The Origin series of gins explore the ways that regional differences in climate can affect the flavor of juniper in distilled products. In Fall 2016, I wrote about this phenomenon in Artisan Spirit magazine, but I find that the Origin series (available from Master of Malt) is the best way, short of sourcing and distilling yourself, to witness this variation.
About Durău, Romania
For the juniper berries we head to the isolated ski resort town of Durău, Romania. There’s only one road in. The primary tourist attraction is nearby Ceahlău Massif. Visitors can ski in Durău at Ceahlău National Park, a vast wilderness of endemic flora and fauna. One can imagine isolated Romanian foothills where the wild juniper grows….
Lovely pine forward nose, a clean breath of pine bough, juniper needles and cones. It has a waxy and slightly herbaceous character.
The palate is thick early with a quick rise and sudden fade. Fresh juniper, lots of pinene hits the tip of the tongue, slightly singing the taste buds. It rushes on quickly fading with primarily the warmth of the base spirit.
The Durău, Romania juniper is different from some of the others in the series based on this early palate peak and the quick fade. There’s a lot of highly volatile top notes and very little base notes. The finish is quite astringent and slightly bitter with little to know flavor.
This juniper burns out instead of fades away.
Distillers looking for juniper that hits early and leaves space in the mid-palate and base notes for other flavors might really like what Durău, Romania juniper offers. This specific varietal is interesting because it’s quite clear that it can’t carry the show all by itself. It soars early and then disappears almost as suddenly and furiously as it came on.
Truly interesting. As a gin, this single juniper spirit probably might be the least able to do double duty as a classic style gin. But as an experiment, again gin geeks will be surprised by Durău, Romania.