The endless bogs of the Taiga may not seem the likeliest source of inspiration— but to a Finn they’re a huge part of their nation’s northern, intraversable, hinterlands. Kyrö Distillery has created their bog gin which incorporates some of the flora of the region. First there’s locally picked juniper, lingonberries and two rather unusual botanicals.
First is the Bog Bilberry or bog blueberry. This plant is a close relative of both the more familiar bilberry and blueberry. While flavor-wise it’s similar, botanically speaking Vaccinium uliginosum is taxonomically separate. You’re unlikely to spot the bog blueberry outside of its native range, which is in marshy bogs of the Taiga.
Also— bonus fact: Did you know that the Bog Bilberry Liqueur is a thing in Korea?
The other unusual ingredient is reindeer lichen. While Bog Gin is not the first northern gin to feature lichen among its botanicals— take Vor Gin for example— it is the first one to take this specific slow going lichen native to the tundra. It grows as few as a couple millimeters per year and has been a part of native medicinal cultures for centuries.
The nose of Bog Gin is sweetly jammy— green pepper jelly, tart bitter orange marmalade, lime zest and slight hints of pepper and menthol. To the aroma alone, it’s the exact opposite of what you might expect from a bog. Whereas other offerings from That Boutique-y Gin Company such as the mossy, earthy Beware of the Woods Gin capture the gentle aroma of decay that you might get from a bog— Bog Gin is bright and jammy, showing citrus-like tendencies.
Perhaps I was wrong about the bog all along?
To the palate, Bog Gin takes you on a long unfolding journey. It’s exceptionally complex and long with the palate changing perceptibly even ten seconds in. First off, there’s a nice texture and warmth that helps facilitate this. The base spirit is rich and almost oily feeling on the tongue.
Taste-wise the blueberry and lingonberry create this jammy flavor that almost seems more citrusy than berry-like as it comes on mid-palate. Mid-palate is gently minty without having that spearmint flavor. It’s simply mentholated with an herbaceous, vegetal mid-palate. I find that the juniper is largely pushed to the wayside for most of the palate. It comes on most strongly about five seconds in as it begins to recede. Wet juniper and a hint of camphoraceous pine.
The finish still has the menthol haze, as spice comes out of the background. Black pepper becomes tarragon becomes anise. To me the green notes taste more of an autumnal deciduous forest after a heavy rain than a bog— but then again, perhaps therein lies the point. Bog Gin defies you to expect something different from a bog.
Overall, Bog Gin
As with many of That Boutique-y Gin Company’s releases, what really excites me is when you get something that pushes at your expectations of what gin can and should do. While Bog Gin would be a challenging to nearly impossible mixer for a bartender to use behind the bar, it’s exceptional and fun as a sipping gin.
There’s a good balance in bog gin. The evolution on the palate is one of the best I’ve had. How they managed to capture so much and have it segue together like this is a testament to the work Kyrö Distillery does.
Overall, I recommend Bog Gin if you’re looking for something fun to sip and play with. If you want a gin for a cocktail, you’d be advised to look elsewhere. But this is one of the gems in That Boutique-y Gin Company’s 2018 collection.
Recommended in its category.