Potter’s Dry Gin
Review: Potter’s (London) Dry Gin 77.5 /100
Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted September 24, 2013
Highwood Distillers is a Canadian distillery in the Town of High River, Alberta, which lies just about 40 minutes due south of Calgary, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Recently the distillery was severely impacted by a massive flash flood which devastated the area on June 20th, 2013 (see story here). The folks at Highwood had literally only minutes of warning before the flood hit, and the severity of the event was such that some distillery staff had to be rescued from the tops of their cars by helicopter. As I finish writing this review, the distillery is still picking up the pieces up and rebuilding; however the bottling line is operational again and the company has once again began to produce bottled spirits.
Potter’s Dry Gin is produced in the London Dry Style by blending a light-bodied neutral spirit with juniper and Highwood’s own botanicals which have been selected from natural herbs, spices and citrus.
In the Bottle 3.5/5
My sample of Potter’s Dry Gin arrived in a 1.14 liter plastic (PET) sample bottle shown to the left. Based upon the size of the bottle and the fact that the gin appears to be only sold in the PET configuration, I am guessing that this style of bottle was chosen for economic reasons mainly for the bar and restaurant trade.
My understanding is that Potter’s is a very affordable gin, and although I dislike plastic PET bottles, I will not be overly critical of what I see.
In the Glass 7.5/10
I poured a little gin into my glass and examined it prior to the review. When I gave my glass a tilt and a slow twirl, I noticed a light sheen left on the inside which slowly vanishes dropping a few skinny legs back into the gin.
The initial aroma gives me an impression that this promises to be a very dry gin with a hard edge. The gin is forward with juniper (as it should be) with firm citrus accents reminding me of lemon and orange zest floating in the breezes above the glass. There also seems to be more of a ‘grain-like’ quality in the Potter’s gin than which I noticed in either of the previously reviewed Highwood Gins (Sahara Dry, and Empire). I sense an overt spiciness which carries hints of coriander, anise and cardamom within the wake of the grainy spice.
In the Glass 47/60
Sipping the Potter’s Dry Gin is not preferred. It carries both a firm back-bite and a moderate burn which settles into the throat after the swallow. The delivery is spicy, and I taste the duo of juniper and grain spice doing a bit of a rough tango across my palate. Flavours of lemon balsam, orange peel, coriander, cardamom, and anise meander across the dance floor free-styling in a manner which adds even more sharp spice and pungent bitterness to the dance. As the nose promised, this gin has a hard unrelenting edge. Of course, this hard dry flavour is not necessarily good or bad, the test of the spirit will be in how this hardened character reacts to the cocktail.
To find out I mixed a few of my favourites, beginning with a simple daiquiri style gimlet mixing the gin with fresh lime juice and sugar. Next I mixed a Tom Collins, and a Gin and Tonic. What I learned is that the Potter’s Dry Gin pushes its hard-edged character right into the cocktail, even those cocktails heavy on the soda.
In the Throat 11.5/15
The Potter’s Gin has a very juniper forward taste profile, and this is especially noticeable in the finish where the bitterness of the juniper is quite noticeable. The ending is also quite dry and rough with the spirit delivering a firm bite to the tonsils and a moderate burn to the back of the throat. This is not a gin for the faint of heart.
The Afterburn 8/10
Potter’s Dry Gin has a hard unrelenting flavour that pushes itself right through the gin cocktail. In my opinion this is a gin which will work best in cocktails where the gin is allowed to play freely with other ingredients rather than one where it is the focal point of the recipe. I suspect that the well indoctrinated gin enthusiast will like the rougher character that this gin brings forward, although I also admit that I prefer a softer gin with more refinement. As a low-cost gin which is easy on the wallet, I find the Potter’s Gin quite acceptable when used as a mixer; however I personally will be mixing a little heavier on the soda with this gin than I might otherwise.
You may read some of my other Gin Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
I thought I would mix up a blender style drink to cap off the summer. Add more or less sugar syrup depending upon the tartness of the season’s berries.
Fieldberry Gin Blender
1 3/4 oz Potter’s Dry Gin
1/2 oz Lime Juice
10 Fresh Blueberries
10 Fresh Raspberries
1/2 oz sugar syrup
4 Large ice-cubes
Place all of the ingredients into a blender
Mix until smooth
Pour into a cocktail glass
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)