Karner Blue Gin

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Karner Blue Gin is the flagship gin of Flag Hill Winery in Lee, only a relatively short drive from the oft traveled I-95 as it hugs along the coast of the state.

Flag Hill Winery was founded in 1990 and has been distilling spirits using local ingredients since 2004. Probably best known for their General John Stark vodka, they launched Karner Blue gin in Fall 2011.

Karner Blue begins with a base spirit distilled from local apples. Among the botanicals there are a couple of unique points of difference from most gins. Joining the classic juniper, citrus and orris root, are savory and cubeb berries.

The state butterfly of New Hampshire is the Karner Blue Butterfly .The Karner Blue butterfly is threatened in its natural range in New Hampshire, Vermont and Upstate New York, but fortunately conservation efforts have been successful at maintaining the Karner Blue’s numbers in recent years.

Hence the gin is a tribute to the local environment as well.

Tasting Notes

The nose of Karner Blue Gin is immediately floral with notes of citrus and warm tropical fruit, almost fruit punch like.

The first taste on the palate of Karner Blue Gin is a pleasant burst of juniper. A bit sharp, but gives way to peppery background notes and robust citrus.

The juniper lingers and has a long smooth finish.


Straight, very pleasant with a good amount of nuance. Its easy to recommend it for a martini based on this.  The floral notes are going to please fans of modern American contemporary gin, but the juniper is there and forefront for enough of the tasting to make clear that this is a gin.

Karner Blue Gin works well in any number of cocktails. I like the floral/juniper combination and this gin works exceptionally in an Aviation.

This gin makes a great gin and tonic as well. Certainly easy to recommend it for folks who are not normally gin fans, but even easier to recommend for people who are.

Overall, Karner Blue Gin

A good amount of depth, and a unique enough flavor profile makes this an enjoyable and unique gin that is worth of a purchase— especially for fans of floral contemporary gin.


8 thoughts on “Karner Blue Gin”

  1. There’s great gin being made everywhere, but New England surely seems like a hot bed to me. A couple good ones in Maine, a couple good ones in Mass, and of course this one in New Hampshire. Haven’t tried any from Vermont yet, and don’t think the gin bug has spread to Rhode Island and Connecticut…. (yet!)

  2. I was offered a complimentary Karner Blue gin and tonic by the wine steward at the Mt. Washington Hotel last week. I was very impressed. I’ll be looking for it here in Massachusetts!

  3. Karner Blue is by far my favorite. I imbibe Winston Churchill style: a straight up martini with a whisper of vermouth. Of course, I’m partial because I used to live near Lee, but now that I’ve moved to San Francisco, I find myself missing it like the dickens! Will they ever export to the West coast? I’ve plenty of friends and acquaintances who were won over with my martinis.

  4. I must disagree with the review. The floral notes are almost overwhelming, and they do not go away. There seem to be very little juniper, not anything like the amount that characterizes a good London dry gin like Hendrick’s; rather, the sense I got was as though I were drinking perfume. I can’t remember the last time I threw away good liquor, but this stuff went down the drain after a couple of sips in my standard Martini. My wife’s reaction was exactly the same as mine. Brits have an expression to fit the name of the Belgian national airline, Sabena: “Such a bloody experience, never again.” Roger that.

  5. Karner Blue is the only gin I drink if I can help it. I graduated from Citadelle, a French gin full of botanicals. I drink it from the fridge in a martini glass with nothing else in the glass…nothing, not a whisper or a drop of anything. By the way, the butterfly was classified by Nabokov, the author of Lolita. Thus, it’s a literay experience to drink this gin.

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