New Amsterdam Stratusphere Gin, London Dry Gin

Stratusphere Gin Bottle

New Amsterdam Stratusphere Gin is a new release from E. & J. Gallo Winery, makers of New Amsterdam Gin.

Thanks to its somewhat of a “soft launch,” there seems to be a fair amount of confusion already regarding Stratusphere Gin. It is not the same product as the original. There’s a couple of big differences.

Firstly, New Amsterdam Stratusphere Gin is a London Dry Gin and says so right on the bottle. Let’s recap what this means: London Dry refers to a process designation whereby a base spirit is distilled up to 96% ABV before undergoing a second distillation with botanicals. It has been said that New Amsterdam Gin was flavored with essences rather than by distillation. The designation on this bottle suggests that Stratusphere Gin is distilled.

Secondly, Stratusphere Gin is also bottled at a higher ABV in the bottle. At 47% it is aimed more at bartenders and cocktail-creators.

Tasting Notes

Whereas New Amsterdam Modern begins with cloying sweet, almost artificial orange— Stratusphere Gin leads with orange, but a slightly different take. Vivid bitter orange rind, with an unctuous, deep zestiness. There is a bit more here as well— hints of piney juniper and coriander round the nose out. Aromatically, it’s not too bad; however, there still seems to be notes of just straight up ethanol. While higher proof gins do tend to have a bit more in this regard, Stratusphere Gin has more harshness on the nose than peers at this ABV.

The palate is heavy on the citrus, just as their flagship gin was. Bitter orange early with some sweet, spice facets as well. Cassia in particular lends depth to this note. Mid-palate, juniper peers through. The finish is heavy with Seville orange mellowed with some streaks of red grapefruit flesh, and citron as well. There’s a slight metallic tinge on the finish. One hopes that this was only due to the either the plastic bottle or its top that I tried; however, sipped neat it kind of took away the orange finish.

New Amsterdam Stratusphere Gin is a riff on the original. It reminds me of a slightly less smooth version of Chase’s Seville Orange Gin, or a more citrus-forward (and still less smooth) version of Pinckney Bend Gin and Bluecoat Gin.

Cocktails

Mixing takes some of the edges off of Stratusphere Gin. Pretty much everything I pointed out about it neat can be fixed in a cocktail. That being said, New Amsterdam Stratusphere Gin doesn’t lend itself as well in a  Dry Martini or Gin and Tonic with unflavored tonic. It does work somewhat better in a Dirty Martini or a Gin and Flavored Tonic

The orange is strong and comes through in more difficult mixing applications like the Negroni or Gin and Juice.

Bartenders mixing with New Amsterdam Stratusphere Gin should keep in mind it has a very-citrus forward contemporary flavor and despite the moniker “London Dry” on the bottle it should not be regarded as a 1:1 substitute for juniper forward classic gins like Gordon’s.

Overall, New Amsterdam Stratusphere Gin

This gin becomes difficult to place in the market today. New Amsterdam Gin’s appeal is in large part because it is almost a flavored-vodka like gin. It’s appeal is in the fact that it targets a nearly completely different demographic than most other gins. It’s drinkers are normally non-gin-drinkers. In the sub $20 gin category, it is the most contemporary gin available.

But where exactly does an up-scaled New Amsterdam fit? Taste-wise, if you’re a fan of gin and citrus there’s already a plethora of options out there. I’m not sure New Amsterdam Stratusphere Gin does enough on the basis of added strength alone to convert drinkers of Bluecoat, Beefeater or Plymouth. The couple drawbacks of the product while not serious concerns for casual gin and juice fans are dealbreakers for those who sip their gin neat or prepare it simply in things like a Martini.

While New Amsterdam Stratusphere Gin is a HUGE upgrade when compared to the original, I’m not sure it’s enough of an upgrade to warrant recommending it over other options on the market today.

If you’re looking to spend ~$15 and get a contemporary-style gin, New Amsterdam Stratusphere Gin is recommended. But otherwise, I’d suggest spending a few dollars more and looking elsewhere.

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “New Amsterdam Stratusphere Gin, London Dry Gin

  • June 15, 2019by Pete Mac

    New Amsterdam is fine if you like Bees Knees cocktails, which I do. (One of two favorites, along with marguerita) You hardly need to add lemon juice. Unfortunately, when you try something different, it falls way short. It certainly isn’t a London gin. That said, for cheap gin, you could do significantly worse. It doesn’t actually taste foul. Extra star for price. Far better than flavored vodka.

  • June 16, 2019by Philip Patston

    I agree. The original was a bit nasty. This version much better but its not good enough if there are other options at the price point. Depends on the selection available, but sadly grocery stores and smaller liquor stores tend to be limited. Seagrams is not great but less offensive at the price. Gordon’s is the best alternative if available imho.

  • July 23, 2019by Cayte

    I noticed the change I enjoyed the year ago gin. What did you do

  • July 23, 2019by Cayte

    I noticed the change I enjoyed the year ago gin. What did you do. Never commented before?

  • August 21, 2019by Benson

    I knew this Stratusphere was different, couldn’t even get any info on their website. I was looking for the original and bought a bottle of this. New Am is the first and only citrus gin I’ve ever tasted, and instantly became my favorite. Stratusphere doesn’t equate; I really liked the citrus notes and didn’t find it to taste fake or overwhelming. Both of these are still two of the cleanest gins I’ve ever tasted, and I’m no expert by any stretch but I love a gin & tonic. That said, I used to take shots of the original stuff and now I’m mixing this. I can barely taste it! Now it is coming off like a vodka, and I realize I need to try other brands (Tanqueray is disgusting to me though). After this bottle, I’ll try one of the other citrus-forwards you mentioned in the original NewAm review. Thanks!

  • August 27, 2019by Rick Grooms

    I had waited a long time to taste this gin. It did not disappoint! I agree with the Wine Enthusiast rating of 93. I would put this gin up against Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, Boodles, Citadelle, Broker’s, and Beefeater any day of the week!! Makes the perfect martini with just a rinse of Noilly Prat. Gallo rocks in both the wine and spirits world!!! Great job guys.

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