Gin

Review: Milk & Honey Levantine Gin by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
None
Recipe
Barley Spirit and Botanicals
Distiller Milk & Honey (Tel Aviv, Israel)

This gin is made from a double distilled base of malted barley. To this, a number of botanicals are macerated, including cinnamon, chamomile, black pepper, lemon peel, lemon verbena, coriander, and origanum syriacum. After maceration, the spirit is distilled a third time.

Origanum syriacum is notable as a primary spice of the spice mix za’atar - it is a very distinct flavour and certainly makes this gin unique.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

The nose is very herbal – indeed, it very much resembles za’atar. It really dials up the lemon, it’s like the intensity of pickled lemon peels. But we also have lemon, cumin, juniper, orange, and a grainy, slightly nutty base. It’s quite rich, for a gin. The lemon character is quite intense on the palate too – lots of preserved lemon peels, or, perhaps one might even say lemon cleaners. It has a slight sweetness to it that is nice.

I like it. The herbaceousness is intense, unique, and quite good.

Assessment: Highly recommended.


Review: River's End Gin (Wolfhead Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of wolfhead distillery.

Image courtesy of wolfhead distillery.

ABV
43%
Aging
None
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Wolfhead (Amherstburg, Ontario)

This gin is made using a wheat spirit base. A number of botanicals are incorporated through vapour distillation with the spirit being distilled through a botanical basket that includes Italian juniper, coriander (from Canada and India), Moroccan orris root and grains of paradise, California grapefruit peel, Egyptian hibiscus, Haitian bitter orange peel, Chilean rose hips, Vietnamese star anise, Indonesian cinnamon, and Guatemalan cardamom. Now that’s a world tour!


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

Immediately, you get the three classic pillars of gin – juniper, citrus, and spice – in full complement and playing off one another brilliantly. Underneath, there is a really nice berry character and the richness of the juniper is terrific. The brightness of the lemon has been captured really well, and the spice pops on the palate more than the nose – making this a perfect cocktail gin. It’s very clean throughout with a nice long bright, spicy finish. Anyone who reads my gin reviews knows that I really like juniper – so this one plays right up to my style.

The gin is quite scrumptious – it has a nice balance and an underlying sweetness that really plays well off the spice, citrus, and wood. It makes it very easy to sip….

Highly recommended.


Review: Plymouth Gin by Jason Hambrey

Plymouth Gin 1.jpg
ABV
41.2%
Aging
None
Recipe
N/A
Producer Black Friar's Distillery (Plymouth, England)

For some info on the brand and the protected “Plymouth Gin” designation, see my post on the navy strength gin.

I got back into this gin because it is one of the best all-purpose gins for cocktails, adding a lot of depth and classic gin character without dominating subtle cocktails either.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2020

I never actually reviewed the standard version of Plymouth, until now. When reviewing the navy strength, based on my experiments with watering the spirit down, I thought that the ~40% version wouldn’t amount to much. I was wrong.

The gin, on its own, is a mix of a whole lot of components – juniper, coriander, and citrus almost in equal balance with depth across each of those categories. On the palate, each category seems to come out differently – deep lemon and orange zest, light sweetness, piney notes from juniper, and the freshest coriander imaginable, like a seed toasted and simply bitten into. The finish is so clean and citrusy, with notes of juniper complementing it all. There is also a pleasant brininess to it all – some pickled lemon, in fact, would be my closest analogy.

As a gin, it is quite good, but what really impresses is the versatility in mixing. Because of the depth of the citrus, juniper, and coriander, highlights are added in each of those categories and yet none of them dominates. Indeed, if you taste this one straight up the citrus is highlighted but the juniper and spice are still so clearly defined.

I’ve yet to find a gin which I prefer as the base of a martini, and it seems to work seamlessly across the endless spectrum of gin cocktails. In certain cases, I want more of a juniper hit, but yet, I’m never disappointed with this one. Very nice stuff.

Assessment: Highly Recommended.


Review: Barrel Aged Gateway Gin (Lone Pine Distilling) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of lone pine distilling.

Image courtesy of lone pine distilling.

ABV
45%
Aging
Ex-bourbon cask
Recipe
Wheat and botanicals
Distiller Lone Pine Distilling (Edmonton, AB)

This gin is made by maturing Gateway Dry Gin, the rich and spicy flagship gin of Lone Pine Distilling, in ex-bourbon barrels for a few months.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

Very spicy and citrusy coriander, a heavy juniper character, and big lemon. The barrel character is there, with vanilla and toffee – but it doesn’t dominate. On the palate it has a very calming influence on this full-bodied gin, with vanilla and a creamy character coming alongside the big spicy body of the gin. The finish has charred oak, lemon, juniper, and more coriander.

A nice barrel aged gin – barrel character has been added without dominating, keeping it firmly in the gin category for mixing and sipping.

Highly Recommended.


Review: Rocky Mountain Gin (Lone Pine Distilling) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of lone pine distilling.

Image courtesy of lone pine distilling.

ABV
46%
Aging
None
Recipe
Wheat and botanicals
Distiller Lone Pine Distilling (Edmonton, AB)

This gin was created to evoke the wild landscape of the Rocky Mountains. Wild bergamot, wild mint, and roses all grow in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. These were used, alongside juniper, goldenrod, lemon and lime peels, ginger, cardamom, cubeb berries, orris root and a few other botanicals.


Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose on this one is different than the other Lone Pine gins – this is brighter, lighter, and more floral. Juniper, rose, meadow flowers, and coriander lead into a gin body with a surprising dry fruit character alongside spice, sharp herbal notes, lemon, and a nice light spicy character at the end with a slightly drying finish. The citrus really comes out at the end.

I really like how this one surprised me with the dried fruit on the palate – it really works. Very nice movement – floral, then fruit, then citrus.

Highly Recommended.