Jōcassee Gin Barrel Rested starts life as their flag bearer Jōcassee Gin, rife with three kinds of citrus and the Southern inspired signature botanical: magnolia blossom. It is then rested in new, freshly charred, American Oak barrel for an undesignated period of time. The resulting spirit is a rich amber hue that seems almost golden in the light.
The nose has a lot of citrus and flowers. Whereas Jōcassee Gin seems full of honeysuckle and gardenia, Jōcassee Gin Barrel Rested sees the citrus amplified. A powdery hint of lavender and a slight note of chalk and fresh floor boards build the picture of an aged gin; however one that remains botanically focused rather than barrel focused.
Jōcassee Gin Barrel Rested has a lot of woody character on the palate. I get a lot of young oak, especially on the front of the palate. You can almost taste a hint of charred wood. The wood notes give way mid-palate for grapefruit rind and dewy magnolia blossoms.
The finish is a bit dry, with dry oak, bitter orange and a distinct fading resiny juniper note.
Dark Corner Distillery’s barrel rested offering works nicely neat or on the rocks, though I find that while ice and dilution cools some of the stark oakiness of the spirit neat, it also reduces the potency of the magnolia and floral signature that makes Jōcassee Gin Barrel Rested so distinctive.
If you’ve been looking for an east coast alternative for Justin Kneitel’s Varuna cocktail from GIN: The Art and Craft of the Artisan Revival, Jōcassee Gin Barrel Rested brings some of those same floral and citrus notes that make the drink work so well.
Jōcassee Gin Barrel Rested indeed has some of the piercing oakiness that you expect from young whiskeys aged in new barrels. In this application it works well, elevating Jōcassee Gin’s citrus notes and helping bring out an evocative warmth and thickness in its floral components.
Overall, I think it’s a nice aged gin that works well with the gin that it began from.