Did you know that the Adirondack park is the largest protected area in the United States outside of Alaska? The “blue line” refers to that protected area in New York State, which the distillers at Lake Placid Spirits sought to invoke in their Adirondack themed Blue Line Gin. The unique local flavor being that of the Northern White Pine. In spring, the pine’s blossoms are harvested and distilled along with the other botanicals in Blue Line Gin. Some of the juniper is foraged locally from the Crow mountains [source] giving it that extra local touch.
The base spirit of Blue Line Gin iswheat and corn, and distilled in their custom built 1000 liter copper still. All of the spirits at Lake Placid use local water and undergo “a final filtration using Adirondack gemstones” [quote].
Delightful, bright juniper on the nose, but there’s an earthy, spicy depth behind it: coriander and cardamom coming through as well. It certainly, at first whiff seems more international, albeit classic. Even with the pine blossoms, it’s not as foresty as other gins with similar marketing pitches.
The palate is generally slightly more spice forward than I would have expected it. Lots of coriander, peppery hints of cardamom, cassia, a fennel seed like note mid-palate with a very warm, very cozy note of warm pine needle and green, just ripe juniper berries. Fairly long finish with a warm echo of chai spice notes.
Blue Line Gin itself is vividly flavored as well too. I’d say it’s comparatively louder in its botanical flavor than many other gins are at 80 proof. The base spirit itself is only slightly viscous, but with a clean flavor and pleasant warmth and mouthfeel.
In a Gin and Tonic, the vivid spices certainly come through and almost suggest a Tonic Water such as Fentiman’s— which brings me to a good point. I like it better with very neutral, clean tonic waters— the ones with nary a hint of botanicals in themselves, and instead a clean bitterness. I like it better with Q Tonic or Fever Tree Indian Tonic, and less so with flavored ones such as Hansen’s or Fever Tree’s Mediterranean Tonic for example. Blue Line’s botanicals will dominate and perhaps even clash. Go simple and just appreciate the gin.
I enjoy how it works with citrus as well. It makes a nice Tom Collins and Gin Fizz, though it seemed to be fighting too loudly with the lime in a Gimlet. The Martini is certainly a matter of preference. It certainly tastes good with Vermouth. But Blue Line Gin is a little less classic and certainly may not appeal to those looking for a good classic one. I suggest the Pascal Martini (5:2 with a dash of Black Walnut Bitters and a dash of Maraschino Liqueur).
It’s a spice forward contemporary gin that will appeal to fans of the contemporary styles. I think it more invokes an almost eastern feel with its creamy spice-forward palate rather than invoking a boreal feel. The pine is in there, but along with the juniper, it’s not the star. That being said, it’s a nice gin with a warming character and aside from a mismatch of concept and palate, it stands on its own and will have fans among contemporary gin fans.