Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 26, 2014
Yesterday, I had a few of my friends over for a bit of a spirits tasting. I chose three aged spirits for the group to analyze (more on those in a later posting), and afterwards I made some gin cocktails for everyone to enjoy. The first gin I poured was Hendrick’s, and the cocktail which I chose to showcase the gin was the classic Tin and Tonic. The Hendrick’s and Fever Tree Tonic I served went over so well that I decided to revisit the Hendrick’s Gin review which I had written about three years ago.
The people who make Hendrick’s Gin pride themselves on being just a little quirky, and perhaps a bit eccentric. Their offbeat website revels in the odd and the peculiar and tries to convince all who peruse the site that Hendrick’s Gin is special exactly because of the things which make it odd and peculiar.
The gin is produced in Scotland, in the village of Girvin, Ayrshire by William Grant & Sons (who are perhaps better known for their whisky distillations than their gin). It is made small batches (450 litre batch size) using two unusual stills, a copper Bennett Still which has been dated to 1860, and a Carter-Head still made in 1948. These stills each serve a different purpose, but together they create a unique gin made with 11 different botanicals, and infused with cucumber and rose petals one batch at a time.
You may read my full review as well as my take on a quirky Gin and Tonic by clicking the link below:
“… The nose begins with mild citrus tones which are accented by juniper. I catch hints of lemon-lime and orange as well as a fleeting impression of black licorice and fennel. The impressions continue to be fleeting with hints of light familiar scents, perhaps a touch of lilac, and perhaps something more earthy like damp moss. This is very complex …”
Please enjoy the review and if you happen to have a bottle of Henricks’ Gin handy, do try the Hendrick’s and Fever Tree Tonic cocktail which concludes the review!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Gin, Gin and Tonic, Gin Review, Hendrick's Gin | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 15, 2014
With Spring finally arriving, I am continuing on my Spring series of Gin reviews to welcome in the warmer weather. This week I take a second look at two Beefeater Gins. Beefeater London Dry Gin and Beefeater 24.
Beefeater is currently produced in Kennington, a district of South East London, in the United Kingdom. The company 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.
The Beefeater Gin website lists 9 botanicals which are used to flavour its flagship spirit and they are juniper from the hills of Italy, Siberia and Macedonia; Seville orange peel; bitter almonds; ground orris root; coriander seeds; angelica (seeds and root); licorice; and lemon peel.
Here is the link to the full Review for Beefeater London Dry Gin:
“… Soft piny notes of juniper arise beside predominant scents of orange and lemon citrus. Because I know what other botanicals are used in the gin’s construction, I am able to discern some notes of coriander and very faints wisps of licorice …”
Beefeater 24 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 Beefeater 24 Gin more complex in construction than the regular beefeater Gin which listed 9 ingredients. There are other differences as well, The new 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 the Link to the full review for Beefeater 24:
“… 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 is melt just beginning. The aroma of evergreen boughs and juniper jumps out of the glass pushed ahead by a crisp citrus-like aroma…”
Please enjoy each review!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Beefeater 24, Beefeater Gin, Gin, Gin Reiview | Comments Off on Revisiting Beefeater Gin (and the 24 too)!
Posted by Arctic Wolf on May 9, 2014
London No. 1 Original Blue Gin is a product of Gonzalas Byass who are a Spanish wine/cellars company which also produces a variety of distilled spirits including brandy, anisette, botanical vodka and of course gin. Their gin is triple distilled (from English grain in London, England) on a traditional pot still in small batches by Master Distiller, Charles Maxwell. According to the London No. 1 website the gin is distilled with 12 key botanicals which include: Juniper from Croatia; Angelica root and Savory from France; Coriander from Morocco; Cassia bark from China, Liquorice from Turkey, Cinnamon from Ceylon, Almond from Greece; and Lemon peel, Orange peel, Lily root and Bergamot from Italy.
Big Blue Sexy
The product was first test marketed in Spain, and is now being launched in limited quantities internationally. It is bottled at 47 % alcohol by volume ensuring a more concentrated flavour than more traditional distilled spirits which are bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
I was given a bottle for review by Woodman Wines and Spirits Inc. who have informed me that this product is now available again in limited quantities in Ontario, Canada. (I have seen it on the shelves here in Alberta as well.)
You may read my review by Clicking on the following excerpt.
“… The aroma from the glass is intensely floral. It has a sharp quality which similar to freshly bloomed lilacs. The more familiar gin aromas of earthy juniper, spicy cardamom, lemon peel and orange citrus lie somewhat behind that floral intensity …”
I included a classic cocktail recipe, The Pegu Club Cocktail, with this review, as well as a recipe of my own, Big Blue Sexy.
Please enjoy the review and of course my included recipes, Cheers!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Big Blue Sexy, Blue Gin, Cocktails, Gin, Gin Review, London No. 1 Gin | 4 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 29, 2014
Polo Club American Dry Gin and my Cara Cara Gin Cocktail
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.”
You may read my take on this relatively new American Dry Gin by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… 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 …”
As you can see from my picture to the left, I included a recipe suggestion in my review, the Cara Cara Gin Cocktail. Perhaps if I continue to indulge in a few more gin cocktails, that stubborn winter will leave us and the warm Spring we were promised will finally arrive.
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: American Dry Gin, Cara Cara Gin Cocktail, Cocktails, Gin, MCBSW Sales, Minhas Micro Distillery, Polo Club | Comments Off on Review: Polo Club America Dry Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 13, 2014
Ungava Gin is a product of Domaine Pinnacle a family owned orchard and cidery located on a beautiful heritage property near the historic village of Frelighsburg in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Although primarily known for their Ice Cider and Maple Creams, Domaine Pinnacle also produces a very unusual Gin called Ungava.
In case you do not know, the Ungava Peninsula sits at the northern extreme of Quebec, between Labrador and the Hudson Bay. This is at first glance, a barren uncompromising land situated atop the tundra of the North Canadian shield. There are no trees to be found, and Tundra stretches (seemingly) endlessly from Ungava Bay in the east all the way to Hudson Bay in the West. To the North are the cold waters of the Hudson Strait which separates the Ungava Peninsula from Baffin Island to the North. This is (again at first glance) not the ideal place from which to begin the idea of creating a new gin.
However, if one looks a little closer (although, of course, you must look in the summertime), and if one talks to the Inuktitut people who have lived in the region for centuries, one will discover that there are a variety of botanical plants growing in the tundra right before your eyes. Six of these unique arctic botanicals (which grow wild in the region) are used in the construct of the Gin that bears this regions name. These botanicals, Nordic Juniper, Crowberry, Labrador Tea, Cloudberry, Arctic Blend, and Wild Rose Hips are hand-picked in the summertime and serve to bring a unique Northern Canadian charm to the Ungava Gin.
You may read my full review of this interesting gin by clicking on the following excerpt link:
“… The initial breezes above the glass display a nice triumvirate of juniper, lemon citrus and floral scents which seem to be integrated well with each other. As I let the scents and smells drift in the air, it seems to me that the juniper is taking the lead role in that triumvirate. The citrus smells seem to contain elements both of lemon and grapefruit zest with a touch of orange Curacao riding along in between …”
Please enjoy the review which includes my cocktail suggestion, the Nottingham Walrus!
Have a great Sunday Everyone!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Arctic Gin, Cocktails, Domaine Pinnacle, Gin, Gin Review, Nottingham Walrus, Ungava Gin | Comments Off on Review Ungava Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 20, 2013
It is that time of year again when I present my annual Rum Howler Awards where I recognize the best spirits which I have had the pleasure of sampling over the past two years. You see, I save my sample bottles after writing my reviews, and have a fun little tasting competition (usually with a few friends to help me). The aim is to determine which spirits are truly the best. My gin tastings were completed a few weeks ago, and I have complied the results for The 2013 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin.
This has been a good year for Gin. The Spirit has become more than just a base for Gin and Tonics and Martinis; it has become part of the cocktail revolution which is underway on both sides of the Atlantic (and threatening to cross the Pacific as well.) In fact, it could be said that walking side by side with the Cocktail Revolution is a new Gin Revolution. While London Dry Gin still dominates the landscape of juniper, we are at the forefront of the development of new variations upon the pinene theme. I see varieties of gin aged in oak (see review here); I see specialized flavoured gins (see review here); and I see distillers experimenting with local botanicals and spices in an effort to bring new taste profiles forward (see review here). We are even witnessing the resurrection of an heretofore almost forgotten styles of gin (see review here).
This year, I invited one of my gin loving friends to help me in the judging process which occurred during two lazy Sundays in September. Each spirit was served in three cocktails (Grange Cocktail, Gin and Tonic, and a Dry Gin Martini) as well as served neat with no ice.
And without further ado, it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Gin. These Awards are for the best Gin Spirits, I encountered in the year 2013:
(Use the above link to find the Awards Page.)
Posted in Awards, Extras, Gin | Tagged: 2013, Aged Gin, Flavoured Gin, Gin, London Dry Gin, Old Tom Gin, Rum Howler Awards | Comments Off on The 2013 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 1, 2013
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.
Tanqueray Gin, is a London Dry Gin distilled four times with the botanicals infused prior to the fourth distillation . According to the Tanqueray website, juniper, coriander, angelica root and licorice are the four major botanicals used in the gin’s construction. Tanqueray is bottled at different proofs for different regional markets. As I live in Canada, the bottling proof of my sample bottle is 40 % alcohol by volume.
You may read my full review by clicking on the excerpt:
“… Tanqueray is a clear spirit which when poured into my glass displays a nice combination of assertive juniper and lemon citrus at the forefront of the aroma. There is also a firm, but mild spiciness rising from the glass which hints at cardamom, ginger and citrus zest with more than a few hints of anise and licorice …”
Please enjoy my review, and the fine cocktail which follows, the Lime Martini.
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Gin, Gin Review, Lime Martini, London Dry Gin, Tanqueray | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 24, 2013
Highwood Distillers is a Canadian distillery in the Town of High River, Alberta, which lies just about 40 minutes due south of Calgary, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Recently the distillery was severely impacted by a massive flash flood which devastated the area on June 20th, 2013 (see story here). The folks at Highwood had literally only minutes of warning before the flood hit, and the severity of the event was such that some distillery staff had to be rescued from the tops of their cars by helicopter. As I finish writing this review, the distillery is still picking up the pieces up and rebuilding. However the bottling line is operational again, and the company has once again began to produce bottled spirits.
Potter’s Dry Gin is produced in the London Dry Style by blending a light-bodied neutral spirit with juniper and Highwood’s own botanicals which have been selected from natural herbs, spices and citrus.
You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt (link):
“… The initial aroma gives me an impression that this promises to be a very dry gin with a hard edge. The gin is forward with juniper (as it should be) with firm citrus accents reminding me of lemon and orange zest floating in the breezes above the glass …”
As you can see by the picture, I have also included a new recipe with the review, the Fieldberry Blender.
Please enjoy the review and my new recipe!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Fieldberry Blender, Gin, Gin Review, Highwood Distillers, Potter's Dry Gin | Comments Off on Review: Potter’s (London) Dry Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 26, 2013
I came across Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin quite by accident. I had just finished publishing my review for Beluga Gold Line Vodka, when I received an email from Fabio Rossi who unbeknownst to me was part of the distribution team for Beluga Vodka in Italy. Fabio is of course the man behind Rum Nation, and we have struck up a bit of a correspondence over the last few years as I have reviewed several of his rums here on my website. It was a bit of a surprise to me that his company also distributed the Beluga Vodka, and of course that prompted me to ask him what other spirits were part of his distribution portfolio. That is when he mentioned Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin. He also mentioned that this unusual spirit is apparently taking Europe by storm. I asked Mr. Rossi if he could be persuaded to let me try some, and he was kind enough to send me a 200 ml sample for review upon my website.
You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:
“… The ground is thick with juniper berries and tall spruce trees rise up over me. The ground is carpeted with green moss, and underneath that moss there seems to be a disturbance of the fresh black soil. A light spiciness wells up reminiscent of ginger and cardamom with bits of fresh lemon peel thrown in giving the glass a hint of effervescence …”
Please enjoy my review of this most unusual dry gin!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Dry Gin, Gin, Gin Review, Monkey 47 | Comments Off on Review: Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 17, 2013
Caorunn Gin is rather unusual in that it not only uses six botanicals which are seen as traditional in the gin trade; but it also contains five non traditional Celtic botanicals which are found growing in the hills which surround the Balmenach Distillery where the gin produceded by Gin Master, Simon Buley is crafted. According to the Caorunn Gin website, the six traditional botanicals are, juniper berries, coriander seed, orange peel, lemon peel, angelica root, and cassia bark. The non traditional Celtic ingredients are rowan berries, heather, bog myrtle, dandelion, and coul blush apple.
The gin is hand-made in small batches (about 1,000 litres per batch), using a quadruple distilled grain spirit as its base, with the flavours from the hand-picked botanicals infused into the spirit when the distilled vapour of the final distillation passes through the trays of the Balmenach Distillery’s vintage 1920′s Copper Berry Chamber which contain the botanicals.
(Note: I was provided a sample bottle of Caorunn Gin by The Bacchus Group, who are responsible for its importation here in Alberta.)
You may click on the following excerpt to read my full review:
“… my initial impression was that this spirit seems to look and smell very much like a traditional London Dry Gin. The scent of juniper is foremost (as it should be) and citrus accents of lemon and orange peel fall nicely in behind. However, after the glass sits for a minute or two I begin to notice a sort of herbal spiciness in the air …”
I have included two excellent cocktail suggestions as part of the review, The Dandelion Martini, and The Grange Cocktail.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Balmenach Distillery, Caorunn, Cocktails and Recipes, Dandelion Martini, Gin, Gin Review, Grange Cocktail | Comments Off on Review: Caorunn Gin