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 Distillery 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.
The nose is strongly juniper. A little bit of alcohol vapor smell, but pleasant, inviting, and quite gin like. As its intended to be a classic-styled gin, this is quite what the name implies.
Bardenay Gin is 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 of Bardenay Gin isn’t quite 100% classic, but it will certainly appeal to fans of the style. Smooth and flavorful, with a depth and quality which warrants a second look.
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 Bardenay Gin 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” 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.
Overall, Bardenay Gin
I like Bardenay Gin a fair 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.