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Archive for the ‘Gin’ Category

The Year In Gin – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 28, 2015

RH-winner2015Gin appears to be on the upswing, at least that is the impression I receive when I walk into the local liquor stores. I see dozens of new brands alongside the traditional favourites. One reason for all of these new brands of Gin is closely associated with the upswing another spirit entirely, and that spirit is whisky. Whisky has been increasing in popularity for many years now, and to meet the rising demand for whisky, new distilling capacity is being introduced in the form of new distilleries and micro-distilleries throughout North America (and elsewhere). Whisky (in most countries) must be aged for two to three years before it can be sold which means that start-up distilleries in need of cashflow produce and sell their own brands of gin and vodka (which do not need to age) so that they have at least something to generate income while the whisky ages in the oak barrels.

Coinciding with this phenomena is the ongoing cocktail revolution which shows no sign of abating. While Vodka was the spirit of choice at the beginning of the Cocktail Revolution, things are changing and more and more bartenders and home enthusiasts are discovering Gin. The juniper spirit, with its sharp piny aromatics is perhaps the perfect cocktail spirit to turn to when broadening the horizons of cocktail flavour.

Those who read my blog regularly know that I have joined the revolution and embraced gin as one of my go to cocktail spirits. I have embraced the Gin and Tonic, and recently discovered James Bond’s Vesper Martini.

And so with all that ado, it is time for me to pay tribute to the best Gin spirits I encountered in 2015.

Here is a link to my Gin Awards Page:

The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin

 

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#16 Citadelle Reserve Gin 2011 Edition (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2015

Citadelle Gin has a history which stretches back to 1775 when King Louis XVI authorized two Frenchmen, Carpeau and Stival, to open a genievre distillery at the Citadelle in Dunkirk, which would serve as the Royal Distillery with an exclusive 20 year privilege.  The Citadelle Distillery produced about 1000 litres of genievre per day which was predominantly shipped in small casks for sale in England, where gin was very popular.

Citadelle Reserve Gin (2011 Edition) SAM_1879About 200 years later in 1989,  Alexandre Gabriel of Cognac Ferrand, recognized that in France, gin had become more of an industrial spirit with much of the heritage and refinement lessened by time. He decided to create a handcrafted gin using small copper pots in the style and tradition of the Citadelle Distillery of old. Fortunately records existed of the old gin making techniques at the Citadelle Distillery, and after several years of research Alexandre Gabriel was successful in distilling an old style handcrafted gin under the Citadelle name. The Gin is produced at the Cognac Ferrand facilities in Cognac, France, and according to the Citadelle Gin website, it is produced under naked flame in small copper pot stills using a complex array of 19 botanicals.

Here is a link to the review of the best gin I have ever tasted, and the #16 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#16 – Citadelle Reserve Gin (2011 Edition)

“… The aroma which drifts upwards is light and elegant, and very appealing. Mild piny notes of juniper seem to lead into the breezes with scents of lemon and balsam arriving almost as quickly. The oak manifests itself as sandalwood with light rye spices which build up as the glass sits. There is also a soothing floral characteristic to the nose which reminds me of  lilacs in the springtime …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

Posted in Awards, Extras, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

#59 The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 27, 2015

The Botanist is the creation of Bruichladdich Master Distiller, Jim McEwan. The spirit is produced upon an old Lomond Still in a distillation process which lasts 17 hours. During the final distillation, the core botanicals are placed into the pot of the still in a particular order after the distillate has been raised to a hand hot temperature. These core botanicals (I believe there are 9 in all) are steeped in the hot distillate for 12 hours before distillation begins.

Bot and Tonic SAM_1260Interestingly, in addition to the core botanicals, the gin also uses 22 unique Islay botanicals which have been gathered by hand from the hills and valleys which surround the distillery. These Island botanicals are placed in loosely woven muslin sacks and then into a casket within the lyne arm of the Lomond still where the vapours of the distillation will run through them near the end of the distillation process bringing a unique Islay character to the Botanist Gin.

Here is a link to the review of the #59 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#59 – The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

“… Although the juniper is firm, as the glass rests, the breezes above the glass fill with the subtle nuances of the other botanicals. Ginger-like spices tickle the nose along with hints of spicy cinnamon and cardamom. A light impression of mojito mint weaves its way into the breezes along with lightly bitter undertones of the broken tops of Russian Blue Thistle and the lightly sweet herbaceous tones of sweet clover blossoms …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#76 Beefeater 24 (London Dry Gin)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 10, 2015

Beefeater London Dry Gin has roots stretching back to 1820, when the Chelsea Distillery was constructed on Cale Street and served as the first home for Beefeater Gin. The founder of the company, James Burrough, was not born until 1835, and it was not until about 1876 that the Beefeater brand was created from gin produced at the Chelsea Distillery. Over time the brand has changed locations twice, first in 1908 to Hutton Road, and then in 1958 to its present location in Kennington.

Beefeater 24Beefeater 24 and T SAM_1250  is advertised as being handcrafted with 12 botanicals which include grapefruit, bitter almond, orris root, Seville orange peel, rare Japanese Sencha tea and Chinese green tea. This makes the new Beefeater 24 gin more complex in construction than the flagship brand, Beefeater London Dry Gin which lists 9 ingredients. There are other differences as well, the Beefeater 24 is bottled at a higher proof (45 % alcohol by volume) which to me seems most welcome, and all of the ingredients are apparently steeped in grain alcohol for 24 hours prior to a 7 hour distillation where the master distiller makes an artisan cut by hand from the heart of the distillation run.

Here is a link to my review of the #76 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#76 – Beefeater 24 (London Dry Gin)

“… There is a ‘freshness’ rising out of the glass and I liken it to the scent of an alpine forest on a warm spring day when the snow melt is just beginning. The aroma of evergreen boughs and juniper jumps out of the glass pushed ahead by a crisp citrus-like aroma (grapefruit, orange and lemon in that order of dominance) …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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# 86 No. 3 London Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 30, 2015

Berry Bros. & Rudd is London’s oldest wine and spirits merchant with over 300 years of experience and tradition to draw on. Use this expertise and a team of spirits experts they created No. 3 London Dry Gin. The recipe is based upon three fruits and three spices, and to those I shall speak to in the review. However, I shall say as a bit of foreshadowing, that sometimes artistry can be found in simplicity.

I first sampled the No. 3 Gin at a store called Lacombe Park Spirits in St. Albert, Alberta. I have come to know the proprietors, Karim and his brother Jeff, quite well over the past couple of years, and when Karim discovered that I was about to venture into a series of Gin reviews he insisted that I try one of his favourites.

London No. 3 SAM_1251I was convinced after one sip that this was a gin which I wanted to review, and after contacting the website for No. 3 London Dry Gin, Ross Hendry from Berry Brothers & Rudd, arranged for me to receive a bottle sample with of course the help of the local distributor Charton Hobbs.

Here is a link to my review of the #86 Spirit in my Rum Howler 2015 Top 100 Spirits Countdown:

#86 – No. 3 London Dry Gin

“… When that first sample was poured for me at Lacombe Spirits, the first thing I noticed was the assertiveness of the aroma around the glass. I commented to Karim (the proprietor of Lacombe Park Spirits) that this was exactly how I liked my gin to smell in the glass. The nose was full of juniper, but it was not sharp and unpleasant, rather it was full of aromatics which lifted the juniper scent out of the glass and then surrounded it with floral notes and a beguiling sweetness …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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Review: Boodles British Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 25, 2015

BLT SAM_1648

The BLT (Boodles, Lime and Tonic)

Boodles British Gin was apparently first produced by Cock Russell & Company in 1845. The spirit was named in reference to Boodle’s Gentlemen’s Club in St. James’s, London, which was operated by the original Edward Boodle in 1762. (As far as I could determine, Edward Boodle had no part in making the gin, he was simply the Club’s head waiter.) In 2012, the brand was purchased by Proximo Spirits of New Jersey.

The gin is produced from distilled British wheat. This neutral spirit is subsequently re-distilled in a Carter Head copper still, which allows the botanicals to infuse gradually into the spirit. According to the Boodles website, the recipe for Boodles contains no citrus elements; but it does contain traditional herbs and spices which include nutmeg, sage, and rosemary (and of course juniper). A further five ingredients round out the recipe, and it is expected to be served in cocktails or over ice with a slice of citrus (lemon or lime).

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Boodles British Gin

“… The juniper is firm and dominating, however it does not seem to be bitter or unpleasant. The light but firm citrus elements and the bits of spice which surround the juniper seem to lift the spirit and everything is in harmony …”

Following the review is my recipe suggestion for the Boodles British Gin, the BLT (Boodles, Lime and Tonic). Please enjoy responsibly.

Chimo!

 

Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: Gilbey’s London Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 14, 2015

Gilbey’s Gin is owned by spirits conglomerate Diageo; but it is produced and sold under its current license by Beam Suntory. The Beam Suntory website does not contain extensive information regarding Gilbey’s; however I did find this statement which describes its production:

“In making a fine London Dry Gin such as Gilbey’s, the fermentation process is similar to whiskey production. The fundamental difference is that the congeners, the natural taste elements that are so necessary to Bourbon and Scotch are absent. Instead, gin’s flavor is introduced to the alcohol when it is in a vaporous form and made to pass through a “filter” of juniper berries, herbs and spices.”

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Gilbey’s London Dry Gin

“… I discovered a very traditional gin profile with firm juniper aromas leading out in front of lightly sweet citrus scents of orange and lemon. There are some fine spices in the breezes which remind me coriander, ginger and cardamon, as well as some floral accents resembling lilacs and white lilies …”

Please enjoy my review which includes two nice recipe suggestions, Gilbey’s and Tonic, and a Vesper Cocktail.

Chimo!

Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Tanqueray Rangpur Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 5, 2015

Lady of the Empire

Lady of the Empire

Tanqueray Gin was originally produced by Charles Tanqueray in London, England in 1830 at the Bloomsbury Distillery. The distillery prospered through the nineteenth century; but after being in production for over one hundred years, it was badly damaged in the bombing raids of World War II by the German air force. One still survived, and this still affectionately called “Old Tom” was moved to the new facilities in Cameron, Scotland where Tanqueray gin is currently produced. Tangueray Rangpur is a new style of gin from Tangueray. Whereas their flagship gin simply called Tanqueray is a traditional London Dry Gin which features , juniper, coriander, angelica root and licorice as the four major botanicals used in its construction. The Rangpur on the other hand is not labeled as a London Dry Gin, (it is simple labeled Gin) and according to the Tanqueray website features the Rangpur Lime as one of its major botanicals along with Juniper, Coriander, Bay leaves and Ginger.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Tanqueray Rangpur Gin

“… The aroma from the glass is more citrus forward with scents of both lime and lemon dominating the breezes and the juniper trailing along behind. The Rangpur also seems to have a stronger herbal component with hints of menthol and grassy lemonbalm. The spiciness of the coriander and ginger is very restrained …”

Please enjoy the review which is followed by one of my gin cocktails, the Lady of the Empire.

Chimo!

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Review: 1830 Sahara Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 1, 2015

Sahara and Tonic SAM_1258Highwood Distillers is a Canadian distillery situated in the town of High River, Alberta, which lies just about 40 minutes due south of Calgary, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. The distillery was originally established as the Sunnyvale Distillery in 1974, however it was renamed ‘Highwood Distillers’ in 1984 linking the Distillery geographically to the nearby Highwood River and the scenic foothills in which the Town of High River is situated. Several years ago I visited the distillery and watched first hand as (using a batch still) they turned the local wheat into whisky, vodka, and gin.

1830 Sahara Dry Gin is a step up from Highwood’s very dry Sahara Dry Gin (click on the link to read the previous review) and features a slightly sweeter, somewhat more citrus forward flavour profile. It is produced from Canadian wheat and naturally sourced Rocky Mountain water. The botanicals mentioned on the Highwood website are juniper, citrus of orange, lemon, and lime. There are of course a few other secret botanicals not mentioned  which are all added just prior to the final distillation.

Here is a link to my review of the spirit which won last summer’s Rum Howler Gin and Tonic Challenge, the 1830 Sahara Dry Gin.

Review: 1830 Sahara Dry Gin

“… The nose has indications of juniper with lighter accents of lemon, orange and mild scents of black licorice. There is also impressions of a mint-like scent mingling within the breezes and additional scents of spruce boughs, and white flowers. The impression is of a mellow spirit which promises to be laid back and enjoyable …”

Cheers Everyone!

Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: No. 209 Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 17, 2015

209 Long Darby SAM_1425

No. 209 Gin and the Long Darby.

No. 209 Gin is produced by a company called Distillery No. 209 who is apparently located on the waterfront on San Francisco’s Pier 50. Their gin is produced from a four times distilled (multi-column distillation) corn-based spirit. Although the main flavour of any gin must be juniper, the company uses a variety of botanicals (some of which they are quite secretive about) in the gin’s construction. Some of the major botanicals which the company does identify along with juniper are bergamot orange, lemon peel, cardamom pods, cassia bark, angelica root and coriander seeds.

All of the botanicals are macerated overnight within the corn-based distillate, and the resulting infused alcohol is then distilled a fifth time upon a Copper pot Forsythe still. This final distillation takes about 11 hours, with the head and tails of the distillation discarded and only the heart captured as No. 209 gin. The final spirit (according to my bottle) is bottled at 92 proof or 46 per cent alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: No. 209 Gin

“… The breezes above the glass initially reveal a lightly sweetened aroma which carries impressions of lemon balsam and orange peel citrus with deeper richer notes of juniper developing over time. There seems to be a hint of spiciness in the air which reminds me of ginger, coriander and cardamom …”

I provide a recipe for delicious Collins-style bar drink at the conclusion of the review which I have named, the Long Darby.

Please enjoy my review and my suggested bar drink.

Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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