Bicycle Tree Gin immediately evokes a sense of place, particular to Snohomish natives*, whom recall fondly the so-called “Bicycle Tree:” a tree with a gap in its trunk sizable enough to ride your penny-farthing through. The Bicycle Tree was washed away in the flood of 1927; however, the memory remains. Distiller Ryan Hembree told the Everett Herald that he had the name in mind for at least five years, to pay homage to Snohomish history.
The gin is distilled from grain is a “classic dry gin with a Northwest twist.” That twist being that Bicycle Tree Gin adds some unusual botanicals, the most unique of which is raspberry leaves.
The leaves of raspberry bushes are a traditional tea. They taste more like an orange pekoe tea than the berries themselves. Other botanicals mentioned include mint, rose hips and lemongrass. Skip Rock Distillers looks to source locally wherever possible, lending Bicycle Tree Gin a more intimate connection with the people of Snowhomish than merely the name of a tree.
The nose is surprisingly fruit-forward at first. Hints of blueberry and fresh rose blossoms elide with juniper. Bright lemon zest, parma violets— it reminds me a bit of an Aviation cocktail. Bicycle Tree Gin becomes more floral with time. The nose is quite lovely.
As you sip it purely neat, you can get notes of cherry blossoms and rose at first. The mid-palate has a pleasant punchy note of juniper and other spice— there’s a warm earthiness here. Bitter orange and mint with a hint of shiso, Bicycle Tree Gin begins to take on a more leafy and less floral flavor. There’s a hint of dusty ginger and coriander on the finish, which segues into the finish which is long and generally quite dry. It has hints of that shiso— dry, green, and slightly pungent— that sticks with you for quite some time.
Bicycle Tree Gin undergoes quite a change on the palate over the course of the tasting; however, the botanical blend nicely ties it together. Bicycle Tree Gin is nice neat and sipped on its own, with quite a bit of botanical complexity and balance. I’m quite enjoying it thus far.
Right on the back of the bottle, Skip Rock Distillers recommend the Bicycle Tree Martini, which is a 6:1 Martini shaken with ice and a piece of lemongrass, served up with a twist. I prefer my Martini stirred— not because I’m a purist, but because I think shaking radically affects the texture— I suggest a small tweak. Take a small ½ inch piece of Lemongrass and using a mortar and pestle, aggressively break up the lemongrass to release the oils. Remove the stalk and debris, and pour the Vermouth into the bowl; then pour into a mixing glass filled with ice. Add gin and stir. Definitely keep the garnish with a twist. Skip Rock Distillers have made a really good Martini gin for fans of contemporary styles.
Other than the Martini, I think it makes a delightful Gin and Tonic with a brief floral entry and juniper led finish. I’d also suggest the Aviation as it really brings to the fore all of the notes described above.
Bicycle Tree Gin is a lovely mixing gin as well, and I found it to work well in a number of preparations.
Fans of contemporary style floral gins will find a lot to like about Bicycle Tree Gin. Fans of Hendrick’s looking for a new tipple I think will find this gin to be a kindred spirit**.
Classic style gin fans will appreciate the presence of juniper in here and Skip Rock’s grounding in the classic style. Certainly their contemporary flourishes make it more of a contemporary style; however, Bicycle Tree Gin is nicely balanced enough that it has cross-style appeal.
Recommended in its category.
*I have no idea what the demonym would be. Snohomishians? Snohomishers? THE Snowhomish?
** Get it??