In fall 2018, That Boutique-y Gin Company partnered with Lizzie Ostrom— author and perfumer— to create a line of gins inspired by scent. Big Dipper Gin calls to mind the county fair.
It aims to combine both the light and the dark— the good and the bad. Let me quote the description of Big Dipper Gin. “they’re both child-like and nostalgic but also slightly seedy and decrepit. The smell of fairgrounds carries these contradictions – sugar with machinery and dirt.” [source]
Big Dipper Gin adds peated malt and liquid smoke to a sweet spice-forward botanical blend.
Unfortunately, Big Dipper Gin is only available from Harvey Nichols.
I’ve not smelled this much juniper at the carnival before. There’s some heady pine-forward juniper on a rather strong nose with some heady ethanol notes.
Spice rounds out the nose. Big Dipper has a hint of cardamom, but a meaty, earthy note that reminds me of a smoked turkey leg. Big Dipper Gin has certainly captured contrasts in the nose alone.
But the palate is where Big Dipper Gin really opens up. Smoky juniper, and cinnamon notes early, mid-palate is sweet and jammy with candied lime wedges and Cracker Jack.
The finish is moderately long with a pleasant chocolate and juniper note.
Gin remains the central idea in Big Dipper Gin despite the evocative concept. It’s in Big Dipper’s flourishes that the carnival comes to the fore. I really like the balance of contemporary and classic that is at play in this gin.
It’s really mixed that Big Dipper begins to become a bit more fairground playful. It’s in a gin and tonic that it seems a bit more candy apple and cotton candy. Juniper is still present, but the other notes seem to come out a bit more.
I was also surprised at what a good Martini Big Dipper Gin made. Earthy, herbal notes are a lovely counterpoint to some of the eccentric flourishes.
Overall, Big Dipper Gin
Despite the concept— and to be sure, chocolate and smokey notes are present— this is a bit more grounded in gin as a central tenet. There’s elements that remind of the nginious! Salted and Smoked Gin, but ultimately Big Dipper Gin is a playful gin that primarily will appeal to fans of contemporary styles and has enough juniper that classic gin fans will at least know what they’re drinking.