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Archive for the ‘Gin’ Category

Review: Death’s Door Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 9, 2016

Death's Door SAM_2355Death’s Door Distillery (completed on June 4th, 2012) is located in Middleton (just west of Madison), in the middle southern part of the Wisconsin. However, it is Washington Island, located about 150 miles to the Northeast (in between the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan) which the company credits with providing the heart and soul of their growing line of distilled spirits.

Death’s Door Gin is named for the treacherous water passage between mainland Wisconsin and Washington Island (Death’s Door Passage). It is produced from a double distilled base of Washington Island wheat and malted barley from Chilton, Wisconsin. Only three botanicals are used, juniper berries which grow wild on Washington Island and coriander and fennel sourced from within Wisconsin, making this gin very much a local spirit combining the ideals of craft production and promoting the local economy.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Death’s Door Gin

“… When I took my first taste I was happy to receive a stronger impression of juniper in the flavour profile than I had suspected. Whereas I felt the coriander was dominating the aroma, the juniper takes a very slight lead across the palate. A nice undercurrent of black licorice rides under the juniper and the coriander is expressing itself with a light spiciness and lemon flavour. There is also an undeniable floral element in the flavour profile …”

Please enjoy my review of this new craft Gin.

Chimo!

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Review: Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 6, 2016

Gilpins SAM_2353According to the information sheets provided to me Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dry Gin is a traditional London Dry Gin produced in London (England) from eight botanicals: juniper, lime peel, sage, bitter orange peel, borage (star flower), coriander seed, lemon peel and angelica root. The botanicals are steeped in a quadruple-distilled grain spirit, and then distilled once more upon a traditional pot still. The finished spirit is bottled at 47 % alcohol by volume.

The spirit is named for George Gilpin who is said to have traveled to Holland as an Ambassador from Queen Elizabeth I where he was apparently one of the first Englishmen to enjoy (and bring home) the new Dutch “Genever”. Interestingly, George Gilpin is said to be the descendant of Sir Richard “the Rider” de Gilpin who was famous for hunting down and killing the Great Wild Boar of Westmorland in 1207. Apparently wild boars can be particularly vicious, and this particular wild boar had been terrorizing the pilgrims in the Lake District during the time of King John. For his courageous act, Sir Richard was granted the Wild Boar as the symbol of the Gilpin Family. The history of this tale is hard to verify, but it certainly adds a wonderful back story to the Gilpin’s Westmorland Gin.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dry Gin

“… I taste a firm push of juniper chased by zesty citrus peel and spicy coriander (perhaps peppery sage as well). This is followed by wisps of lightly bittersweet (more bitter than sweet certainly), earthy chocolate-like flavours (which would seem to be the influence of the angelica root). The overall  flavour, like the aroma, is firm. Despite the firmness of these major flavours, everything works very well together as an ever so light herbal sweetness holds the strong flavours together …”

Please enjoy my review of this very traditional offering from Gilpin’s.

Chimo!

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Review: Prairie Organic (Handcrafted) Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 27, 2016

Prairie Organic Gin SAM_2356Prairie Organic Gin is produced and bottled by Ed Phillips and Sons located in Princeton, Minnesota. The company’s website does not reveal a great deal about the gin. All I can glean is that it is apparently produced from organic ingredients which appear to be grown on three separate farms in Minnesota. The botanical thrust of the gin is herbal, rather than traditional (juniper forward), however the folks at Prairie Organic Spirits (owned by Ed Phillips and Sons) do not reveal the botanicals used.

Here is a link to my latest review:

Review: Prairie Organic (Handcrafted) Gin

“… the initial scents and smells from the glass are quite floral. I sense a combination of rose petal and lilac with hints of red cherry licorice coming through after a few seconds.  There is a touch of mint weaving through giving one the impression of menthol (or eucalyptus) and some nice gentle spicy notes (coriander and citrus zest perhaps) which have waited for a little but become more noticeable as the gin breathes. The juniper is subdued, but it like the coriander spice seems to gain momentum as time passes …”

Please enjoy my review of this quaffable gin.

 

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Review: Poli Marconi 46 Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 24, 2016

Poli - Gin Marconi 46 LDThe Poli Distillery is located in Schiavon (not far from Bassano del Grappa) in the heart of Veneto (Northern Italy). It was founded in 1898 by GioBatta Poli, and for over one hundred years the Poli Family has worked to establish their reputation as an outstanding producer of Grappa in the heart of Italy’s premier Grappa producing region.

In 2015, Poli Distillery’s new still (Crysopea) was put to work producing the company’s first craft gin, Marconi 46. The gin (produced in small batches by Jacopo Poli) is created from an infusion of juniper berries, muscat grape, mountain pine, cembra pine, mint, cardamom and coriander. These botanicals (all familiar to the Poli family) are reminiscent of the Asiago Plateau in the north of the Veneto region, where the Poli family comes from.

Here is a link to my full Review:

Review: Poli Marconi 46 Gin

“… Firm scents of juniper greet my nose with impressions of pine (and to a smaller extent spruce) boughs strengthening the aroma. It is as if I am in an alpine forest with clumps of juniper bushes and tall standing Mountain Pine trees. A mild floral musk-like scent has appeared along with a light indication of menthol. The longer the glass sits, the stronger the floral musk and menthol impressions become …”

Please enjoy my review of this excellent Italian Gin.

Ciao!

 

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Review: Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 21, 2016

Ferdinand'sFerdinand’s Saar Dry Gin is produced at the Avadis Distillery in Wincheringen in the tri-border region of Germany, near the border of Luxembourg and France. This is wine growing country, especially famous for the semi-sweet Riesling dinner wines which, when I was a youngster, seemed to be present at every wedding I attended and almost all major occasions. It is not surprising then, that Master Distiller, Andreas Vallendar has chosen to infuse his dry gin with Slate Reisling Wine.

The gin draws its name from Royal Prussian District Forester, Ferdinand Geltz who was the historical co-founder of the VDP Mosel-Saar-Ruwer growers’ group. Within its recipe are 30 botanicals, all of which have apparently been hand-picked either by the distillery staff or by the producer from which the botanicals have been acquired. (Directly behind the distillery are quince trees; lavender grows in the fallow vineyards; and lemon-scented thyme is grown in the Distillery’s own garden.) And, as mentioned earlier, topping everything off is the wine infusion which uses hand selected harvest wines from the large Saarburger Rausch vineyard site.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin

“… The predominant juniper flavour is subdued slightly in the delivery as the floral flavours reminiscent of iris, rose petal and lavender take the lead. Bits of lemongrass and menthol cool the palate slightly, and then citrus flavours of lemon and lime (with a touch of orange) come along in behind. The juniper although subdued is not devoured (it is just dampened slightly allowing the other elements to shine) …”

Please enjoy this review which is the first of about a dozen new gin reviews which will be published over the next few months as I embark on an early season Gin Binge.

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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

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#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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