Polo Club America Dry Gin
Review: Polo Club America Dry Gin 82/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published April 29, 2014
Polo Club American Dry Gin is a product of Minhas Micro Distillery located in Munroe, Wisconsin. According to the press information provided to me by MCBSW Sales (agents for Polo Club in Alberta), their American Dry Gin is an artisan spirit crafted in small batches from “ultra clean neutral grain spirit” and steeped with botanicals which include juniper, lemon peel, coriander, and licorice. The neutral grain spirit is apparently distilled ten times using a patent pending process (US Patent Application Number 13/843036) on a copper pot still.
Despite the small batch process, and the multiple distillations of the neutral grain spirit; the Polo Club American Dry Gin is very affordable in my market. As the advertising sheets I saw claim,
“The botanicals are steeped, but the price is not steep.”
I was provided a bottle of the Polo Club American Dry Gin by MCBSW Sales for the purpose of this review on my website.
In the Bottle 4/5
To the left is an image of the Polo Club American Dry Gin bottle presentation. The label on my bottle (pictured at the bottom) is slightly different, and I suspect that the company uses a variety of slightly different label configurations depending upon the local market.
I like most of what I see although perhaps the neck of the bottle could be lengthened a little to make pouring easier. (A short necked bottle tends to spill easily.) The synthetic cork is a nice touch as is the higher than normal 44 % alcohol by volume bottling strength.
In the Glass 8/10
I poured myself a small glass of the Polo Club American Gin and gave my glass a tilt and slow swirl. A nice oily sheen was imparted on the inside of my glass, and after a moment or two a few long slender legs began to run down the inside of the glass. The slender legs are perhaps an indication of the higher than normal alcohol strength of the Polo Club Gin or perhaps indicates a lightly oily texture which may give this spirit a little length in the finish.
As I nosed the glass, an assertive juniper aroma (which reminded me of spruce boughs) climbed up into the breezes accompanied by lightly sweet zesty scents of lemon and lime citrus. I also detected a very light pungent spiciness similar to ginger and cardamom which lay somewhat hidden in between more assertive juniper and citrus. As I spent time nosing the glass, this spiciness increased slowly coming out of the shadows and becoming the dominant characteristic of the nose. There is a hint of harshness in the breezes above the glass which is no doubt a reflection of the 88 proof bottling strength.
In the Mouth 49.5/60
The entry onto the palate brings forward a firm pungent spiciness which contains an obvious influence of coriander but also subtle hints of ginger and cardamom. The gin (in my opinion) has a very traditional flavour profile as I taste a firm lightly bitter juniper and zesty lemon citrus flavours imbedded within those pungent spices. As I sip, the spiciness seems to increase (especially the impression of coriander). I also seem to catch more glimpses of ginger and building rye spices as well. There is also a firm impression of black licorice within the flavour and perhaps a hint of lemon grass.
The spirit does not lend itself well to sipping as the botanical flavours are assertive rather than subdued, and the spiciness builds with each sip. However, the aggressive flavour profile does seem to be begging me to mix a few gin cocktails. My preferred gin recipes are my own Key Lime Gimlet, and the Lime Fizz and both recipes tasted rather nice with the Polo Club Gin (especially the Lime Fizz). I also thought the gin tasted rather well when I mixed a Gin and Tonic. When I tried a Gin Martini however, I found the pungent spiciness of the spirit perhaps pushed through the bar drink a little more forcefully than I preferred, and so I contented myself the (the next day) making cocktails with fruit juice and ice (see recipe below)!
In the Throat 12.5/15
The gin exits with triumvirate flavours of juniper, coriander and black licorice assuming the starring role during the finale. (The citrus flavours seem to have decided to play in the shadows during the finish.) I feel a light burn; but because this is not a sipping spirit, I do not punish the score, especially as the higher alcohol content seemed to work very well in the cocktails I constructed.
The Afterburn 8/10
The folks who are producing the Polo Club American Dry Gin at the Minhas Micro Distillery do not appear to be breaking new ground here, as the aroma and the flavours from the glass represents a very traditional gin profile. The flavour is assertive and spicy, and my conclusion is that the Polo Club Gin will be a good choice for those who want to mix traditional gin cocktails. As I stated earlier, that assertive spiciness pushes its way through the cocktails and this works especially well when mixing with fruit juice or soda.
You may read some of my other Gin Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
Cara Cara oranges are a navel variety orange grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley. They have a bright orange peel with just a touch of a pinkish hue, and their interior flesh is distinctively pinkish similar to a pink grapefruit. The flavour of this orange is unique representing a sort of hybrid mixture of tangerine and traditional navel orange flavour with an unusual (but delightful) sweetness. I have recently found that this variety of orange is a great choice for cocktails.
Cara Cara Gin Cocktail
2 oz Polo Club American Dry Gin
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Cara Cara Orange Juice
3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup
Add the first four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
(Use both crushed ice and ice cubes)
Shake until the sides of the metal shaker frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a cucumber
(You may add the cucumber to the drink)
Note: If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret that score as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing spirit. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)