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Park Distillery Alpine Dry Gin

Review: Park Distillery Alpine Dry Gin   83.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted On March 25, 2018

Park Distillery  is located in the town of Banff, Alberta. The facility is not just a distillery, it is also a Restaurant and bar which opened in May of 2015 shortly after the Provincial government introduced new regulations which allowed for Craft distilleries to operate. Located high in the Mountains of Banff Provincial Park, the Distillery proudly serves regionally produced food in its restaurant, and local (sourced from high-altitude family farms in the Alberta foothills) grains to produce their spirits.

Park Distillery Alpine Gin is produced on the distillery’s 600 Litre Kothe Pot – Twin Column Hybrid Still. It is produced from typical London Dry Gin botanical’s ( Juniper, Coriander, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, Orris Root, Licorice, Angelica, and Cinnamon) with the addition of Alberta foraged Engelmann Spruce Tips.

The spirit is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4/5

To the left is a bottle shot of the Park Distillery Alpine Dry Gin. To be fair to the folks at Park Distillery, I want to point out that the bottle looks quite a bit better in person. One of the problems with snapping pictures of clear bottles with clear contents is that it is quite easy for the whole photograph to get kind of washed out. As you can see, my skills in photo editing failed me.

The bottle is medium tall with a stout cylindrical shape and a short neck which is just long enough to permit pouring without spilling. The front label is quite nice, and the back label lets us know the gin was produced from high altitude family farmed grain from the Alberta foothills as well as from hand-picked Canadian Spruce tips.

The bottle is sealed with a synthetic cork which is wrapped in clear plastic.

In the Glass  8.5/10

When poured into the glass, Park Distillery’s Alpine Dry Gin is clear, with no trace of colour. The initial aroma from the glass represents a traditional juniper forward dry gin.

Within the juniper scent is a light presence of licorice and bright citrus (in particular orange and lemon peel). I notice impressions of coriander and surprisingly a touch of ginger in the breezes (I suspect the ginger is in reality a touch of cinnamon which is expressing itself as ginger because of the presences ot the other botanicals). All in all I am quite pleased by what the breezes have brought me.

In the Mouth 50/60

The first sip brings me the firm piny flavour of juniper which has combined with licorice and earthy (lightly bitter) angelica root. There is more bitterness in the flavour profile than I was expecting making this a slightly hardened dry gin in the same vein as Gordon’s London Dry Gin. However, the light bitterness is brightened by some citrus spice and a light sweetness which follows. There is a very light woody taint to the juniper flavour which I suspect is the flavour of the Engelmann spruce tips. It is this light woody flavour from the spruce tips which gives the gin its hardened edge as well as a firm earthy quality in the finish.

I decide that mixing a cocktail is a good next step and I begin with the Gimlet using both lemon and lime juice in its construction. I like using the Gimlet to evaluate gin as its simple construction allow the gin to shine in the mixed drink. What I particularly appreciate was the way that both the juniper and the Engelmann spruce tips found delicious expression in the cocktail. I mixed a Dry Gin Martini next and again found the gin worked fairly well; however, it was better in a Vesper where the additional Vodka helped to mute the light bitterness of the spruce tips. (See my recommended cocktail below.)

In the Throat 12.5/15

Park Distillery, Alpine Dry Gin is just a touch rough which means it is far more likely to be consumed in a cocktail than sipped neat. The exit features the ebbing bitterness of Juniper and Spruce balanced by a light sweetness that settles in alongside. It is particularly pleasing that these features of the exit shine through when the gin is mixed in short cocktails.

The Afterburn  8.5/10

I think that the Alpine Dry Gin from Park Distillery could be described as a gin for serious gin drinkers. It has a lightly bitter edge with the flavour of juniper leading out in front and a similar albeit lightly woody flavour punctuating the finish. Sandwiched between the two are earthy flavours of licorice and angelica and bright flavours of citrus. The entire combination is quite pleasing. The traditional flavour profile makes the spirit ideal for traditional gin cocktails.

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


Suggested Recipe

Northern Lady

1 1/2 oz Park Distillery Alpine Dry Gin
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup
Dash Grapefruit Bitters
Lemon Peel

Place the ingredients in a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Add Lemon Peel for Garnish

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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