The Bols Genever recipe dates back to at least 1820. However, Lucas Bols— the man behind the Genever— first made genever in 1664. Bols is one of the longest lasting extant spirits brands, period.
Bols Genever is distilled from a malt wine grain base composed of wheat, rye and corn that were fermented alongside juniper berries. 22(!) botanicals are present in total. It is is then rested in oak for a minimum of eighteen months before bottling.
Nose: Hints of ginger, beer and baking spice.
Flavor: Juniper is present but just a background facet. The star here is the base spirit. The drink is simultaneously spicy and earthy. Baking spice notes segue into hints of fresh pine forest. It has a slight tannic note that in some contexts almost reads as a bit smoky.
Otherwise, try it in some traditional 19th century genever cocktails like the Improved Holland Gin Cocktail or just go classic— the Negroni is a time tested winner.
I recommend not trying to make a Gin and Tonic with a genever. While some people do really enjoy it, genever differs quite a bit from gin. Just know that it’s not going to be the same thing.
Overall, Bols Genever
Overall, even two hundred years later, Bols Genever is a delicious spirit in its own right.
Further, despite being one of the biggest names in the category, it’s still one of the best.