Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 12, 2016
The Highwood Distillery is the only locally (Albertan) owned major distillery in Canada. It sits in the town of Highwood, Alberta, which lies just about 40 minutes due south of Calgary, at the foot of the Rocky Mountain. The distillery producing more than 300,000 cases of bottled spirits per year. Although the bulk of their production goes towards Vodka, Flavoured Vodka, and Premixes, they also produce a sizable (and growing) amount of Whisky and Gin each year.
Empire Gin is the company’s premium traditional style London Dry Gin. It is produced by blending a light-bodied vodka spirit with juniper and the distillery’s own special botanical selection of natural herbs, spices and citrus. These botanicals are introduced during the final distillation, and the final spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… The aroma from the glass is very nice, although I might be tempted to call it somewhat mellow. We have a floral bouquet of coriander and citrus elements (in particular orange and lime; but also some grapefruit zest and hints of lemon). I also sense a firm juniper aroma with a mix of flowery herbs, building black licorice and a hint of mint and in the breezes above the glass …”
Please enjoy my review of this wonderful locally produced gin.
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Empire Gin, Gin, Gin Review, Highwood Distillers, London Dry Gin | Comments Off on Review: Empire London Dry Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 24, 2016
Pinnacle Gin is a Beam/Suntory spirit imported from the United Kingdom and (according to the back label) bottled by Portfield Importers, in Deerfield Illinois. Pinnacle is a London Dry Gin handcrafted in small batches, 4x distilled from 100 % grain, infused with botanicals, and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
Interestingly Portfield Importers also own the Pinnacle Vodka brand. The two spirits appear to be produced independently, and as far as I can determine are not related to each other in any way except through brand ownership.
Here is a link to my review of Pinnacle Gin:
“… The gin is very clean with a crisp note of juniper dominating the breezes above the glass. This piny juniper scent is accompanied by sharp orange peel and a few zesty notes of lemon and lime. If I am patient with the glass I also seem to sense light impressions of cardamom and coriander as well as perhaps a faint note of anise …”
Please enjoy my review which includes two nice recipe suggestions from W. J. Tarling’s 1937 Cafe Royal Cocktail Book: The Red Lion and yesterday’s feature cocktail, the Abbey.
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Beam/Suntory, Gin, London Dry Gin, Pinnacle Gin, Review | Comments Off on Review: Pinnacle Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 14, 2015
Gilbey’s Gin is owned by spirits conglomerate Diageo; but it is produced and sold under its current license by Beam Suntory. The Beam Suntory website does not contain extensive information regarding Gilbey’s; however I did find this statement which describes its production:
“In making a fine London Dry Gin such as Gilbey’s, the fermentation process is similar to whiskey production. The fundamental difference is that the congeners, the natural taste elements that are so necessary to Bourbon and Scotch are absent. Instead, gin’s flavor is introduced to the alcohol when it is in a vaporous form and made to pass through a “filter” of juniper berries, herbs and spices.”
Here is a link to my full review:
“… I discovered a very traditional gin profile with firm juniper aromas leading out in front of lightly sweet citrus scents of orange and lemon. There are some fine spices in the breezes which remind me coriander, ginger and cardamon, as well as some floral accents resembling lilacs and white lilies …”
Please enjoy my review which includes two nice recipe suggestions, Gilbey’s and Tonic, and a Vesper Cocktail.
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Gilbey's, Gin, Gin and Tonic, London Dry Gin, Review, Vesper | 2 Comments »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 22, 2014
Berry Bros. & Rudd is London’s oldest wine and spirits merchant with over 300 years of experience and tradition to draw on. Using this expertise and a team of spirits experts they created No. 3 London Dry Gin. I first sampled the No. 3 Gin a few years ago at a store called Lacombe Park Spirits in St. Albert, Alberta. I had come to know the proprietors, Karim and his brother Jeff, quite well, and when Karim discovered that I was about to venture into a series of Gin reviews he insisted that I try one of his favourites. I was convinced after one sip that this was a gin which I wanted to review, and after contacting the website for No. 3 London Dry Gin, Ross Hendry from Berry Brothers & Rudd, arranged for me to receive a bottle sample with the help of the local distributor Charton Hobbs.
No. 3 London Dry Gin uses only 6 botanicals in its construction, Juniper, Spanish Orange Peel, Grapefruit Peel, Angelica Root, Coriander, and Cardamom Pods. In my review, I note how each of these botanicals (with the juniper taking a strong lead) leaves its imprint upon the spirit, and how in particular, the dry juniper flavour shone through the cocktails I built. When I built a few G&T cocktails this past weekend with my sample bottle of No. 3 Gin I again noticed the strong flavour of the gin running through the mixed drink. In fact an obvious ribbon of juniper permeated the cocktail which gave the drink a firm lightly bitter flavour and somewhat drier than usual mouth feel. It is of course a matter of taste; but I found that light bitter dryness of the G & T cocktail extremely refreshing. I did, at the same time however, find that the elegant simplicity of this London Dry Gin seemed to be (for my palate anyways) better suited to be mixed in a Dry Martini. And to be honest, that will be the more likely destiny of the rest of my sample bottle.
My G&T Score for the No. 3 London Dry Gin is a solid 86/100. If I was to award a Dry Martini Score, it would have been much higher (perhaps next year).
You may find a running tally of all of the G&T Scores here:
As well you may read my published review of London Number. 3 Gin here:
Posted in Awards, Extras, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Berry Bros. and Rudd, Cocktails, Gin, Gin and, Gin and Tonic, Gin Review, London Dry Gin, No. 3 London Dry Gin | Comments Off on Gin and Tonic Challenge – No. 3 London Dry Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 9, 2014
Berry Bros. & Rudd is London’s oldest wine and spirits merchant with over 300 years of experience and tradition to draw on. Use this expertise and a team of spirits experts they created No. 3 London Dry Gin. The recipe is based upon three fruits and three spices, and to those I shall speak to in the review. However, I shall say as a bit of foreshadowing, that sometimes artistry can be found in simplicity.
I first sampled the No. 3 Gin at a store called Lacombe Park Spirits in St. Albert, Alberta. I have come to know the proprietors, Karim and his brother Jeff, quite well over the past couple of years, and when Karim discovered that I was about to venture into a series of Gin reviews he insisted that I try one of his favourites.
I was convinced after one sip that this was a gin which I wanted to review, and after contacting the website for No. 3 London Dry Gin, Ross Hendry from Berry Brothers & Rudd, arranged for me to receive a bottle sample with of course the help of the local distributor Charton-Hobbs.
Here is a link to the full review (click on the excerpt):
1878 Gin Cocktail
“…When that first sample was poured for me at Lacombe Spirits, the first thing I noticed was the assertiveness of the aroma around the glass. I commented to Karim (the proprietor of Lacombe Park Spirits) that this was exactly how I liked my gin to smell in the glass. The nose was full of juniper, but it was not sharp and unpleasant, rather it was full of aromatics which lifted the juniper scent out of the glass and then surrounded it with floral notes and a beguiling sweetness…”
Leo Engels, published his Bartender’s Guide, American and Other Drinks, in 1878. It is a fascinating glimpse into early mixology at a time when bar drinks and cocktails were just beginning to evolve and spread through North America and Europe. At that time, the word ‘cocktail’ was reserved for a specific type of bar drink, which resembles what we call the Old-Fashioned cocktail today.
Included in my updated review of No. 3 London Dry Gin is a reconstruction of Leo Engels’ original Gin Cocktail recipe, the 1878 Gin Cocktail.
Please enjoy my review and the recipes that follow!
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: 1878 Gin Cocktail, Berry Bros. and Rudd, Cocktails, Gin, Gin Review, London Dry Gin, No. 3 London Dry Gin | Comments Off on Review: No. 3 London Dry Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 20, 2013
It is that time of year again when I present my annual Rum Howler Awards where I recognize the best spirits which I have had the pleasure of sampling over the past two years. You see, I save my sample bottles after writing my reviews, and have a fun little tasting competition (usually with a few friends to help me). The aim is to determine which spirits are truly the best. My gin tastings were completed a few weeks ago, and I have complied the results for The 2013 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin.
This has been a good year for Gin. The Spirit has become more than just a base for Gin and Tonics and Martinis; it has become part of the cocktail revolution which is underway on both sides of the Atlantic (and threatening to cross the Pacific as well.) In fact, it could be said that walking side by side with the Cocktail Revolution is a new Gin Revolution. While London Dry Gin still dominates the landscape of juniper, we are at the forefront of the development of new variations upon the pinene theme. I see varieties of gin aged in oak (see review here); I see specialized flavoured gins (see review here); and I see distillers experimenting with local botanicals and spices in an effort to bring new taste profiles forward (see review here). We are even witnessing the resurrection of an heretofore almost forgotten styles of gin (see review here).
This year, I invited one of my gin loving friends to help me in the judging process which occurred during two lazy Sundays in September. Each spirit was served in three cocktails (Grange Cocktail, Gin and Tonic, and a Dry Gin Martini) as well as served neat with no ice.
And without further ado, it is time for me to reveal the recipients of my 2013 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Gin. These Awards are for the best Gin Spirits, I encountered in the year 2013:
(Use the above link to find the Awards Page.)
Posted in Awards, Extras, Gin | Tagged: 2013, Aged Gin, Flavoured Gin, Gin, London Dry Gin, Old Tom Gin, Rum Howler Awards | Comments Off on The 2013 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 1, 2013
Tanqueray Gin was originally produced by Charles Tanqueray in London, England in 1830 at the Bloomsbury Distillery. The distillery prospered through the nineteenth century; but after being in production for over one hundred years, it was badly damaged in the bombing raids of World War II by the German air force. One still survived, and this still affectionately called “Old Tom” was moved to the new facilities in Cameron, Scotland where Tanqueray gin is currently produced.
Tanqueray Gin, is a London Dry Gin distilled four times with the botanicals infused prior to the fourth distillation . According to the Tanqueray website, juniper, coriander, angelica root and licorice are the four major botanicals used in the gin’s construction. Tanqueray is bottled at different proofs for different regional markets. As I live in Canada, the bottling proof of my sample bottle is 40 % alcohol by volume.
You may read my full review by clicking on the excerpt:
“… Tanqueray is a clear spirit which when poured into my glass displays a nice combination of assertive juniper and lemon citrus at the forefront of the aroma. There is also a firm, but mild spiciness rising from the glass which hints at cardamom, ginger and citrus zest with more than a few hints of anise and licorice …”
Please enjoy my review, and the fine cocktail which follows, the Lime Martini.
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Cocktails, Gin, Gin Review, Lime Martini, London Dry Gin, Tanqueray | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 30, 2012
Highwood Distillers is a Canadian distillery situated in the town of High River, Alberta, which lies just about 40 minutes due south of Calgary, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. I have visited the distillery and watched first hand as they turned the local wheat into whisky, vodka. and gin. Sahara Dry Gin is produced in the London Dry style. This spirit is produced from Canadian wheat and naturally sourced Rocky Mountain water. Juniper, Citrus of Lemon, and other botanicals are all added during the final distillation.
This is s very dry gin. So dry in fact, that the folks at Highwood named it Sahara. I was provided with a sample bottle of this gin from the folks at Highwood Distillers (early in the summer) for the purpose of a review on my website.
Here is an excerpt from the resulting review:
“… The nose has a laid back quality of juniper and lighter accents of lemon and grapefruit. There is a bit of an alpine scent mingled with the juniper and perhaps some scents of willow thicket, meadow grass, and spring flowers. Everything is all rather mellow; but it is also rather enjoyable …”
Here is a link to my full review:
I have also provided a very nice ‘cooler’ style cocktail to enjoy with the Sahara, one I call the Jumping Buffalo Cooler. Please enjoy my review and my suggested cocktail.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Canadian Gin, Cocktails and Recipes, Gin, Gin Review, Highwood Distillers, London Dry Gin, Sahara Dry Gin | Comments Off on Review: Sahara Dry Gin
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 5, 2012
Broker’s Gin is a relatively new brand, created in 1998 by the Dawson Brother’s (Martin and Andy). Despite the rather recent creation of this brand, the recipe for Broker’s Gin is reported to be over 200 years old. Apparently, during the design phase for the brand, the Dawson brothers tasted and tested many newer recipes as well; however they found that sometimes the old ways really are the best ways, and after various trials they chose the 200-year-old recipe. Broker’s Gin is made from traditional copper pot stills in a distillery located near Birmingham, England. Like the recipe for the gin, this distillery is over 200 years old.
Broker’s is a wheat-based, quadruple-distilled, pure grain spirit. Ten natural ingredients are used to flavour this spirit and of course the primary botanical used is juniper. The botanicals are steeped in the quadruple-distilled base spirit inside the still for 24 hours prior to the spirit being processed through a final, fifth distillation to produce Broker’s Gin.
According to the Broker’s Gin Website, the botanicals used to produce Broker’s Gin and their sources are, juniper berries from Bulgaria or Macedonia, coriander seed from Bulgaria, orris root from Italy, nutmeg from India, cassia bark from China, cinnamon from Madagascar, liquorice from Sri Lanka, orange peel from Spain, lemon peel from Spain and angelica root from Belgium or France.
I was given a bottle of Broker’s Gin by Woodman Wines and Spirits to review on my website. Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… I poured out my first sample of Broker’s Gin into a glencairn glass and my nose was greeted with the classic mild piny juniper scent of a traditional English gin. Light notes of lemon and lime citrus lay in the breezes with just a hint of orange peel. The overall effect is light and refreshing. If you spend some time nosing the glass it is possible to detect a very light pungent spiciness which lies under the more assertive juniper and citrus… “
Here is a link to my full Review:
I have included a nice cocktail suggestion with the review called, Lady of the Empire. Please enjoy the review and the cocktail!
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Broker's Gin, Cocktails and Recipes, Gin, Gin Review, London Dry Gin | Comments Off on Review: Broker’s (Premium London Dry Gin)
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 8, 2012
The new Beefeater 24 is advertised as being handcrafted with 12 botanicals which include grapefruit, bitter almond, orris root, Seville orange peel, rare Japanese Sencha tea and Chinese green tea. This makes the new Beefeater 24 gin more complex in construction than the previously reviewed Beefeater London Dry Gin which listed 9 ingredients. There are other differences as well, The new Beefeater 24 is bottled at a higher proof (45 % alcohol by volume) which to me seems most welcome, and all of the ingredients are apparently steeped in grain alcohol for 24 hours prior to a 7 hour distillation where the master distiller makes an artisan cut by hand from the heart of the distillation run.
This product has been brought into my local market by Corby, and I was delighted when the local rep arranged for me to receive a bottle of the new Beefeater 24 to review on my website. Here is an excerpt:
“… There is a ‘freshness’ rising out of the glass and I liken it to the scent of an alpine forest on a warm spring day with the snow is melt just beginning. The aroma of evergreen boughs and juniper jumps out of the glass pushed ahead by a crisp citrus-like aroma…”
Here is a link to my full review:
As I usually do, I have provided a delicious cocktail after the review. in this case I stuck to tradition and recommended a Gin and Tonic.
Posted in Gin, Gin Review | Tagged: Beefeater Gin, Gin, Gin Review, London Dry Gin | Comments Off on Review: Beefeater 24 (London Dry Gin)