A. van Wees distillery de Ooievaar is best known for its Genevers, which is the last traditional Genever distillery in Amsterdam (well, so they say). In operation since the late 18th century, the distillery now has 18 different takes on the traditional Dutch spirits, and more than a few gins as well. Three Corner Dry Gin is something of a curiosity owing to its rather lean botanical bill. Simply lemon and juniper, its an apt exploration for students of gin looking to focus on learning the ways different botanicals taste in isolation, but more than that, despite its simplicity it’s a rather versatile gin with a rather distinctive flavor to boot.
The nose sings with the two primary ingredients. Piney, herbaceous juniper complemented by stark, bitter lemon zest, which slowly contradicts itself with aroma of bitter orange as it opens up in the air. A deep, warm nose that despite being only two notes, it stands out to the drinker and is quite recognizable alongside other gins.
The palate is clean and despite what you get on the nose, it’s restrained and somewhat understated. At first, crisp pine accentuated juniper berries, with citrus, this time chiefly lemon, zest lifting the finish. Warmth emerges from the finish with hints of cubeb and grains of paradise like notes characterizing a pleasant lift. Medium-long, it starts with a dull throbbing warmth, receding gently as an ebbing wave, quietly petering out with a whisper of juniper.
Despite the simplicity, it works well as a cocktail ingredient, and of note, in drinks that feature gin prominently it rises to the occasion. I love the Martini with this gin, finding that Vermouth is sterling co-star, but don’t forgot to try variations like the Pascal Martini (not familiar? check out my recent book!) or the Alaska Cocktail. The Aviation warrants closer look as well, as the lemon notes complement and without any floral notes to intervene, the violet sings, and yet while being good like this it has enough strength to be heard in a Negroni as well. Overall, it’s a good mixer that punches above its price and can do cocktails and mixed drinks well and in equal measure.
Three Corner Gin finds solace in simplicity, Three Corner Dry Gin takes only two botanicals, and makes them both stars in equal measure, resulting in a gin that I think has enough citrus to appeal to fans of contemporary citrus-forward styles, and enough focus on the juniper and traditional to win over the purists. It’s a win/win, and a good gin as well. Recommended