In 2013, when the state of New Jersey passed a craft distillery bill, gins like Sourland Mountain Spirits Gin and distilleries like Sourland Mountain Spirits are what the state had in mind.
Situated on a farm, Ray Disch’s distillery is “the first farm distillery in New Jersey since prohibition.”
New Jersey isn’t exactly new to the world of distilling. Au Contraire. Linden, NJ was home to the plant which produced the lot of Gordon’s Gin consumed in the United States. In operation from 1934 to 1984, a whole lot of gin has passed through the state.
However, Sourland Mountain Spirits Gin represents a new take on New Jersey Gin. New Jerseyans are now making their own spirits and catching up with other states.
Sourland Mountain Spirits distilled their gin from grain, takes advantage of its proximity to farms and uses local water from the Sourland Mountain Preserve.
We are tasting Batch 6; Bottle 140.
Bright, freshly bruised sage on the nose and a hint of rosemary. Green juniper, mint, and coriander as well. It’s intensely herbal upon first pour. Sourland Mountain Spirits Gin preserves the herbal top notes well; they stick around in the glass even after it has a few moments to breathe.
The palate is slightly more traditional however. You get less of those herbal notes, especially at first.
Coriander, with a fruity spice about it merges with a nice clean, punchy juniper. Sourland Mountain Spirits Gin will appeal to fans of classic style gin for sure as well.
Towards the finish, there’s some herbs and baking spice notes adding some depth and character. Shades of spice bread and the like. But the finish is clean and quite classic. Dry, mildly astringent juniper with a delicate warmth. Pleasant mouthfeel as well. Sourland Mountain Spirits Gin is certainly doing quite a few things right.
I found that Sourland’s Gin is a solid mixing option as well. Delicious and clean in the Gin and Tonic, it has enough warmth along with a delightful juniper perspective to make a solid Martini— that may even appeal to fans of gins like Gordon’s.
As for more complex mixing tasks, it worked nicely in cocktails as well. It will add a pleasant juniper and herbal tinge to your next Ramos Gin Fizz (are you arms up to it?*). My favorite hands down had to be the Negroni. I used Ransom’s delicious sweet Vermouth and of course— Campari. Delicately spicy, with a pleasant punch of juniper. Recommended.
Sourland Mountain Spirits Gin walks the line between classic and contemporary. Lots of juniper and lots of coriander belie a gentle herbal and spice based background. I think fans of classic style gins will find a lot to like about Sourland’s Gin and if you’re looking for an American distilled gin to shake things up, this may be your jam.
That being said, I’d say Sourland Mountain Spirits Gin still leans slightly contemporary; however, that’s not to deny it’s appeal. A good gin for behind the bar and at the beach; gin fans of all preference should check out Sourland Mountain’s Gin.
*seriously, 12 minutes? Crazy talk. It’s still a solid double shake, with the second being at least a few minutes. But you don’t need 12. I think.