You may be surprised to learn that there is a Poland Spring brand of gin*. But collectors aren’t.
Poland Spring Gin, Poland Spring Sloe Gin, Poland Spring Vodka and yes— water too, were all produced by a Poland Spring area hotel starting in the late 19th century. These co-called Moses bottles are shaped like a bearded man, and are so sought after by collectors, that entire guides have been published to help people determine which are the rarest and most valuable. You can find such bottles on Ebay, priced in accordance of their rarity.
Poland Spring as a brand of gin dates back to the days immediately following prohibition. The Moses bottles haven’t been produced for some time; however, their popularity endures, especially in New England where they were once common.
The gin is a plastic jug style gin, that says “London Dry Gin” distilled from 100% grain neutral spirits and bottled at 40% ABV.
Poland Spring Gin’s nose has a bit of ethanol and barbershop aroma on the nose. There’s a slight hint of sweetish smelling green juniper cast amidst a hazy, slightly musty aroma.
The palate is slightly acrid, especially at first. Intensely bitter, Poland Spring Gin has an apothecary-type flavor. Tell-tale note of green and slightly pine-forward juniper hits mid-palate, before fading quickly into a slight hint of cinnamon and spice.
The finish is long, with bitter notes of inexpensive vodka, ethanol and rubbing alcohol.
The astringency and dryness you might expect from an inexpensive classic gin are certainly there; however, especially on its own— Poland Spring Gin is a bit rough.
Gins in bottles of this size tend to be designed for primarily mixed drinks. Poland Spring Gin fits the bill. Some of the bitterness is offset by the addition of Tonic Water, but it’s still a bitter Gin and Tonic.
I’d suggest mixing Poland Spring Gin with dominant, bold, mixers. Gin and Ginger, Gin and Juice, and Gin Sour (with sour mix), perhaps do their best to show the gin’s strongest assets. It can mix in scarce amounts (a 7:1 Gin Sour Mix for example) and still get you drunk with the flavor nearly entirely masked.
I think where it perhaps comes up short in the mixing category is that in order to completely mask some of the off notes, you have to mask it so much you can’t taste the juniper. And at that point, it makes it hard to recommend of vodka.
Poland Spring Gin is stereotypical of inexpensive gin. It’s rough on the palate, it lacks balance, and is otherwise disappointing even in its designed uses.
*Not the water company.
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