American Gin!on April 18, 2010 at 9:10 pm
Yesterday, I was going through my liquor cabinet, and I decided to sort my gin by region, when I discovered that out of 15 different gins (not counting my saved-for-special-occasion bottle of Tanqueray Malacca), 9 of them are from the United States.
So my mother and I had an impromptu little gin tasting. Here are all our gins arranged geographically!
The gins in question are:
Greylock , from Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Great Barrington, MA
Gale Force, from Triple 8 Distillers, Nantucket, MA
Seneca Drums, from Finger Lakes Distillers, Burdett, NY
Bluecoat American Dry, from Philadelphia Distilling, Philadelphia, PA
Jin, from Dogfish Head Brewers, Rehoboth, DE
Death’s Door, from Death’s Door Spirirs, Washington Island, WI
Desert Juniper, from Bendistillery, Bend, OR
Rogue Spruce, from Rogue Ales, Newport, OR
DH Krahn, from DH Krahn Spirits, Mountain View, CA
My mother and I tasted 1/4 oz tastings of each gin in the order listed above. Here are our findings!
I remember remarking on the distinctiveness of this gin the first time I opened the bottle. It has a sweet, light floral scent. The flavor is very crisp and clean, and has notes of orange blossom, anise, and black pepper. The flavor is also very mild and floral. This was my mother’s second favorite over all.
2) Gale Force
This gin immediately had a sharp, antiseptic scent. It had a very strong, sharp flavor with a lot of bay in it and tasted rather medicinal. I’ve mixed with this before and found ways to cut the sharpness and complement the bay flavor, but just on tasting, it wasn’t very pleasant.
I need to end this comment with two disclaimers: 1) this was the only one of the nine gins that we don’t think we will buy again. However, 2) Triple 8 also makes Hurricane Rum, which I love, so while this wasn’t my favorite, I still have high hopes for their other products.
3) Seneca Drums
I’m not joking: this gin smells like a margarita. The scent is more like a tequila than a gin, and has very strong lime notes. However, the flavor is completely different from the scent: it has a sweet flavor with a lot of coriander and celery. It’s extremely smooth and our take was that this would make a great negroni.
4) Blue Coat
Blue Coat is labeled as an American Dry, and it wears this label for a reason: of all the gins we tasted, it’s the closest to a classic London Dry. It is incredibly balanced, with light juniper notes and light pepper, but nothing particular overwhelming. Overall, it has a very clean, crisp flavor that hits the front of the mouth moreso than any other gin we tasted.
Jin has a very sweet scent that is almost reminiscent of rum. It has a nutty, buttery sweetness, too, that is not characteristic of rum. If you’re not a gin drinker and haven’t liked many gins you’ve tasted, this is one I would recommend you try. It has a light licorice note as well. This gin probably had the most unique flavor of all the gins we tried.
6) Death’s Door
This gin had the lightest bouquet of all the gins we tasted up till this point. Because it has almost no nose, when you taste it, the flavor is a bit of a pow! It has a strong anisey flavor, lots of liquorice and heavy juniper in it. My mother thought this would be great with orange.
7) Desert Juniper
this gin had a slightly medicinal scent, but there was almost none of that in the flavor. The flavor was, as the name suggests, predominantly junipery– but the flavor was also very smooth. My mother and I thought this would make an excellent dirty martini or bacon martini.
8) Rogue Spruce
This was my mother’s favorite of all the gins we tried. The smell is very piney, exactly as one would expect from a gin with “spruce” in its name. It has a nice cucumbery flavor up front, with notes of fennel, dill, and celery seed and a strong taste of peppermint. great classic botanicals but with a unique twist.
9) DH Krahn
Like Jin, I would highly recommend this one for people who aren’t normally fond of gin. It has a sweet scent with some cucumber and celery notes, and my mother detected some lime. The flavor is very flowery, light and sweet with notes of honey and violets. I thought this gin would make an excellent and more sophisticated replacement for vodka in many vodka drinks.