Still in 2019, one of the biggest gaps in the craft gin market is for well-made inexpensive gins. A few notable releases have targeted this segment in the past, including Faber’s Gin and Most Wanted Gin. However, it still remains largely unoccupied. Many gin consumers still look to that $20 price point and because of that they often defer to old standbys at that price point— New Amsterdam, Gordon’s, Gilbey’s… Colorado-based State 38 Distilling is the latest to attempt to fill that market gap. Their Damn Good Gin comes in an unassuming glass bottle with a plastic cap. With sparse, straightforward, transparent process details it seems like a gin built for that premium-without-a-premium-price-tag market.
State 38 Distilling hasn’t released Damn Good Gin to replace their flagship gin— but instead to expand their reach to a group of gin drinkers who have few options beyond the aforementioned standards.
Damn Good Gin is distilled from grain in copper pot stills with five botanicals including three kinds of citrus and is diluted with Rocky Mountain water.
Strong, assertive round juniper is all over the nose, with candied key lime and sweet orange notes lending color and a sweet, counterpoint. To the nose, Damn Good Gin is classic.
The palate is somewhat more subtle. It doesn’t shout at you. It’s a modest 40% ABV, so that’s pretty much as expected. Damn Good Gin is a bit more piney at first. Hints of sweet, flat Douglas Fir needles and soft pine blossoms. A gentle, soft, citrus comes in. The citrus is a bit sweet and a bit tangy, lending a soft marmalade note with hints of magnolia flowers. Resinous juniper softly hits the back of the palate.
The spirit itself is soft. Although it lacks the viscosity and warmth of other State 38 Distilling spirits, Damn Good Gin hits all the marks.
When you aim for a more modest price point, it’s not only stores you’re targeting, but bars. Damn Good Gin is a better price on a per-cocktail basis and with it’s pleasant citrus and juniper forward perspective, it’s a gin with wide appeal that is a friendly house pour.
Though I think the flavors of Damn Good Gin can be a bit sheepish— it’s overpowered in an equal parts Negroni, lending only a hint of resin and pine— it’s a great accessible Martini pour and makes a good Gin and Tonic. It’s a bit more piney and citrusy than Gordon’s; however, for fans of either Beefeater or Plymouth, it’s a suitable local alternative.
Overall, Damn Good Gin
Bartenders will have an easy time transitioning to a gin like Damn Good Gin behind the bar. It’s slightly more citrus-forward than many standard bar offerings. I might even go so far as to say Damn Good Gin is a slightly more affordable version of a gin like Tanqueray 10.
Comparisons aside, Damn Good Gin stands on its own as an affordable gin that exemplifies some of the most wanted flavor profiles in gin. Those who don’t like it may find it a bit too weak and that it lacks the depth of other gins owing to the dearth of spice and fixative botanicals. But overall, price point aside, Damn Good Gin is a good gin that is sure to have a lot of fans.