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Prairie Organic Gin

Review: Prairie Organic (Handcrafted) Gin   85/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Refreshed March, 2020

Prairie Organic Spirits are produced and bottled by Ed Phillips and Sons located in Princeton, Minnesota. Each batch is distilled to taste, not a prescribed number of times, in small batches at Phillips Distilling Company.  According to the company website:

Every batch of our farm-crafted spirits begins as single vintage organic yellow corn grown on family farms. Our farmers grow organically so that our spirits are free of harmful chemicals and GMOs. Growing without herbicides and pesticides requires more time in the field, and more regulations and standards to uphold, but we’re not ones to compromise. From knowing our farmers to distilling every batch until it tastes just right …

In the case of the Prairie Organic Gin, we are given a glimpse of what to expect in terms of flavour as the website tells us to expect;

Bursts of herbs, sage, juniper and exotic spices, complementing a dry and refreshing taste with a long, delicate finish. It’s smooth from the ground up and easy going down.

Prairie Organic Gin is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

Prairie Organic Handcrafted Gin arrives in the tall slender bottle shown to the left. The front label is a relatively simple affair. The folks at Ed Phillips and Sons are obviously highlighting the terroir of the gin by featuring the word ‘Prairie’ prominently. The label’s green colour is a visual clue to the organic nature of the gin and its botanicals. And indeed the back label tells us that this gin was bottled in accordance with organic standards. We are even given a hint as to the nature of the flavour as this back label tells us:

“… A full and pleasant herbal blend with a very light juniper background …”

We are also told that this gin,

“… has a taste that is refreshing and light …”

I appreciate the very brief taste descriptors as often when I am in search of a new spirit, I want at least something to go on before plunking down my hard-earned dollars. And it turns out, when you read my review, that I am in substantial agreement with the description provided. Kudos!

In the Glass 8.5/10

When I pour the Prairie Organic Gin in my glass, the initial scents and smells from the glass are floral. I sense a combination of rose petal and lilac with hints of red cherry licorice coming through after a few seconds. There is a touch of mint weaving through giving one the impression of menthol (or eucalyptus) and some nice gentle spicy notes (coriander, and citrus zest perhaps) which have waited for a little but become more noticeable as the gin breathes. The juniper is subdued at first; but like the coriander spice, the juniper (and hints of sage) seems to gain momentum as time passes. The aroma is not aggressive in the least, and matches the promise of the label of a gin that will be refreshing and light.

In the Mouth 50.5/60

When I took my first sip, I noticed that there was a stronger push of juniper in the delivery than which was revealed by the nose. This juniper push is accompanied by a soft earthy bitterness which hinted at the presence of angelica and perhaps sage as well. Some anise, citrus peel and hints of cinnamon spice work their way into the flavour profile and I feel that the gin is much more traditional than I first thought. Given time in the glass to breathe, the floral nature of the gin begins to assert itself. There is a light herbaceousness with soothing menthol flavours in particular gaining steam. Although the juniper becomes more fully revealed as we sip, it would nevertheless be correct to say that the overall impact is subdued and pleasant, rather than aggressive.

In fact, pleasant, is probably the best word for me to use to describe the flavour profile, and in that vein of thought, I set out to make a cocktail which matches the theme of the gin. I suspect that a Martini would be an acceptable cocktail; however the relaxed mood the gin has placed me in seems to demand that I not bother with shakers and double straining. Instead I simply squeeze out a bit of lime juice, add a touch of sugar syrup and ice, and then pour a good dollop of gin over the ice (see recipe below). This is a libation that suit the gin. It is easy to construct and requires no expertise at all, just a little fresh fruit. The libation matches the mood of the gin, it is light, pleasant and refreshing.

Note: I certainly would not dissuade anyone from mixing a light gin and tonic with this relaxed gin as well.

In the Throat 13/15

The juniper is perhaps stronger in the finish, although it remains soft and laid back. A gentle sweep of eucalyptus follows reinforcing the relaxed atmosphere induced by the Prairie Organic Gin. It is also quite smooth indicating that those who prefer to sip gin neat would have no problems enjoying this gin as well.

The Afterburn 8.5/10

As one who analyses and writes hundreds of spirits every year, I am always looking for something new and exciting. Spirits which push the boundaries of my senses and bring me new delights. Prairie Organic Gin is nothing like that. Instead of pushing the boundaries, it remains comfortable within its own construct. And strange as it may seem, I can appreciate that. Sometimes all I want is a spirit which does not demand much of me; one that I can relax with such that it is the wonderful world around me that commands my attention rather than the drink in my hand. When I am in that frame of mind, this is my kind of gin!

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


Suggested Recipe

Here is a recipe for that Gin and Lime drink I mentioned above which I found quite delicious with Prairie Organic Gin.

Gin and Lime

1 1/2 oz Prairie Organic Gin
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup
Slice of Lime

Pour the lime and sugar syrup into a suitable glass
Add Ice
Pour in a dollop of Prairie Organic Gin
Garnish with a slice of lime

Stir and 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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