The Rum Howler Blog

(A Website for Spirited Reviews)

  • Copyright

    Copyright is inherent when an original work is created. This means that the producer of original work is automatically granted copyright protection. This copyright protection not only exists in North America, but extends to other countries as well. Thus, all of the work produced on this blog is protected by copyright, including all of the pictures and all of the articles. These original works may not be copied or reused in any way whatsoever without the permission of the author, Chip Dykstra.
  • Cocktails and Recipes

    Click Image for Awesome Recipes

  • Industry Interviews


    Click the Image for Great Interviews with the Movers of Industry

  • The Rum Howler Interview (Good Food Revolution)

    Click on the Image to see my interview on Good Food Revolution

  • The Rum Howler Blog

  • Rum Reviews

  • Whisky Reviews

  • Gin Reviews

  • Tequila Reviews

  • Vodka Reviews

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,118 other subscribers
  • Subscribe

  • Visitors

    • 14,221,282 pageviews since inception
  • Archives

  • Follow The Rum Howler Blog on

Scapegrace Small Batch Dry Gin

Review: Scapegrace Small Batch Dry Gin   (92/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published in March 6, 2020

Scapegrace Dry Gin is produced in New Zealand, by Rouge Society Distilling. Their New Zealand gin was originally called Rouge Society Gin which worked out quite well until it was pointed out that a beer company in America had a similar name. This prevented Rouge Society from being able to export their gin into the European Union as the beer company apparently got there first. Looking for a new name, the rouge gentleman settled upon Scapegrace which apparently is an eighteenth century word for rouge.

The company produces three gins, their Premium Dry Gin which is the subject of this review, a Premium Gold Dry Gin and a Premium Black Dry Gin.

The Premium Dry Gin is apparently produced upon a 19th century John Dore Still using 12 classic botanicals, juniper, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander seeds, nutmeg, cardamom pods, angelica root, cloves, licorice root, orris root, cinnamon sticks, cassia bark, and dried tangerine.

The spirit is bottle at 42.2 % alcohol by volume.

In the Bottle 4.5/5

According to the company website the bottle which houses their gin was chosen deliberately to be a modern take on the original genever bottles from 200 years ago. My own thought was that it resembled a cocktail shaker perhaps alluding to the fact that classic dry gin is a cocktail spirit.

The bottle is black with a gleaming silver plate which houses the label.

Mostly I like the bottle. The tapered shape makes it easy to grab and the synthetic black cork not only matches the colour of the bottle it also is an appropriate closure for a premium gin.

I do have two quibbles. The first is that with the bottle being black, it is impossible to see the fill line on the bottle. Perhaps a clear line down the back or on one side would be a nice addition. Then it would be easier to know how much gin I have left. The other quibble is the short neck which makes the first pour from the bottle just a little harder than it ought to be.

I will say though that the positives far outweigh the negatives as far as the bottle presentation goes.

In The Glass 9/10

The rum is clear in the glass with a crisp clean nose. Fresh and classic is probably the best description of the aroma which has greeted me. Juniper and licorice play alongside fresh citrus zest and lightly spicy cardamom notes. These scents and aromas all seem softened somewhat with a touch of warm earthiness implied. Faint wisps from the other botanicals seem to weave in and out. The cinnamon and nutmeg add just a touch of pungency to the breezes, and hints of both orange and lemon appear and disappear.

I like the balance which is displayed on the nose. The scents and smells all seem to act together rather than apart, and although juniper dominates (as it should) it is a benevolent leader which allows the other botanicals their rightful place in the realm.

In the Mouth 56/60

When I take my first sip, soft juniper and licorice notes lead out with fresh citrus zest and subtle hints of peppery coriander spice chasing merrily along. Wispy hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves combine with the earthy angelica to give the gin softer rounder flavour. There is just a hint of what tastes like orange liqueur and everything seems perfectly in balance. The palate is juniper and citrus forward through the entry and then softens into a warm tasty gin.

This is the style of gin I love because the cocktail menu has no restrictions. I can mix any of my favourite servings, The Gimlet, The Martini, and the Gin and Tonic and know that all can be enjoyed with equal favour. I can go off the track and mix Negonis or a Martinez with equal conviction. And if I chose, I can even sip the Scapegrace Gin neat or over ice.

In the Throat 13.5/15

Scapegrace Gin finishes clean and dry. The exit is smooth with flavours of juniper and licorice combining through the finish as they are chased by citrus and warm spices. After the swallow the flavour settles to warm earthy triumvirate of angelica, licorice and juniper with hints of pungent spice adding to the warm earthy quality of the spirit.

The Afterburn 9/10

Scapegrace Gin is simply wonderful! The flavour and style is classic, with all of the botanicals seemingly in perfect balance. My score is 92/100 represents a score in the stratosphere which (if you follow my gin reviews) does not happen very often.  I love it when somebody gets things so right that it almost pains me to share.

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


Suggested Serving

Gin is the original Martini spirit and the beginnings of this cocktail was initiated as early as 1888 when a recipe for a serving which consisted of half a glass of Old Tom Gin, and half a glass of Vermouth was published (Johnson, Harry (1888), The New and Improved Illustrated Bartenders’ Manual; Or: How to Mix Drinks of the Present Style). From that point forward this simple drink slowly underwent an evolution into the present day Gin Martini. Today, the cocktail remains extremely popular, although perhaps it has been eclipsed by its less flavourful cousin, the Vodka Martini (which arrived somewhat later on the scene).

The Gin Martini can be served at varying degrees of dryness depending upon the amount of aromatized wine (usually Vermouth) used in its construction. Traditional recipes found in the cocktail guides from the 1920’s usually recommend a ratio of gin to vermouth of 2:1 whereas modern recipes are much drier and contain ratios as low as 10:1 or even served without vermouth at all. I suspect unwitting bartenders not realizing that Vermouth oxidizes quickly resulting in an enhanced vinegary taste is the reason why the ratio continues to decline.

When I use fresh Vermouth (less than one week old and refrigerated) I find a ratio 3:1 works well for a satisfying Gin Martini.

The Gin Martini

1 1/2 oz Scapegrace Gin
1/2 oz Lionelo Stock Vermouth
Slice of Lime

Add the gin and vermouth into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker is very cold.
Strain into a chilled martini glass
Add a slice of Lime

Of course, you should enjoy responsibly!

If  you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more 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)

%d bloggers like this: