I always have one piece of advice for a distiller considering producing a barrel aged gin. “Consider the barrel as if a botanical.” Vermont-based Stonecutter Spirits built their base gin for Stonecutter Spirits Single Barrel Gin around the barrel they were choosing to use.
This is where Stonecutter Spirits was positioned uniquely. Their current product offering does not include a dry, unaged gin. This allowed them the luxury of treating aged gin as if a first-class spirit category in its own right.
In short, they write— “[Stonecutter Spirits] Single Barrel Gin was specifically designed to compliment a four month rest in former Kentucky bourbon barrels. We hand-selected seven botanicals that highlight and enhance the warm toasted caramel notes from the barrel.”
Color: Straw hue, perfectly transparent.
Aroma: Slightly spice forward nose. Hints of cardamom, toasted popcorn and vanilla. Subtle blend of botanical and wood character. Quite nice and inviting.
Flavor: Strong citrus presence. Oily orange leads into a heart with cardamom and coriander combining to create a pleasant spice. Juniper begins to rise through here as well.
The green juniper contributes a nice piney, richness to the back half. Bitter orange peel and a hint of menthol begin to rise.
Finish: Slight hints of vanillin, crisp dry oak, mint, and a toasty hint of burnt sugar. Stonecutter Spirits Single Barrel Gin brings a moderate length finish with pleasant warmth, light tannins, and a rather light astringency.
I would characterize this gin as being botanically driven. The usual vanilla and wood notes are restrained. They add character, but the botanicals are the stars in Stonecutter Spirits Single Barrel Gin.
The pleasant smoothness and robust botanical presence definitely positions this gin as a solid neat or on the rocks option.
While robust sipped on their own, the botanicals can be a bit muted when mixed. I like it with a softer cola such as Q Cola. A gin and cola with Coke or Pepsi might overshadow it. I think the same about mixing with ginger beer. They work together, as long as the beer isn’t too strong.
It’s lightness and strong botanical presence makes it a great choice for an Alexandria or Aged Gin Old Fashioned. It is beautiful in a Hot Toddy.
Overall, Stonecutter Spirits Single Barrel Gin
There’s a delightful balance evidence in this gin. Much of it owes to intention and deliberate design. Great barrel choice, and the proper restraint in aging duration so that the light botanicals persist in the gin.
Highly recommended. If you’re not a fan of barrel aged gins (yet), Stonecutter Spirits Single Barrel Gin is a great place to start.