by Comrade Hunter
The gin tastings continue with another foray into the ever-expanding world of gin. As always I have attempted to curate a list of at least semi-new gins, the theme of which was new age interpretations of the spirit. To illustrate, here is what we tasted for our Gin’s In class.
Victoria Distillers Empress Gin
Tinted with the iconic butterfly pea blossom, this indigo coloured gin is a delicate starting point for any gin tasting night. Extremely clean on the nose, elegant to the point of shyness, the Empress offers an easy going nature for any gin drinker. Expect slight floral tones, little whiffs of juniper, a touch of heady perfume; everything in this bottle is crafted from a subtle hand. One of the crowd favourites for the night. Given this gin’s easy going nature, being a favourite is no surprise. $55
Thompson Brother’s Dornoch Gin
Spirit from the highlands of Scotland, Dornoch distillers is offering a very interesting interpretation of gin. Nosing this spirit evokes notes of smoking agaves, burnt dirt and vegetative matter amidst the variety of botanicals that qualify it as gin. I believe this is the kind of gin that ought to be consumed straight, perhaps with only a splash of tonic or a cube of ice. The character of this spirit is brash and seems to work disjunctively with the standard sorts of mix. $66
Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin
Infused with Riesling wine from the Saar, this opulent take on gin has a load of interesting notes to offer. Alongside the riesling infusion, Ferdinand’s also uses locally harvested quince adding a pear quality to the spirit. Much like the Dornoch gin, I recommend that this gin be consumed straight, ever so slightly chilled as the finely tuned botanicals may become muddied among various mixes. $68
Made in the Canadian north, one will first notice the startling yellow colour of this spirit. Even if you have tried the Ungava in the past, expect a new and unique iteration of this spirit. More opulent and oily than past releases, this full-bodied gin has a lot of grapefruit and muddled citrus tones to offer. $40
No Ordinary Gin, or, NOG!
NOG! – or No Ordinary Gin is a whisky infused premium small batch gin bottled by Asta Morris – an independent bottler of Scotch Whisky headquartered in Belgium. Testing the boundaries of what qualifies as gin, the NOG! is a long departure from traditional London dry. Expect orange powdered candy, near vitamin C chew-able in its sweet, sharp tang, slight tones of chalky minerality, alongside butterscotch and vanilla tones likely originating from the barrel ageing this spirit has been subjected to. Widely acclaimed by the tasters as a winter evening spirit or digestif to be, once more, consumed by itself. $110
Eau Claire Barrel Aged Gin
Another barrel aged rendition, this time with a barley backbone to boot putting this spirit in closer proximity to whisky than most gins, albeit with a botanical infusion. Similar in style to the NOG! with toffee and spicy caramel tones, the juniper rests in the background in a supporting role. Pressed flowers attempt a front on the nose but are ultimately pushed back by the barrel’s domineering character. I would label this bottle a happy medium between gin and whisky, enjoyable for those middle grounders trying to branch the gap between either side of one’s genre of interest. $58
Hven Navy Strength Gin
The de facto crowd favourite of the night clocking in at 14 out of 22 votes for the top evening pick. It might be further noted that this bottle is 57% alcohol thus offering a much more robust gin experience. All this said, this bottling arguably exhibits the hand of a master, everything woven into such a complex quilt of experiences. Not only was this the crowd favourite, but also the staff favourite of the night. Considering the alcohol percentage of this bottling I would say that is quite impressive given the exclusionary effect high proof spirits can have on imbibers. $87