aberdeen, probably rings a bell with Nirvana fans who remember the live album From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah. Heck, I’m not even a big Nirvana fan and that reference popped into my head. But two things about the name: Wishkah is Chehalis for “stinking water,” and this gin is neither muddy, nor stinking. So put what you know about the word behind you and let’s just focus on the gin. Because it’s quite good.

Background Details

Bulfinch gin is a gin in the “craft gin” tradition. The base spirit is their very own neutral grain spirit, distilled from Washington grains. Reminder that in Washington “Craft” is actually codified in law, meaning that more than 50% of the raw materials must have been grown in the state. So craft? Sure seems it. Let’s get down to the tasting.

Tasting Notes

The nose is bright, orange and lemon, citrus as well as juniper. A tinge of alcohol, but generally mild and very much in the spirit of gin.

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Gin Reviews

Seagram’s Pineapple Twisted Gin

Seagram's Pineapple Gin

Flavored Gin is a harsh sell among gins. Most of the time, the target market for these sort of things is looking for something which is purely the flavor on the bottle. This is where pineapple vodka comes in: it’s pineapple and not much else. But flavored gin is this completely different animal: we’ll give you your pineapple and give it some juniper at the same time.

It’s a bit limiting in terms of scope. You generally mix these outright. You don’t do a lot of cocktail work with them. They’re supposed to be fun and easy to drink. I’ve reviewed other gins from the Seagram’s line before, so I’m a little familiar with kind of the base expectations:

You can craft some cocktails around these gins and come up with some fairly good results. But they don’t really work too well in classic cocktails. Mixed drinks, sure, but cocktails no. So I won’t be overly negative and go into the reason why this makes a weird Negroni or less than stellar Aviation. Chances are, if you’re looking for a flavored gin, you’re not looking for something which does those things*.

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Gin Reviews

Wood’s Barrel Rested Treeline Gin

woods-aged-gin

Here we have another award winning gin from the state of Colorado. Wood’s Treeline Barrel Rested Gin took a silver earlier this year at the ADI’s craft spirits judging. I was on the panel, and I admit being rather impressed with this sample, although at the time I had no idea what gin it was [I did write in my notes, “never had this one before.” So of course, when the kind folks at Wood’s High Mountain Distillery offered to send me some samples of their gin, I was quite excited to give the gin a closer look in my test kitchen.

Firstly, the barrel rested gin is simply a barrel rested version of their main Treeline Gin offering in terms of botanicals. However, while the main offering is bottled at 40%, the barrel rested is bottled at 45% and therefore has a slight amount more kick. It has a pronounced, bronze/golden huge. Looks fairly darker than probably 2/3 of the aged gins out there, but nowhere near as dark as say Few’s.

What does it taste like? Nose is classic aged gin to me. Juniper, a hint of char. Woodsy, hints of cedar and smoky grain.

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Gin Reviews

Colorado Gold

colorado-gold-gin-768x1024

Sometimes I get a sample of a gin that hasn’t  actually crossed my radar at all. I hate to say it, but Colorado Gold? This is the rare gin that I hadn’t heard anything about before it ended up in front of me to taste. I’m not sure I can tell you any story about it other than that David was able to obtain me a sample while at the ADI Conference in Colorado this past Spring.

What I can say [and thanks to a little bit of internet research to back this up] is that Colorado Gold Gin is part of the illustrious tradition of Colorado distilling.

Local grain [✓] Local and sourced water [✓] Juniper [✓]

Something Local + Juniper = Colorado Gin, without exception.

Now I’m not a big believer in the “water thing,” in that water affects the final character of a beverage in a unique and distinct way. But I do like that for some places, like Colorado, water is an important part of life and the terroir culture. So of course, sourcing the water and using spring water is important to Coloradans and therefore should be part of their distilling culture*.

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Gin Reviews

Colorado Fog Gin

colorado-fog-gin-786x1024

We continue our journey through the state of Colorado to Mystic Mountain Distillery to try their flagship gin called Colorado Fog Gin.

Nose/Palate: A little bit of juniper and a little bit of alcohol. Immediately recognizable as a gin. Perhaps on the harsher side of the alcohol-on-the-nose spectrum, but not off-putting. A hair strong smelling for 80 proof.

The flavor is straightforward, but sedate. Begins with a flash of heat, the mid notes are where the flavor is. It’s juniper forward but backed off. It’s as if the loudest note is only being played at half strength. A bit piney, but it quickly backs off a bit giving way to a bit of earthy spice underneath the flavor. Hints of angelica and lime. Restrained, and not really trying to overpower the juniper notes. The finish is a bit hot, warm in the corners of the mouth with a slight juniper tinge. Very quiet juniper and very dialed back. In terms of drinking neat, there’s a lot of heat here and a harsh edge, but botanical wise it’s an exercise in restraint and balance.

Mixing With tonic, it still contributes a subtle, but even more dialed back gin like flavor.

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Gin Reviews

Rob’s MTN Gin

rob's mountain gin

Rob as in Rob’s MTN Gin and Rob Masters a.k.a. the head distiller over at Spring 44 [whose gins have been reviewed on this blog before]. Rob has had his hands on more than a couple gins and has been a mainstay on the Colorado Distilling scene for nearly a decade now.

Of course I’m not the one to introduce you to Rob. His story has been covered, so if you want to get to know the man behind the name of Rob’s MTN gin check out this piece from Denver Off the Wagon.

Now that you know the name. Let’s get down to the spirit, because in his own words on his very own website, “it’s all about what’s in the bottle.”

TSTNG the MTN: Bright juniper on the nose, mild alcohol nose. Citrus. Very balanced with an almost single scent nose. A homogeneous balanced blend of botanicals. Very nice, very inviting. I’m excited to taste the gin based on the nose alone.

The palate is bright and nice. Plenty of juniper, but well balanced within the context of other flavors and notes.

Walking you through the taste:

    subtle bright, juniper begins.

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Gin Reviews

Dancing Pines Gin

dancing-pines-bottle

Another stop on our Spring tour-de-Colorado distillery tour, Dancing Pines Distillery makes a wide array of spirits. Some of which if I were not a narrowly focused gin writer I would love to talk about. [The Black Walnut Bourbon Liqueur? guilty pleasure city….]

Dancing Pines distinguishes itself with a refreshingly narrow list of 6 botanicals.

Dancing with Dancing Pines Gin: A nice bright nose, juniper and lemon along with a tinge of sweet but pronounced alcohol. The lemon borders on super sweet towards the end of the nose [although still very subtle], almost going in an Uncle Val’s sort of direction. Very bright, and aromatic. Interesting balance, not quite sure if the nose belies a contemporary or classic style gin.

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Gin Reviews

Golden Moon Gin

golden-moon-gin-bottle

Our next stop on the Colorado Gin Trail is Golden Moon Distillery, located in the foothills of  the Rockies.

Normally I like to keep it about the gin. But to understand this gin we have to briefly talk about the distillery’s founder, Stephen Gould. Stephen has immersed himself in centuries worth of distilling experience. For some of his other products, they are the result of years worth of research into old recipes and his interpretations. So when we take a look at Golden Moon Gin, we can first observe the perspective and foundation of the distiller and the distillery*.

On to the Gin Indeed** The nose is somewhat malty, warm and grainy with a slightly floral note augmenting a powerful dose of mint. The floral note is a tad like lavender, and it adds some color to this warm, malty, and almost earthy touch that it has upon first inhale.

The taste actually begins somewhat more classically styled than the nose might otherwise hint at. Juniper and lemon nip at the corners of the mouth at first, but you feel a menthol coolness slowly starting to rise. That’s going to be the mint which is going to dominate the mid palate character of the drink.

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