“What is the purpose of creation?” One may ask. In the case of the the Tommyrotter Distillery’s namesake, the question itself suggests a history and a past. Perhaps even a manifesto.
“To create for the sake of creation,” or to put it alternatively, creation itself is the goal. And all those existential hangups like reception, acceptance, critical acclaim* matter much less. Having simply done it. To have painted! to have sang! to have written! to have distilled a gin! That is the goal, and the rest. It’s simply the rest.
Anyway, that’s the gist of the story as told on the back of the bottle. The distillery itself is located in Buffalo, NY, distilling from New York grain with a “deliberate blend” of botanicals; the titular “American Gin” suggests an intentional design choice in focusing on other notes rather than putting juniper at the forefront.
Certainly a floral leaning nose, with hints of spice and a touch of citrus. Bright and contemporary, with a touch of juniper nipping around the edges. Cinnamon bark prominent at first nose, growing into a lush cardamom led aroma. There’s a bit of bitter orange and citrus a bit deeper.
The spirit itself is clean and smooth, with a pleasant mouthfeel. The palate is true to the nose, with a great deal of cardamom and cassia notes; a strong floral note with a big of the heady, dusky richness of rose mid-palate. Spice comes in as the spirit washes back over the throat; a ton of cardamom really, but I’m also getting some tinge of coriander, along with a hint of cubeb and peppercorn. Astonishingly easy to sip, with a very smooth approachable palate that even, suggests a proof lower than it is, at a respectable 42% ABV. Very light. The finish is medium in length with only a hint of heat, and a lot of the aforementioned spice notes.
As far as cocktails go, I love this gin in a gin and tonic, but I found it to be an incredibly versatile gin for most mixing assignments as well. Liked it in the Negroni, with the creamy cardamom notes mixing with the cloying bitter notes of the Campari; I also found it to be a good Martini, because of how smooth and accessible it is. Overall, fans of both sipping gins and gin cocktails will find a lot to like here.
If you’re looking for juniper, you’ll merely find nods to it here; Fans of very classic style gins might be advised to look elsewhere. But for those looking for a loud, but balanced spice/floral forward contemporary gin that works well everywhere you might want a gin to, Tommyrotter Distiller American Gin is a workhorse craft gin with a bold perspective that I think is worth a closer look. Provided you’re into Cardamom in your gins**. I’m a fan and look forward to trying more from them.
*Yes, as a critic in a critical forum, I appreciate the irony here.
** There is a small, but vociferous, portion of the gin critic world, that are voting against cardamom this autumn.