Rose

Review: Gunpowder & Rose Rum (Newfoundland Distillery) by Jason Hambrey

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ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
Jamaican Rum with Distilled and Infused Botanicals
Distiller Newfoundland Distillery (Clarke's Beach, Newfoundland)

In the old days, rum was a part of the sailors daily ration and quartermasters, at times, might consume the rum themselves and give the sailors a watered down version - infuriating for sure. To prove that the rum was of sufficient strength, it would be poured over gunpowder and ignited. If it was above 50%, the wet gunpowder would ignite and it would be “at proof”, which is where the “proof” language comes from in discussing ABV.

Inspired by the tradition, Newfoundland distillery wanted to actually create a rum with real gunpowder - but Health Canada wasn’t very impressed. So the distillery instead wanted to recreate the flavour profile with kelp for sulphur, charred birch for a charcoal component, and sea salt for the “salt petre” of gunpowder. And, to create contrast and uniqueness, wild newfoundland roses were added to the mix to add a floral, ethereal component. Talk about unique!

I was first made aware of Newfoundland Distillery because of their seaweed gins, which has one of the richest maritime characters of any gin I’ve tasted. It really gives a good sense of terroir.


Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

The nose is sweet, lightly sulphury, and floral. The sulphur gives a nice edge here – it’s not like the rough sulphur often found in whisky. It’s accompanied here by a rich brown sugar and marine character, not to mention the top notes of roses. It’s not characteristic of a “pure” rum (i.e. only from molasses), but it doesn’t have any of the rather artificial characteristics of most commercial spiced rums. The palate is lightly sweet and full of rich brown sugar, blueberries, light wood notes, and a seafood-type umami. The finish has roses, a touch of sharp pine-like woodiness like juniper, and a rich fruitiness like fresh raspberry. Very interesting, rich, and easy to drink. It is remarkably balanced given all the contrasts in flavour.

Also, great to mix and some rather creative cocktails can be created from this stuff.

Assessment: Highly Recommended.

Value: High. $35 is very good for this.


Review: Hendrick's Gin by Jason Hambrey

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ABV
44%
Aging
None
Recipe
N/A
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.