Oh Canada!(ian) Gin. Today we head back to the things we tried on our vacation to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Iceberg Gin isn’t from PEI or NS, but it is found readily in both provinces. This is the first of two spirits we have that are distilled by the Newfoundland and Labrador liquor corporation, both managed through Rock Spirits [which also makes the somewhat more famous Crystal Head Vodka, Dan Akroyd’s brand which has garnered a fair amount of recognition over the years].
If you buy the hype that water makes a difference, Iceberg Gin is completely predicated on this fact alone. Ed Kean [in a story covered by the Wall Street Journal] goes out and hunts down icebergs. And then he melts them. And sells them to companies like those who make Iceberg Gin. The evidence for claims of purity might not be front and center, but certainly the romance is.
On the nose, it’s clear and somewhat flat. Probing a little bit more, we get a touch of rose water and sweet berry pie. Very subtle, with juniper lying even further down in the mix. This is a quiet nose, make no mistake.
The palate of Iceberg Gin begins slowly, juniper coming through most clearly. There’s a faint floral undercurrent in the mid-notes. Citrus comes through a bit more strong, with hints of fresh lime, before giving way to a touch of heat. On the finish, there’s a nice counterpoint to the juniper, with some classic style earthy coriander and angelica notes coming through. It finished a bit hot, but notes of grapefruit, orange, and juniper linger in the final faint tastes. Juniper rides it out to the end.
All being said, Iceberg Gin is still a mild and somewhat reserved gin. Though there’s some complexities within the spirit, it never quite hits you in the face with it, instead opting for a reserved and understated approach. Dare I say that the understated approach is ideal for highlighting the “most important” (by way of their marketing) ingredient, that being the water.
In a Gin and Soda, we found the already soft flavor profile softened out even more. Juniper and a touch of citrus, grapefruit and orange notes came through, faintly. Subtle in flavor, and tasting a touch more watery. It reads as a bit weak. I’d suggest maybe chilling the spirit and adding just a touch of soda, than making up a more traditional one, in order to not lose the gin
We also tried Iceberg Gin in a Gin and Tonic. Different notes came through, surprisingly, we tasted a bit more of the citrus up front, with some fresh juniper on the finish, before fading promptly and ending a bit flat. Again, I offer the same advice as the Gin and Soda, you probably want to consider making this a stronger cocktail with more gin, and less tonic than you’re used to, lest you risk overpowering the more mild flavors of this gin.
I then put it to task in the Confederation Cocktail, which being the most strongly flavored of the bunch, I didn’t have high expectations. I was surprised, as the juniper, subtle as it was, came through in just the right places. Juniper up front, oaky and fermented fruit comes on strong next, and the finish is pine, resin, and a touch of fermented fruit. Certainly a stronger profile might have pushed this cocktail the front of the line, but I was not disappointed. Quite the opposite, recommended.
Overall, Iceberg Gin
I prefer a little more fortitude in my juniper forward gins. This one was a bit too mild for me, and I found it lost in cocktails. That being said, it’s smooth, easy to drink, and could be a favorite for those in search of an inexpensive, easy drinking gin. I think there’s better gins out there at this price point, but Iceberg Gin is not without merit.