Vermont may not be known for its cane plantations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t open a rum distillery. Joe’s Pond Gin from Old Route 2 Distillery begins from a base of their white rum, distilled from turbinado sugar and molasses.
The final distillation is done with a series of local botanicals on a Trident 300 gallon hybrid pot still.
I enjoy the good bright fruitiness of a white rum. Joe’s Pond Gin captures that beautifully here. At first nose though, you might be forgiven for mistaking it for a rum. It’s botanically light with the strongest aroma being that of Williams Pear.
Sipped, there’s a pretty assertive warmth of the spirit; it leaves a touch of heat in the back of the throat and a long lasting warmth on the edges of the palate.
Botanically, it’s a bit indistinct. Joe’s Pond Gin has a fruity stone fruit flavor profile with facets of orange blossom honey. Juniper comes through late— although it has a nice fresh cracked flavor, it’s understated. There’s a lot of cane flavor here— a hint grassy, maybe with a touch of sweet flag.
Joe’s Pond Gin reminds me a bit of another New England Gin, Tiki Gin. The rum character dominates, but to quite pleasant effect. The base is flavorful, and the botanical blend lets the cane spirit shine. In some senses, Joe’s Pond Gin might be described as a Caribbean style gin designed in the spirit of Holland style gins.
Naturally genevers never began from a base of cane, but that was mostly an issue of what was on the market. If genever evolved from a different part of the world— this may have been what it tasted like.
Despite grain’s strong tradition in the world of gin, I find that heavy base-spirit gins distilled from wheat or barley are more problematic for mixing than heavy base-spirits gins made from things like cane.
I’d dare say that is because the fruity, grassy, slightly funky notes of rum are more akin to some of the flavors that botanicals bring. In short, I like Joe’s Pond Gin in a whole host of cocktails— floral ones like the Aviation or a French 75 might break with convention— but they’re delicious.
Overall, Joe’s Pond Gin
Joe’s Pond Gin is an unusual product. It has some of the funk of a good Jamaican rum. It has the botanicals of a gin. And its put it together into a package that is quite good. The only criticism I think I can make is that it’s a bit light on juniper flavor, even for a contemporary style gin.
If you’re a fan of cane spirits and gin cocktails— try Joe’s Pond Gin.
Made possible through the New England Gin Exchange
Special thanks to John at Foodie Pilgrim. Since 2012, John has shared and sourced gins from New England and nearby that we at The Gin is In haven’t tried yet. This gin sample was shared by John, who is also a big fan of gin. So check out his New England Gin Reviews as well.