Articles Tagged: Wisconsin

Gin Reviews

Herbalist Gin

Herbalist Gin

Featuring a strong emphasis on local, from the base spirit (Red Winter Wheat) up through the botanical selection (and we quote “no tropical ingredients typically used in most gins”). Great Northern Distilling’s Herbalist Gin is evocative of what a Wisconsin distiller might have available to them. Taking two typical botanicals (juniper and coriander), the Great Northern team adds Rose Hips, lavender (the quintessential American botanical according to my friend David T. Smith) and Spruce Tips.

Tasting Notes

The first thing you’ll notice is just what a rich, luscious spirit this gin is. It has an oily and thick character that speaks to the quality of the canvas on which the team began their work, the nose bursts with lavender, creamy grain, and some aspects of juniper, though let it sit and it transcends the initial nose to become intensely floral, as musky, deep perfumed low notes from the rose and lavender rise to the fore.

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Gin Reviews

Death’s Door Gin (2013)

deaths-door-2013

Times change, and so do distillers’ equipment, techniques, botanicals and so on. A few friends of mine suggested that I take another look at Death’s Door Gin. Initially, back in those early days of the craft gin movement, I was less than impressed. But in those times, you took the good (yay, craft distilling!) with the bad (not so much my cup of tea).

Going into this re-review, I can tell you that this Death’s Door Gin shares a couple things in common with the previous version I had: the name [nope, hasn’t changed] and the botanical mix [same three ingredients]. But the flavor has changed, and because of that. I have to change my mind and admit that there just might be something here.

In our Own <100 Words

One of the earliest gins on the market to bandy about words that now seem like quotidian utterances, to which today’s gin drinkers nary bat a brow: organic and local. It also distinguished itself for the attention paid to its base spirit: a combination of local Washington Island wheat and malted barley from Chilton [yep. I had to look it up too].

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Gin Reviews

Rehorst Gin

rehorst-gin-bottle

These days when you say a gin is “unusual,” you walk on the precipice of invoking other large brands’ marketing material. There’s a brand in Spain which has tried to trademark the word Premium. The word unusual is seemingly trademarked when it comes to gin by other brands. And yet, when I say something is unusual, I don’t mean that it reminds me of another large brand. I simply mean that it does something memorable and different without a wildly divergent profile. In that sense, the non-italicized version of the word ‘unusual,’ Rehorst Gin is unusual.

It starts with a relatively classic set of base botanicals. But then it adds two notes, which Great Lakes Distillery claims have “never [been] found in any Gin before.”

Sweet Basil Wisconin Ginseng

When I initially talked about that unusual flavor profile that immediately strikes you upon first taste is indeed sweet basil. There’s a note which reminds me of the smell of the kitchen when my father used to make spaghetti sauce as a child.

The nose is a bit citrusy, a hint of juniper and a little bit of alcohol vapor burn right there.

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Cocktails

50 States of Gin: The Winners of Each Round

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.

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Gin Reviews

Death’s Door Gin

deaths-door-gin

Aaron’s Note: This was a very early batch of Death’s Door Gin. Some have told me that the formula since these early batches has changed significantly. This review is based on the bottle I bought back in early 2010 and reflects the product and batch I had at the time. 

The Botanical Gin revolution is alive and well. I applaud it. Anything that gets people out and talking about gin, or better yet— experimenting boldly with gin is a good thing. Generally, I think a lot of good things have come out of these experiments. There are more delectable varieties of gin out today than I’ve ever seen before. But every now and then, I taste a gin that doesn’t work.

Death’s Door is another gin from the United States, made in Washington Island, Wisconsin (map here, because I didn’t know where that was either) entirely from native botanicals grown on the Island. The gin also fits into a larger picture of local farmers working to promote keep the agricultural community going and to show off the flavors of the great lakes region. This is all great stuff, and really exciting stuff.

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