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Doctor’s Orders Gin

Review: Doctor’s Orders Gin  (81.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on March 12, 2016

Legend Distilling Smalltown Spirits is located in Naramata, British Columbia, where they create small handcrafted batches of Gin and Vodka. Their craft distillery is housed in an old doctor’s office and that is the inspiration for their Doctor’s Orders Gin.

The craft spirit is produced from a base wheat spirit which was produced upon a still which comprises of a pot and 20 plate column. The botanicals are locally foraged juniper berries, coriander and citrus as which are mixed with local Okanagan flavours (locally grown lavender, elderberry, mint and apple). The final spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Doctor's OrdersIn the Bottle 5/5

The wonderfully stylized apothecary bottle which houses the Doctor’s Orders Gin was designed by the Vancouver based packaging and brand design agency, Also Know As. It is my understanding that Legend Distilling wanted a design concept which would link the gin the to the old Doctor’s office which became the home of their new distillery. The apothecary bottle does the job admirably, and the name of the gin itself (Doctor’s Orders) plays coy with the locally told story that during prohibition in British Columbia physicians would actually prescribe cocktails as medicinal relief for their patients.

I love the design concept; I love the quirky black bottle; and I love the decorative label. The bottle presentation is a home run!

In the Glass 8/10

The gin is clear in the glass and brings a fruited, floral character into the breezes with the juniper almost taking a backseat to the impressions of lavender, apple and citrus which drift in the air. Coriander is making its presence felt as well bringing its lightly penetrating spice and subtle lemony undertones into focus. There is also a mild earthy impression of dark licorice which seems to hint at a light menthol coolness.

It is going to be interesting to see how the aroma translates into flavour, my impression at this point is that I am interested; but I wonder why the juniper was not given a more starring role?

In the Mouth 48/60

The Doctor’s Orders Gin is sippable which is no mean feat for an unaged spirit. There is a light vegetal (new make) component in the flavour profile which indicates to me that the underlying spirit is not as highly rectified as what I would normally encounter in a large distillery gin. This adds a softer flavour dimension making the gin less dry and also quite interesting (although if prefer a traditional dry gin you may not agree with me). Juniper comes across more clearly upon the palate than it had upon the nose, and the fruit speaks clearly as well. In particular I can taste firm apple flavours alongside the juniper with zesty citrus and coriander laying just a little further underneath. Impressions of mint and lavender seem to provide a light cooling sensation upon the palate.

I tried a few traditional cocktails including a Martini, a Gin and Tonic and a Gimlet. I was struck by how that vegetal component I noted earlier seemed to creep into each cocktail. This vegetal aspect seemed to play best with the lime, and so I decided to go that direction with my recommended cocktail (see my suggested recipe below).

In the Throat 12.5/15

Mint is prominent in the exit and the menthol-like coolness of the mint makes the exit quite smooth. Some alcohol burn does creep in warming the throat and palate, however this burn is mild and easily forgiven.

The Afterburn  8/10

The folks at Legend Distilling have done a remarkable job in a short period of time. Their Doctor’s Orders Gin takes us down a juniper path with a distinct Okanagan accent. This is a nice gin which can be sipped on its own over ice, and it works very well in fruited cocktails like the gimlet. Traditionalists will probably want more of a juniper push; but then again, those traditionalists are probably not going to switch from their triumvirate of Tanqueray, Bombay and Beefeater. Doctor’s Orders offers something a little different for the more daring gin enthusiast.

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


Suggested Cocktail

Doctor's Orders Gimlet SAM_2386 Doctor’s Orders Gimlet

1 oz Doctor’s Orders Gin
1 oz Shadow in the Lake Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup
Cracked Ice
Lime Slice

Add the first four Ingredients into a cocktail Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with an Lime slice
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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