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De Kuyper Genièvre

Review: De Kuyper Genièvre  78.5/100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published April 09, 2016

De Kuyper Royal Distillers is a Netherlands based company which produces several lines of flavoured spirits and liqueurs. The company was founded in 1695 by Petrus De Kuyper, and by 1752, the family owned a distillery in Schiedam which was at the time the leading center for the production of Dutch Gin or Genever. In 1911, a new distillery was built in Schiedam and the company began to produce liqueurs and flavoured spirits as well. By the 1960s the production of flavoured spirits and liqueurs had overtaken the production of genever. In 1995, on the occasion of its 300th anniversary, the company received the title “Royal” from Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. This led to the company changing its name from Johannes de Kuyper & Zoon to De Kuyper Royal Distillers.

Although there is no mention of De Kuyper Genièvre on the Dutch Company’s website, I have learned that this dutch gin is produced under license for the Canadian market (particularly Quebec) via De Kuyper Canada. The recipe was developed in the 16th century and has since been handed down from generation to generation. The Genièvre is apparently produced from three grains (barley, corn and rye) which have been distilled 4 times on a pot still. The distinctive flavour is created from an infusion of Juniper berries (and perhaps other botanicals).

De Kuyper SAM_2454In the Bottle  2.5/5


I have no idea what the folks at De Kuyper Canada are thinking. This is perhaps the worst looking liqueur bottle I have run across. The combination of the green plastic bottle with a white plastic cap and a heart-shaped label means that the entire presentation looks more suitable for a bottle which would house children’s bubble bath (or perhaps floor cleaner) than a dutch gin with a heritage stretching back to the 17th century.

There is absolutely nothing here to inspire any sort of confidence at all that whatever is inside the bottle is even worth checking out.

In the Glass 8/10

It is hard to get past the terrible first impression that the bottle inspired. However, I promised a review, and so I poured a small amount into my glencairn glass. The spirit is clear, and when the glass is tilted and twirled, I see the dutch gin leaves lightly oily film on the inside of that glass the crest of which melts away without forming leglets. The initial aroma is lightly vegetal with both grain spices and juniper reaching out to greet my nose. There is a muted malt-like sweetness and a few impressions of both sharp citrus peel and mushy banana and grilled plantain.

The aroma is a huge improvement over the bottle. The vegetal scents imply to me that the spirit will be different from a typical English style gin. This was to be expected from a Dutch Genièvre with a recipe which developed more than 300 years ago, to a time before the use of column stills ushered in the era of the London Dry Gin.

In the Mouth 48/60

The De Kuyper Genièvre (although being juniper forward) is also earthy and somewhat vegetal in nature. The spirit is also quite smooth with soft juniper flavours laying beside lightly sweet and spicy impressions of grain alcohol. Within the juniper and grain-like sweetness is a mild dank fruitiness which carries impressions of both soft banana and boiled squash. Alongside these earthy impressions are additional impressions of tropical citrus fruit such as pineapple and citrus peel (orange) which together add a bit of zesty spice. A light maltiness sits underneath as do faint echoes of menthol and licorice.

Although I can sip the spirit, the flavour takes some getting used to. It reminds me somewhat of Cachaca which has similar vegetal flavours. I mixed a few standard cocktails beginning with a Lime Gimlet, and a Gin and Tonic. Both recipes were acceptable, but neither was inspiring. Then I decided to move in a different direction and mix a small Martinez. This time I felt I was getting somewhere although I still felt the new flavours in the gin needed to be toned down just a touch. To that end I decided to add crushed ice to the serving which would slowly melt into the cocktail. I enjoyed this much more, and for my future mixing experiments (see recipe below), I think I will leave the ice in the glass as well.

In the Throat 12.5/15

The exit is lightly sweet and lightly spicy with more soft juniper and citrus zest apparent in the finish than what was apparent across the palate. The juniper fades quickly, and I am left with earthy impressions of plantain and boiled squash. Although the spirit is relatively smooth, I would suggest serving in icy cocktails rather than sipping.

The Afterburn 7.5/10

My understanding is that De Kuyper Genièvre has become a regional spirit produced for an appreciative audience in Quebec who are rather found of its warm earthy flavour. And I suspect that I would come to enjoy the spirit more if I allowed myself to become more accustomed to its unique vegetal flavour. However, I also must recognize that I found the spirit somewhat uninspiring to mix cocktails with, and I defaulted to tall ice filled cocktails to temper the vegetal nature of the spirit.

My final score of 78.5/100 recognizes the relative smoothness of the gin, but also recognizes that for mixology the spirit is quite limited.

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


Suggested Recipe

Cucumber Mint Cooler SAM_2485Cucumber Mint Cooler

2 oz De Kuyper Genièvre
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3 slices Cucumber
4 Mint Leaves
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1)
Sparkling Water

Add the Mint, Cucumber, and Lime into a Mixing Glass
Add the Genièvre and muddle until the cucumber is thoroughly crushed
Double strain into a large glass filled with ice
Complete with Sparkling Water

Please 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!


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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