Lockhouse Distillery’s Limited Edition Barreled Gin is distilled in Buffalo, New York from local grain and grapes from the nearby Niagara Wine region. An evolution of their flagship New York Style fine gin, Lockhouse Barreled Gin is rested in oak barrels for an unspecified period of time and has a transparent raw umber hue to it— among the darker colors in the aged gin family.
Regular readers of this site know that I am from Buffalo originally, and might also remember that Lockhouse Distillery was kind enough to host a talk I gave not too long ago after the release of my book.
The nose has a good deal of wood and caramelized sugar notes on it. First, brown sugar, a hint of molasses, a hint of spicy cinnamon and mint calling to mind German spice liqueurs. A bit deeper, there’s oak, dried ginger, and a hint of burnt orange rind. Heavy with the wood-imparted notes, it has a spicy charm underneath it that may not immediately suggest gin to the drinker who might be sniffing blind.
On the palate, Lockhouse Barreled Gin reveals its juniper and is more recognizable as gin. At first, vanilla and burnt sugar; mid-palate woody oak, herbaceous juniper, ginger and cassia. The finish is a surprise where floral notes of lavender and violet add an unexpected vibrancy, peppermint and sage in the background, and bitter orange rind and vanillin all emerge. Lavender and oak forestall an emerging finish that is about medium length while becoming drier in terms of oak character and slightly more astringent.
Lockhouse Barreled Gin is a beautiful aged gin with a lot of character and some really surprising touches which set it apart from other gins. Just sipping it neat, the floral notes create a lightness that many aged spirits just don’t have. On the rocks, it’s just as memorable, but with perhaps a touch more wood and ginger. I think it makes a really good Manhattan as well. The Sweet Vermouth complements and elevates the floral and citrus hues, while having just enough wood and oak to suggest a cocktail of its name.
Another drink I recommend with this [and other aged gins] is to experiment with the Purl. A purl is a pint of beer— in the 18th century London, where the drink seems to have originated, it would likely have been a bitter— with a shot of gin in it. The Aged Gin Purl that I recommend with this gin in particular, is a pint of a particularly hoppy IPA with a shot of barrel aged gin in it. I love the way the oak and hops combine to create an earthy, rich taste on the palate and that signature palate-cleansing astringency of the IPA is now mixed with surprising hints of juniper, lavender, and orange.
Vibrant and bright, Lockhouse Barreled Gin may not win over gin purists as it certainly highlights other notes in concert, and at times, above the juniper. But those looking for an adventurous, woody, barrel aged gin that they can play with as if a whiskey might find a lot to like here.