Okanagan Spirits Distillery’s flagship Okanagan Gin is distilled from 100% British Colombia grown fruit, not grain on their copper pot still. Using local spring water they cut the spirit before re-distilling with coriander, spruce, rose and of course juniper. They do a wide array of spirits in addition to gin. including Aquavit, Brandy, Absinthe and Vodka.
On the nose, Okanagan Gin has spruce buds, musky rose, grain, some green juniper, and coriander. There’s a grainy/fruit brandy background note present as well. Not quite over the top enough to signal that this is obviously using a fruit base rather than grain, but it does add something to the nose creates a warm aura around the spirit.
The spirit is smooth and warming, though the spirit itself does feel a bit thin as it passes over the tongue. Whisper quiet at first, spruce shoots, orris, violets turn rose-like a bit later. Piney juniper evolves to be a bit more resinous on the finish. Tree sap, lemon, and a scintilla of caraway usher in a finish with grain and a faint touch of fennel stalk. Relatively short finish.
Spruce seems to be the dominant pine character of this gin, lending it a boreal forest freshness, however, the juniper is very much in the background and something you have to look closely for.
Firstly, in the Gin and Tonic there was noticeable brightness with the gin coming through clearly and reading as rhubarb/apple brandy, with a dash of juniper and warm spice towards the back end.
The Tom Collins again seemed to remind me of citrus mixed with apple brandy. Tart lemon, but it quickly moves from the foreground, mixing with the more subtle citrus notes of the gin. Finishes with mild lemon complemented by caraway and fennel whispers.
Warm spice with vivid strokes of ginger, lemon cake, and vanilla icing hit the palate strikingly in the Negroni. It was spice in the back third, with notes that called to mind cola: coriander, lemon peel, clove and a bright sweetness.
Okanagan Gin pulls some surprises with the fruit spirit base, and the gentle combination of spruce and rose. Mixes well and presents enough interest and intrigue to warrant a closer look. Fans of contemporary style gins might find something to like here, but it definitely deviates from the Classic formula and those looking for juniper, might end up finding a fresh spruce instead.
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