Review: Black Fox Cucumber Gin #7 by Jason Hambrey

Not Aged
100% Triticale Whisky with botanicals and cucumbers
Distiller Black Fox (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)

Whole cucumbers are added to the gin after it is finished to macerate in flavor and colour. Once the gin is finished, the used cucumbers are used in the production of the next batch of gin. The recipe is distinct from their dry gin and aged gin, to appropriately surround the cucumber notes.

Review (2019)

  • Batch:

  • Bottling Date: 2019

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose is very rich in cucumber – it takes me to peeling field cucumbers. It reminds me particularly of sharp, slightly bitter cucumber peel rather than cucumber flesh. The palate is spicy, with cucumber at the centre and coriander spice surrounding it, alongside white pepper and a slight drying nature. There is a touch of cucumber peel bitterness in the palate which I actually really like. Caraway, quite brilliantly, comes out in the big finish. It’s a bit soapy – perhaps a combination of the cucumber and coriander, reminding me of some natural soap shops (not a bad thing). The cucumber on the finish is enduring.

I find the herbal notes are quite prominent, and at times too much – this sometimes smells a bit like the crisper section of my fridge when herbs have been in there a bit too long. This is not always to my liking, when sipped neat. But, chilled or in a cocktail these notes are lost and the freshness of the gin really shines through. I tested this with friends and many of them didn’t make any such association, so it might be a fairly personal preference. When chilled, the cucumber notes really come out, so it does exactly what you would want in a cocktail. This is a cocktail gin for me, not a sipping gin (as most gins are). As suggested, it works great in a gin & tonic or with ginger ale.

Review: Hendrick's Gin by Jason Hambrey

Producer William Grant & Sons (Girvan distillery, Scotland)

A gin marketed as an "unusual" gin (though these days, it doesn't sit as far out on the fringes as it used to). It is made with two stills, a copper pot still and another still with a copper basket for vapour infusion of botanicals. The first copper pot still uses a 24 hour infusion before it is distilled into quite a heavy spirit. The second still produces a much lighter spirit through the infusion of flavours into the spirit vapour rising up the still. The two spirits are then blended together to produce the resulting gin. Alongside 11 other botanicals, cucumber and rose are used as primary flavorings, natural partners with gin. These essences are added after distillation as the delicate nature of these botanicals couldn't be effectively captured in the course of usual steeping/vapour infusion.

Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: ~2018

Different – spicy and floral, with rose petals, clove, licorice root, white pepper, coriander, and fresh cucumber. The palate is slightly astringent, in a good way, with more cucumber coming out and fading into a nice set of spices with a medium finish. I do like the juxtaposition of rose and cucumber, and it has a nice fresh herbal quality to the finish.

Assessment: Recommended.