Boulder Ginskey hails from Boulder, Colorado based Vapor Distillery. It begins from a neutral grain spirit, undergoes a subsequent distillation with botanicals and is then aged for two years(!) in new char(!!) American oak barrels.
It’s worth pointing out that Vapor Distillery began its life as Roundhouse Distillery— creators of Roundhouse Gin and Imperial Barrel Aged Gin (apparently someone already owned the trademark in Europe). At our initial review, press releases described Imperial Barrel Aged Gin as having rested for six months; then it was ten months. Ginskey is an improvement on an already good product at two years in barrels.
Two years is a long time in a barrel for gin and sometimes you’ll lose a lot of botanical character— or only be left with some the most tenacious botanicals hanging on. Ginskey has a lot(!) of botanical character. Herbaceous juniper, orange rind, dried chamomile and even a hint of floral, lavender and light botanicals as well. There is a distinctive charred wood note as well— lest you forgot about the barrels.
The palate is where Ginskey really shines. Light chamomile and golden syrup early. Mid-palate slightly burn caramel with vanillin facets. There’s a thick glow of camphor and eucalyptus-like menthol towards the back of the palate.
Ginskey basks in a mentholated glow on its finish, where the wood begins to come through again. Still has a green character that whiskey aficionados might describe as “young.” It’s a pleasant note that keeps your mind focused on the botanicals, as a late note of anise and spiced gumdrops emerges.
The longer resting time has rounded out the heat that was present in Imperial Barrel Aged Gin. I’d go so far as to say despite there not being a ton of tweaks, it’s clear a few have been made— and Ginskey tastes fairly different from earlier bottles of Imperial Barrel Aged Gin (more dramatic the further back you go).
Ginskey works well enough in whiskey cocktails, though its relative youth and botanicals will throw it off. Try it in a Gin Sour, Aged Gin Old Fashioned or in the cocktail that mixologist Justin Kneitel designed for my first book— The Varuna.
Time improves most things. Ginskey has two kinds of time: the distillery has been around longer and the gin spends more time in the barrel. Both are evident— Ginskey is an even better version of the Imperial Barrel Aged Gin that I had been a fan of before.
Highly Recommended in its category.