I love finding new, inexpensive gins on the shelf like Bar Code Gin. It’s like being a detective sometimes. Incredibly vague about the who and the what, often times you know little more than:
a) It’s gin
b) It’s distilled from ‘grain’
c) It comes from Fairmont Ltd in Mira Loma, California
The name “Fairmont Ltd” appears on several inexpensive regional spirits, including “Vodka six,” “Dover Strait Gin,” and “Kirkland Signature.” Fairmont Ltd is one of the trade names of the Levecke Corporation out in Mira, Loma who is a private label bottler for quite a number of small brands. The Levecke Corporation sources much of their grain spirit from the American Midwest:
” The process of vodka product at retail comes from one of three national distillers that we currently buy from, mostly in the Midwest, and that product is then railed across country to California in high-proof alcohol” –Source
United States Distilled Products out of Minnesota has always had a California supply chain legal notice at the bottom of their site, It’s probably that they may be one of the distilleries who source the base spirit to the Levecke Corporation and may well in this gin.
But other than that, I don’t have much for you. It’s a white label gin at a very, very, very affordable price.
The nose is somewhat harsh, with quite a bit of alcohol. Hints of ethanol and a touch of acetone accompany a subtle juniper and lemon aroma. Overall, it has a somewhat antiseptic and medical quality to it. On the plus, it does smell like gin.
Tasting Bar Code Gin, it has some more of those antiseptic alcohol notes to it. On the front of the palate, orange, artificial lemon flavoring, and a touch of pine. The mid-palate is rough with plastic, slate and chalk notes, and a distinct note of rubbing alcohol. The finish is tough and somewhat antiseptic. The warmth is long-lasting, but bitter in the mouth with hints of warm electronics and stainless steel. Tough on its own; however, at this price points you’re likely not buying to sip neat.
Mixed in a Gin and Tonic, particularly a gin with ample sweetening, it almost covers up some of the off notes. Bar Code Gin adds a slight hint of juniper. It’s even better with an added squeeze of lime; however, it doesn’t add much positive. Even with tonic, some of the rubbing alcohol notes come through.
Cheap gin doesn’t have to be bad. Honestly, there’s plenty of acceptable gins at the ~$10 price point including Seagram’s and Gordon’s. It’s really hard to justify a gin with this flavor profile in a category where some of the biggest names are so incredibly affordable. Gin isn’t like Whisk(e)y where price often correlates with barrel time, and often quality. Gin doesn’t need time. It just needs love and care. And when gins that have endured for 10 generations or longer can be sold so inexpensively, there’s just no excuse to make such an underwhelming product. Not Recommended.