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Liberator Gin

Review: Liberator Gin  (89/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on May 30, 2022

The Liberator brand is an authentic small batch craft spirits brand produced by Highwood Distillers to honor the WWII RCAF base that was located in their home town of High River as well as to honor the brave men and women who fought in WWII. This is a hand crafted bottling created such that Highwood would have a line-up of 100% Alberta made craft spirits produced for the local market.

According to Michael Nychyk, Operations Manager at the Distillery:

This is a small volume brand in our portfolio; but we are proud it honours the RCAF and their connection to High River. And not to mention the spirits are great quality!

To be fair to the other brands which are produced at Highwood, one could consider almost every product which they distill to be a ‘craft’ brand. The distillery doesn’t use a continuous column still, rather they distill their products using a batch process as described in my previous posting, The Highwood Distillery Tour.  In a way, you could say that they were craft distilling, before craft distilling became the next big thing.

Their Liberty Gin is is produced using Liberator Vodka as the base spirit. This base spirit is distilled in small batches using locally sourced wheat. The local aquifer fed by the nearby Rocky Mountains is used as the water source. This base spirit is infused with all natural botanicals to obtain the final flavour profile. All products in the Liberator Line-up are polished through a multi stage charcoal filtration system prior to bottling which is done with hand-applied closures and labels. The small batch production is limited to a maximum of 300 cases per batch.

In The Bottle  4.5/5

Liberator Gin is sold in a rectangular (almost flask style) clear bottle with a medium sized neck and cork closure. The labeling is much nicer that many of the Highwood offerings, I think perhaps because the have a good story to tell regarding the WW II Liberator Aircraft and its connection to High River (where the Highwood Distillery is located).

The back label of each bottle tells the story of the RCAF base located in High River Alberta and pays tribute to the 1.1 million Canadians who served in WWII.

I should note that each bottle is individually numbered with the batch number which identifies the particular batch of each bottling. As you can see from the photo above, my sample bottle of Liberty Vodka was from Batch # 005.

In The Glass  8.5/10

Colour: Clear with no hint of sediment from the infused botanicals.

Nose: Classic dry gin style with notes of juniper, licorice and citrus leading out. There is a sort of effervescent spiciness of citrus zest (grapefruit and lemon perhaps) as well as coriander rising into the breezes. A light floral note builds in the background with hints of orange and lime.

I really like the nose as this promises to be perfect for Gin and Tonics as well as cold gin Gin Gimlets.

In The Mouth  53.5/60

Liberator Gin has a lightly soft mouthfeel and brings a soft but firm flavour of juniper forward which is combined with a soft punch of licorice (perhaps anise or fennel). The soft mouth is livened by zesty citrus and grain spice. We have a bit of coriander and/or cardamom adding spice as well. An herbal quality similar to menthol cools the palate just a touch and underneath everything are wispy impressions of garden florals.

The gin has a classic flavour profile which appeals to me, and it seems to be open to the entire spectrum of my favourite gin cocktails. I mixed a gin and tonic (see below) and I would happily have Liberator Gin on my shelf just for that indulgence. When I mixed a gimlet, I was equally enthused. Alas, I couldn’t mix a martini because I do not have a suitable Vermouth on my shelf; but I did pour a little into a small glass with ice and found I really enjoyed sipping the dry gin slowly as I listened to my music mix in the sunshine of my back deck. I am really enthused about trying more cocktails!

In the Throat  13.5/15

We have a smooth(ish) finish with the spiciness of citrus zest and coriander combining very nicely with ebbing impressions of juniper and licorice trailing after the swallow. As indicated there is a softness here which enables us to sip the gin over ice which is a rarity among the juniper based spirits.

The Afterburn  9/10

I found myself bumping my scores each time I tasted Liberator Gin. This isn’t a complicated gin. It follows a classic dry gin style with juniper taking the lead. But it also has a light softness in the mouth-feel that lifts the piny spirit above most of its dry competitors. Most importantly Liberator Gin is suitable for the entire range of Gin Cocktails.

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 Recipe

Gin and Tonic

1 3/4 oz Liberator Gin
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup (or to taste)
Ice
2 oz Tonic Water
Cucumber Chunk

Add the first three ingredients into a rocks glass
Stir and add ice
Fill with Q-Tonic
Garnish with cucumber

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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