Aside from being my favorite piece of punctuation (sorry octothorpe!), Ampersand is also the name of a family-founded distillery, which opened doors in 2014 on a farm in British Columbia. On their custom built equipment, father and son Jeremy and Stephen Schacht use their engineering background and local grown wheat to design Ampersand Distilling Co. Gin. Not much is shared about what is in their gin, other than the aforementioned wheat base spirit and some classic botanicals like juniper, coriander, angelica, lemon and orris root.
Lovely, classic style nose, with angelica, lemon peel and juniper. As you inhale, the low notes greet you with a warm, slightly spicy underside. Quite classic, and overall quite nice.
The palate is briefly punctuated with a pine-laden juniper hit, but the mid-palate escalates quickly and loudly: a bit of citrus peel and a lot of coriander. It’s perhaps the coriander which is leading to the roar on the back end which might indicate a touch too much coriander rich in linalool. The finish is crisp and dry, closing with a pleasant spicy astringency. Coriander and pepper notes, which segue into a long exceptionally dry finish which hands in the back corners of your mouth. The warmth is quite nice and the overall quality of the spirit itself is quite high.
It does a lot of things nicely, and its botanical intensity lends itself nicely in a Gin and Tonic or other gin + soda sort of drink. It does some nice things in cocktails as well, try it in a Last Word and you’ll find some of that coriander surplus nicely reigned in leaving a well-rounded and boldly flavored gin. Despite the really classic botanical bouquet, the floral/jammy notes make it hard for my to squarely describe it as such. Its an example of how the classic botanical bill can create something that is slightly contemporary. I find that when mixed in cocktails, it feels more classic than it comes across on its own.
Boldly botanical, Ampersand Distilling Co. Gin works well in cocktails and mixed drinks. I think it could use a touch more juniper to balance out the other botanical notes which dominate the palate while tasting, though I find when mixed, the juniper does seem to come through a bit more. Fans of classic gin might end up like me, hoping for a bit more juniper coming through on the back half, while fans of contemporary gin might find it a little bit too close to the old homestead