Michigan’s Round Barn Distillery is also a winery and brewery. Something that’s more often seen at winery/distilleries than those without the former is the use of grape as a base spirit. Gin 269 begins from the same base spirit as their Divine Vodka,
269 Gin is distilled in an 80 gallon German copper pot brandy still and uses a gin basket for the botanicals which include traditional ingredients such as orange, cinnamon, angelica and coriander.
The nose is a bit harsh at first, hints of grape pomace spirit and cinnamon candy with terpy hints of resiny, waxy juniper. 269 Gin is slightly suggestive of an eau de vie at first. The botanicals are rather quiet, which is altogether more surprising given some of the big, bold ingredients in here.
The palate of 269 Gin has a really nice balance. Though the ingredients don’t leap forward on the nose, there’s a lot of character here.
Cinnamon, ginger and spiced orange notes come on early. Bitter orange then mid-palate. Hints of Indian cooking spice and warm holiday baking spice poke through later on the palate. Cinnamon seems slightly louder than the others. It’s more an accord than a single spice note here.
Waxy juniper adds some traditional gin character late.
269 Gin has a fairly long finish. Light in intensity, notes of fennel stalk and dried juniper linger delicately.
269 Gin is not traditional, but the restraint in those ingredients especially on the palate lend it nicely to mixed drinks. It’s especially good with fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme. Try it in a Spanish style Gin Tonica garnished with fresh lemon thyme. Or create a simple syrup with fresh herbs and use that for an Herbal Tom Collins.
Again, although not traditional, bartenders don’t need to be as shy about using 269 Gin. It doesn’t overpower to the point where it needs to be avoided. In some drinks it might read as more herbal or more spice than juniper; however, the restraint makes 269 Gin versatile.
Overall, 269 Gin
While the nose of 269 Gin doesn’t do a lot for me, I find the palate to be quite nice. As a mixing gin, it’s an understated and contemporary. While classic gin fans will find it a bit light on the juniper, all gin drinkers will find it balanced and on the subtle side.