Shiver’s minimalist appearance tells it all. Shiver gin is about being environmentally friendly [recyclable bottle] and keeps the focus squarely on the gin. The water is pure [highlighting Newfoundland and Labrador’s greatest resources] and it factors prominently in the literature on the product. The vodka underneath Shiver Gin is quadruple distilled. But other than that there’s not a lot of story on this product. It’s just an inexpensive gin in a plastic bottle. Or is it?
The nose of Shiver Gin has pine, juniper, angelica with some lemon and orange notes. The low notes also lean towards the citrus with a slightly floral tweak. Pleasant notes of baking spice. Bright and fresh. Upon first nosing, it dispels the notion that the bottle defines its contents. Its nose is much more complex and inviting than you’d expect based on the graphics, labeling, and bottler material alone [don’t judge a book by it’s cover].
The palate again continues to defy expectation, with significantly more complexity than I would have surmised. Many different notes, and an unfolding taste reveals subtle intricacies. At first Shiver Gin is a touch shy, but the flavor builds quickly from there. Notes of ginger, carrot [!] and mint, rising with the action until juniper really comes through in full spades. The mid-notes are pleasant and quite gin-like, with juniper dominating with a nice citrus background. The finish reveals a touch of those carrot notes again [!?], with waves of coriander, angelica and anise. The finish has a bit of heat, but is again, still quite smooth. Juniper and lemon rind on the long finish on the back of the palate.
Don’t be scared off by some of the more surprising notes here. I don’t believe carrot is among the botanicals, and although it shone throughout the taste, it never overwhelmed or threw off course what was generally a nicely balanced, multi-facted palate. Perhaps a bit chaotic, but it defied expectations for both the appearance and the price point.
As with our previous few Canadian gins that we tested in the hotel room, we began with the Gin and Soda. Dry, with juniper coming forward. Brisk, wet, fresh pine. Very flavorful, with a touch of complexity on the finish. Although not remarkable, it was as a good classic style gin and soda.
The Gin and Tonic was next on our list. It again had a nice juniper forward profile, only this time it read as bushy, resiny and a touch oily, with a bright balanced character, nicely complimented with the quinine. A touch of carrot and anise came through in the low notes. You’ll probably get only a robust classic G&T flavor, if you drink it casually, though I think the more patient sipper might be rewarded with a bit more complexity in this drink than is available at first glance. Again, although it might not change your life, it’s good.
Finally, we mixed Shiver Gin up in a Confederation Cocktail. A rich, velvety mapleness with earthy, funky fruit somewhat dominated. A touch of juniper on the finish reminded you there was gin in here, though I think at higher proof this gin could have stood it’s own here. It seemed a little washed out when paired with a bold ingredient.
Cocktail Recommendation: Good with mixers and good where gin is clearly the star, but wilts a bit when paired with strong and bold flavored counterpoints. It will tend to get a bit list.
Overall, Shiver Gin
A good mixer, and a decent cocktail gin. Smooth with a nice flavor, it’s a good, affordable, local classic style gin. Though there might be other, better options out there, at this price and with the variety of sizes [w/ 375 mL widely available], Shiver Gin is a good classic style gin that is smooth enough and flavorful enough to appeal to most gin drinkers to some degree. Shiver surprised me and is a reminder [as many others have been on this site] that to judge a gin by its container or art is a fool’s errand. You’ve got to try what’s inside. Shiver Gin makes it count.
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