Skol Gin is distilled by J.A. Dougherty’s & Sons in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s distilled from grain and bottled at 40% ABV. Additionally it’s part of the Barton family of brands (Sazerac) which includes other historic brands like Flesichmann’s, Mr. Boston, Glenmore, and Crystal Palace.
Though the bottle lays claim to quite a history: “famous since 1849.” I can find scant mention of Skol Gin before the 1980’s.
Faintly acidic with a slight note of rubber, Skol Gin smells slightly unwelcome in a glass all by itself. Hints of something terpenic are present. There is a hint of pine on the nose, but it suggests to me slightly more turpentine than outright juniper.
Sipped, Skol Gin is a little more appealing. Lots of juniper, with even a slightly piney note. Coriander and other botanical notes seem present.
The finish of Skol Gin is a bit harsh. Ethanol and notes of orange peel predominate. It’s slightly sweet with an enduring warmth in the back of the throat.
If you’re buying Skol Gin, I can only assume you’re not buying it to drink neat, in Martinis or other spirit forward cocktails.
If mixing, I’d suggest combining it with a powerful garnish. The nose is by far the most unappealing part. If you’re doing a Gin and Tonic— pair it with a sweet tonic first off— and then add a lime wheel. If you’re doing a gin and juice— garnish it with an orange wedge. Or Maraschino cherry. Your call.
Skol Gin won’t wow you in the flavor department. Yes, a hint of juniper does pervade even the most aggressive gin + _______ mixed drink. It accomplishes the bare minimum goals for a gin— well and that Skol will also get you drunk.
In the past ten years, we’ve steadily seen an increase in the quality of gins on the bottom shelf. If you want to spend as little on gin as possible, check out these other inexpensive brands: Gibson’s Gin, New Amsterdam Gin*, Pinnacle Gin, Faber’s Gin, or even the perpetually cheap Gordon’s Gin.
Skol Gin is unfortunately a mediocre option as far as gins go— even at its price point.
*If you know how I feel about that gin, and you see that I’m recommending it here— it’s because for all of its shortcomings, it’s a better product than this one.
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