Bardenay Gin hails from Idaho. And I’d forgive you for expecting something like a Potato base here (if you are looking for a Potato based neutral spirit gin, might I suggest looking at Cold River Gin from Maine). But that doesn’t mean that Bardenay gin uses a run-of-the-mill base spirit.
It might be less surprising when you find out that they also make a rum, but the base spirit comes from a brown sugar cane base.
Again, when looking at American craft distilling, you should expect the unexpected. A gin made from cane spirit in Idaho? Yep, and I’ll tell you. Its a pretty good gin also.
Bardenay: Enter the Gin
The nose is strongly juniper. A little bit of alcohol vapour smell, but pleasant, inviting, and quite gin like. As its intended to be a classic-styled gin, this is quite what the name implies.
Its a bit creamy tasting. citrus and vanilla come to mind. Still a crisp juniper sensation, but it fades towards the backseat at the tail end of the taste. Warm spiced lemon fades gently, punctuated by a momentary rush of heat, which fades almost as suddenly as it came on.
The taste profile isn’t quit classic, but it is quite drinkable. Smooth and flavorful, with a depth and quality which warrants a second look.
Bardenay Gin: Enter the Cocktail
Some of the more subtle notes are a little overpowered in some cocktails. In bolder cocktails like the Aviation or the Gimlet, you get mostly the flavor of the juniper and citrus, but not some of the more interesting spice and aromatic.
I found in a martini that the vanilla and lemony cake notes are somewhat accentuated. Its warm and sweet, there’s something slightly spicy in here too that maybe calls to mind the cake metaphor. I had written in my initial notes “Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin” [which is odd because I’m Gluten intolerant and I haven’t had a good Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin in a long time? Did I mention that Bardenay’s distillery is also a restaurant? and they have an extensive gluten-free menu?]. I’m not quite sure the botanical that calls to mind this, but its quite good. This doesn’t mean that the juniper doesn’t show up in the martini, because it does. But its always interesting the way that certain notes become accentuated or mutate when mixed differently.
I like this gin a bit, and it really has some interesting flavors. Someone who doesn’t like this gin might say that its a bit unbalanced and that the flavors rise and fall in moments in the taste, bringing them into moments of amplification and dissonance. The juniper and the citrus are both rather loud. Suffice to say, though this is a small critique of the gin I can see where it might not work with certain palettes, but I could also see it appealing to people who are looking for a gin with one foot squarely in the classic-style camp, but with subtle background notes more common in contemporary American gins.
Bardenay Gin: Enter the Store
As I review a wide array of American gins, I’m amazed that the further you get away from the coasts, into the heart of the American prairies and mountains, that craft distillers are making gins that I think people would have no problem paying $30 dollars for, for almost a third less. At $20, Bardenay Gin is smooth, complex, and doesn’t taste like a gin which would fall into what I call the “inexpensive/bargain” categories.
Price: $19/ 750 mL
Origin: [flag code=”US” size=”16″ text=”no”] Idaho, United States
Best consumed: Great for martinis, at this price point there’s few gins which can hold their own at this price point.
Availability: Idaho, at the distillery
Rating: At the price point, there’s few better gins out there. But even if we take price out of it. A good flavorful gin, with enough elements of the classic style to appeal to the London Dry drinker in search of something new, but with enough subtle flavor variations to set it apart from other classic styled craft gins.
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