H.O.B.S. Gin— or more specifically Harbor of Broken Souls Gin is a high proof offering from California based Young and Yonder Spirits. It begins from a base spirit distilled from non-GMO corn. The botanicals, including bay leaf, hibiscus and lavender, are macerated in the spirit before distillation. It’s then proofed to a cocktail friendly 50% ABV— sitting somewhere between most premium gins and the Navy Strength category.
The label of Harbor of Broken Souls Gin is one of the best I’ve seen in some time. It’s richly illustrated with perils of the sea ranging from an overgrown octopus to a pair of naval vessels. On label alone, H.O.B.S. Gin definitely invokes connections to Navies and Navy Strength.
It begins with a fairly balanced nose. The harbor has an orange and lemon rind top note. Underneath is pine-forward juniper in a deciduous forest after a rain— there’s a hint of petrichor/fresh rain, a little like Fresh Rain Gin. Heavy angelica-led base notes lend H.O.B.S. Gin an earthy grounding.
Sipped, Harbor of Broken Souls Gin shows a bit more of its spice-forward side. Cardamom, pepper, and juniper early. Mid-palate there’s a hint of vanilla-backed minerality. The finish is saturated a touch of lavender and with rich, thick angelica, lending some weight and roundness to the juniper that’s also sitting down here.
Harbor of Broken Souls Gin is designed to be mixed. Higher proof gins usually are, as they come through more strongly in cocktails. Bartenders will find it a ready replacement in many cocktails. H.O.B.S. Gin lends strength from its proof and a characteristic juniper flavor. Though I would argue, it’s a bit more angelica coming through, but the impression is all the same.
It mixes nicely with Vermouth, though the proof suggests something more of a 1:1 Martini than something more gin-saturated. It pairs nicely with vegetables and fruit. Try H.O.B.S. Gin in a Red Snapper or even a Gin and Juice.
Overall, Harbor of Broken Souls Gin
Premium gins have pushed the expectation for gin ABV northward. 47% has been the sweet spot for sometime, but why not 100 proof? It’s not perceptibly hotter in terms of ethanol than other offerings at its ABV.
Bartenders will find a lot to like about H.O.B.S. Gin and I think people looking for more juniper-forward options will as well. However, this gin isn’t just some by-the-numbers classic style gin. It evokes balance with a well-chosen combination of botanicals, if a bit heavy handed with the angelica.
Overall, H.O.B.S. is a harbor worth checking out.