Ryan Kohn and a couple of friends launched Pier View Gin in 2017— currently they distill their gin in partnership with the California Spirits Company. Distilled from a base of grain, they source much of what goes into their gin locally. For example, their lemons and oranges are all from local growers. The inspiration is the place “where the land and sea meet.” Literally, what you see when you take in the view from a pier.
We’re reviewing batch 004.
A hint of cubeb jumps from Pier View gin when poured— camphoraceous herbal notes color it further. Resinous juniper and rosemary stalks, with a suggestion of pungent spring flowers. A hint of something reminiscent of magnolia blossoms gives it an ethereal glow. Complex nose suggesting several different ways the spirit could go on the palate.
Sipped, Pier View Gin becomes quite vivid, over a fairly long and evolving taste profile. At first things a hint of sweet orange zest, it quickly becomes quite herbal and bright. Piquant lemon and sour orange hover in the background with lemon verbena and a touch of lovage.
The finish is a bit more spice-forward. Notes of peppery cubeb, cassia and coriander add warmth. The finish has with it a heavy green note— not stewed, but not as light on the front of the palate as well. It has that dark aroma of chopped rosemary or warmed juniper berries.
There’s a surprising bit of warmth on the finish here as well. While the mouthfeel is on the somewhat thin side, the botanicals have an impressive amount of tenacity. Pier View Gin hovers warmly on the back of the palate for quite some time.
Mixed in a Gin and Tonic, the herbal notes of Pier View Gin move squarely to the front. Reminiscent of herbs de provence but without the lavender note— rosemary, thyme and a hint of savory. But given this strong herbal perspective, I thought it was an even better pair with mixers that had more citrus. Think a Gin and Bitter Lemon or Gin and Lemonade. The latter is perhaps the best— but as much as it goes with lemon, I find it isn’t as harmonious with lime. So take note, garnish that G&T with lemon.
The good news for fans of herbal gins like Gin Mare— Pier View Gin may be the west coast’s answer to gins like Black Button’s Garden Gin. The herbs are perfectly complimented by a powerful dry Vermouth. The long finish as well. It’s a good candidate for a Martini. Go 5:2 with a twist. But it also works in a Dirty Martini.
The intensity of the botanicals make it a solid mixer, though bartenders should take note of its unique flavor profile and play to its advantages. It has the botanical strength for a Negroni, but the flavor profile makes it more a winner for savory cocktails than dessert/cream based cocktails.
Overall, Pier View Gin
While Pier View Gin may be fairly said to be a bit light on juniper— it makes up for it in balance and flavor profile. It’s certainly a must-try for fans of contemporary herb-forward gins.
Bartenders who put it to work in cocktails that play to its strengths, will find it a beautiful gin for winning over people looking for something springish or summery.