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Black Fox Cucumber Gin #7

Review: Black Fox Cucumber Gin #7   (85/100)
Reviewed by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted February 6, 2020

John Cote and Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote

Black Fox Distillery (located at 245 Valley Road Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) was founded by John Cote and Barb Stefanyshyn-Cote, two third generation farmers who have farmed, studied, consulted and participated in agriculture on five different continents.

John told me that their distillery is a bit different from most of the others in the area as John and Barb ferment, distill and age all of their spirits right there at the distillery. According to John, in Saskatchewan approximately 90% of craft distilled products are coming from NGS (nuetral grain spirit) purchased from large manufactures. Black Fox Distillery is trying to show the world that there should be a bit more craft in craft spirits.

Each of their products attempts to demonstrate the intensity of the flavours of ingredients they grow, not just at the distillery farm, but also on the Canadian prairies. They grow as many of their own ingredients as possible, from grain to honey fruit and flowers showcasing their terroir as both a physical location as well as the agronomics of the grains and fruits produced.

This of course brings us to Black Fox Cucumber Gin #7.

According to John:

Once you open the bottle you will understand how many cucumbers we have to pick to create this product.  We wanted to create a unique product that was very cucumber forward. The recipe also includes a bit of caraway to accentuate the flavours.  I mixes best with soda or even ginger ale (also makes a nice mojito).

Black Fox Cucumber Gin #7 is bottled at 42 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle  5/5

I feel like I am repeating myself with respect to the bottles the Blacl Fox Distillery uses (actually I am); but I pretty much fell in love with the Black Fox Cucumber Gin #7 bottle as soon as I saw it. The bottle follows the bartender’s creed of being easy to store (the stubbly bottle is stable with a round shape that rests easily on any bartender’s shelf); easy to hold (the round cylindrical bottle is not too wide for the average person’s hand); and easy to pour (the glass stopper comes out easily and the long neck helps us avoid spilling).

Although you cannot see the glass stopper in this photograph (you can see it in the cocktail photo below), it is a wonderful touch. Too many spirit manufacturers use poor quality corks which can break down when they get soaked with spirit, or even worse dry out in our prairie climate to the point that they crumble when one tries to unseal the bottle. The glass stopper is a much better closure.

As you can see the graphics are stunning.

In the Glass 8.5/10

The gin has a light greenish colour in the class, no doubt imparted by the green cucumber peel which must have been left on the melon during the product’s creation.

The spirit has a nice gin forward aroma with both juniper and spice apparent in the breezes. And of course there is a very real cucumber taint within the air as well. There are vegetal traces in the air as well which may come from the underlying triticale spirit. Having said that, everything works. The spirit seems to be exactly what it should be with no surprises.

In The Glass 50/60 

Again the spirit shows us no surprises. If you like a cucumber garnish in your gin drinks (I do), then you are going to like this Cucumber Gin. A piny juniper flavour is evident, as is a touch of spiciness; but it is the flavour of cucumber (both the peel and the flesh) which is front and center. Having said that, it is a soft cucumber flavour, and not overwhelming in any way. The only deterrent is a very light resin/turpentine-like flavour which sees to wisp in and out of the flavour steam.

The question here, is what to do with the spirit. According to my conversation with John Cote, the spirit doesn’t play well in a gin and tonic (I’ll take his word for it); but it does play nicely with soda and ginger-ale. So the drink I mixed for my friends when I had my gin tasting was a tall Cucumber Gin and Ginger-ale over ice. Everyone liked it, and we agreed that it would be a perfect drink for summer barbecues or just for relaxing on the beach.

In the Throat 12.5/15

One aspect I didn’t really get into earlier was the fact that the spirit is actually quite smooth. There is some spiciness, but there is not any undo heat from the young alcohol. There is more cucumber flavour in the entry than in the exit which seems to lean back towards the juniper.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

Black Fox Cucumber Gin #7 is exactly what it is supposed to be, a combination of a nice gin and real cucumbers. As with all flavoured spirits, the flavour will be polarizing in that if you don’t like cucumbers you won’t like this spirit. But then, if you don’t like cucumbers you are missing out on one of creation’s nicest melon flavours. If you like cucumbers, and you like gin, then don’t miss out on this one.

You may read some of my other Gin Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

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Suggested Recipes

Cucumber Gin and Ginger-ale

1 3/4 oz Black Fox Cucumber Gin #7
Ice
4 oz Ginger-ale
Slice of LemonAdd the ingredients into a large glass over ice
Stir
Garnish with Lemon

Enjoy Responsibly!

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!

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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)

 
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