Dark Corner Distillery was the first modern distillery in South Carolina making gin, and their gin is called White Tiger Gin. The name likely comes from the botanical note of their gin, as they mention on their site: “featuring an exotic blend of Far East botanicals including Szechuan pepper, lemongrass, Thai basil and jasmine.“
Since White Tiger Gin’s 2013 launch and it’s subsequent discontinuation, the team at Dark Corner spent some time conducting market research and identified a gap in the market which they looked to fill with their 2017 releases Jocassee and Jocassee Aged Gin.
Smells instantly gin like, but still rather subtle. A faint note of black pepper. Understated, but primarily juniper-like. Hints of heat too.
The taste of White Tiger Gin is distinctly contemporary in character. A little bit oily on the lips, juniper and peppercorn start out, but the heat and power of the botanicals rise rather quickly. There’s a crescendo where a lot of things are happening all at once. A note of black pepper and juniper flares suddenly against the backdrop of moonshine, you get a bit of a traditional gin taste, some coriander and earthy notes, combined with bright lemongrass and a muted floral character.
The heat is rather intense here. It fades then, lingering hot in the back of the mouth, a little bit sour with perhaps a hint of citrus and some more of that peppercorn note and just a hint of a malty, woodsy aftertaste.
Overall, it is bold and strongly flavored, with a bright long lasting finish. At 90 proof it is not terribly strong in terms of proof but the heat is pronounced, especially in a drier martini. It might be too much for some. But then again, an approach that is not entirely subtle can be an asset in cocktail craft. I enjoy the way it shines brightly in a Gin and Tonic and I really thought perhaps it was at its best in a Rolls Royce cocktail. I thought that the drinks it worked best in were served straight up and featured herbal and other strongly flavored ingredients. Although it works with citrus, I found myself reaching back for the White Tiger more often with that other category of drinks.
Overall, White Tiger Gin
It is bold and strongly flavored and unlike some gins which choose on Asian botanical as a point of difference, Dark Corner Distillery crafts a gin which is built from multiple exotic ingredients and has a really nice flavor which is unlike anything else out there right now. That being said, your mileage with White Tiger is likely going to rest with how much you like those exotic botanicals.
If you were a fan and are looking for a similar and accessible gin on the market still, check out Opihr Gin.