Spirit Hound Distillers have been making gin since their opening in 2011. The distillery was inundated by historic floods in 2013 which damaged their built-completely-by-hand stills. But Spirit Hound rebounded and their Spirit Hound Gin is now on batch #332 a testament to their resilience. Each batch is rather small and numbered to emphasize that there may be slight differences from run to run.
The gin itself starts on those aforementioned hand built still and uses a gin basket to vapor infuse the botanical blend. Perhaps most unique about Spirit Hound Gin is that juniper is foraged for locally along the shores of the St. Vrain Creek just outside Lyons, Colorado.
Like many Colorado distilleries, Spirit Hound embraces the local and the Coloradoan in their gin.
The nose of Spirit Hound Gin is gently spiced with some pleasant woody juniper notes as well. Fennel seed, sweet anise with a phenolic and cassia undertone, it’s clearly a spice-forward contemporary style gin at first nose.
The palate is strongly situated in the same aromatic family. Spirit Hound is brightly anise-kissed early, with resiny, woody juniper adding balance mid-palate. Hints of cinnamon studded orange zest and other lighter notes elevate the mid-palate as the aniseed and fennel notes become a bit darker and more mentholic. Clove slowly radiates from the back as does some resinous streaks of juniper.
Spirit Hound Gin has a thick, woody spice flavor that gives it an earthy and robust flavor profile.
Mixing with Spirit Hound Gin, it’s best to consider the spice-forward approach. This lends itself nicely to earthy, robust mixers like sweet Vermouth, dry Vermouth, amaro and aromatic tonic waters.
Fans of anise flavor will appreciate the texture and flavor in a Martini— even better with two dashes of Maraschino in the Pascal Martini.
Bartenders should be advised that Spirit Hound Gin deviates a bit from cliches about gin as a category and fans of Gordon’s or Plymouth might not prefer it as a replacement for more established and well known gins.
Overall, Spirit Hound Gin
Spirit Hound Distillers were definitely on the forefront of the spice-forward contemporary style when they launched in 2011. Although the space is more crowded now than it was, Spirit Hound Gin is an excellent example of how a spice forward botanical blend can be well executed.
If you’re a fan of anise or spice-forward gins, you’re going to love Spirit Hound. Others may find that while the juniper is not lacking, that the spice is the star and should proceed accordingly.