No. 209 Barrel Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Gin was finished for three months in a barrel which once held Rudd Sauvignon Blanc wine. Available in limited release, it is quite unique and retains an oxidized, somewhat fruity character that I haven’t tasted in other barrel aged gins.
Also special among aged gins is its lovely pale straw hue, almost exactly the color one might expect to see in a Chardonnay style wine. A far cry from the burnt almond shell and deep golden browns of most aged gins.
On the nose, disarmingly quiet. It retains notes of stone fruit, a god deal of juniper, lemon and citrus with a touch of alcohol. It immediately stands out as a gin, but with a faint nose of oxidized fruit. Very interesting and quite good.
The palate begins somewhat understated. Sweet lemon and candied orange peel, bright peach and nectarine, stone fruit characterize the flavor of No. 209 Barrel Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Gin. The mid-notes stand out as being the most gin like: cardamom and juniper. The finish is buttery and rich, with citrus, cardamom and some oak. On the back of the palate, a bit acidic. But overall quite smooth, and very good neat.
I think neat is the best way to appreciate this gin’s finer notes. I don’t recommend mixing it with tonic. The more unique qualities were a bit drowned out in a Negroni, but I found there to be plenty of cocktails that this gin worked well in. It was creamy, rich, and spicy in the Martinez, and made a complex, if somewhat heavy-feeling on the Vermouth, toned martini. Again, your mileage may vary based on your preference for that quality in your Negroni. I’d dial it back a bit, 5:1 even or less, since the gin seems to amplify the Vermouth flavor due to sharing some of the same notes.
No. 209 gin also held a competition that had a few interesting suggestions. The one I can tell you is quite good was the Honor and Glory
Honor and Glory
1.5 oz No 209. Sauvignon Blanc Gin
.75 oz Cocchi Americano
.5 oz Cynar
Dash of Peach bitters
Stir with ice, strain and serve up with lemon twist [source]
Overall, No. 209 Barrel Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Gin
No. 209 Barrel Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Gin is a complex and surprising aged gin that adds a note of the unexpected to what was at risk of being a tired formula. This is an aged gin that has more in common with gin than it does whiskey.