The Tenn South Distillery, creators of Abernathy Gin, hails from the town Lynnville* (pop. 287 as of 2010). The town motto is “striving to be the best small town in America.” Within that tradition, Tenn South Distillery harvests local Giles County white corn and does everything on site in their distillery. All of their spirits are “grain-to-glass,” and are distilled in their Vendome Copper Pot still. The gin is vapor infused with a blend of nine botanicals and is designed from the ground up to be a contemporary styled gin with Southern touches such as the addition of Pecan.
The nose comes on immediately, with dry, toasted coriander seed, faintly nutty background notes [the pecan coming through, no?]. Not a ton of juniper. Certainly contemporary styled. The nose is dry, but not dry in the way that you might normally think of when you hear that word associated with gin. Although a touch citrusy, the coriander leads the day in terms of the aroma.
The palate of Abernathy Gin leads with a floral/fruity character, with a strong linalool aroma. In other words, lots of coriander, lemon/orange peels segue into a lemony raspberry sweetness on the late-mid palate. There’s a brief herbaceous flash of juniper, but the finish is more about the taste of sweet, spiced nuts. The finish is loud for only a short period; but it is quite long if you pay attention to the subtle build and evolution of nutty, citrus laden notes and a refreshing warmth. There’s perceptible changes on the palate even 20 seconds out, giving it a lovely evolving personality.
The quintessential Gin and Tonic is a necessity. For this one though we chose Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.’s syrup to add some more spice to it. Floral jammy notes at first, and a spice laden mid-palate bursts forth with nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger. Refreshing, but perhaps a little too just spice-forward with Abernathy Gin taking the center stage.
Next we tried a Jam & Gin with our very own Kate’s Gin Jam recipe. Lemon and berries dominated at first, but underneath there were notes of orange rind, raspberry, and a hint of cinnamon.
How about a Negroni? Of course, I don’t say no to that sort of thing. Sweet Campari on the entry, toasted coriander shortly after, ghostly hints of juniper on the early finish. Gin seems a little lost. But if you dial it up to a 2:1:1 ratio, the gin adds a smart spiced sensibility. Even then, the Campari dominates, but it does Abernathy Gin more justice.
Finally, we indulged in the Martini. Coriander on the nose, with an herbaceous, herbal led bouquet early. More, coriander in the mids, but the finish bursts for with orange rind, juniper, and wormwood. A nice, slightly bitter finish adds a crisp dryness to the finish. It could have used a bit of citrus though, perhaps a twist of lemon just to brighten it up a bit. But overall, this was our favorite drink of the bunch.
Abernathy Gin is a well-rounded gin that has dominant contemporary characteristics. While juniper is present, the co-stars take charge. It’s an interesting American contemporary grain-to-glass gin well suited to existing fans of the style.
* Notice that the Tenn South Distillery is the top tourist attraction in the tiny town.