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Posts Tagged ‘Gin’

Gin and Tonic Challenge – London No. 1 and Tonic

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 13, 2014

SAM_1232London No. 1 Original Blue Gin is a product of Gonzalas Byass who are a Spanish wine & cellars company which also produces a variety of distilled spirits including brandy, anisette, botanical vodka and of course gin. Their gin is triple distilled (from English grain in London, England) on a traditional pot still in small batches by Master Distiller, Charles Maxwell. According to the London No. 1 website the gin is distilled with 12 key botanicals which include: Juniper from Croatia; Angelica root and Savory from France; Coriander from Morocco; Cassia bark from China, Liquorice from Turkey, Cinnamon from Ceylon, Almond from Greece; and Lemon peel, Orange peel, Lily root and Bergamot from Italy.

The product was first test marketed in Spain, and has since been launched in limited quantities internationally including here in Canada. It is bottled at 47 % alcohol by volume ensuring a more concentrated flavour than more traditional spirits which are bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

When I reviewed London No. 1 Blue Gin, I noted the spirit had strong floral flavours rippling though flavour profile and a building spiciness, which (the spiciness in particular) seemed ideally suited for cocktails. And although the strong floral characteristic of London No. 1 may seem similar to what I described yesterday when I wrote about another blue gin, Magellan Iris Flavoured Gin, I found that the floral characteristic withing London No. 1 Gin was softer and less perfume-like such that the the spirit was (in my opinion) much nicer in all manner of cocktails including the Gin and Tonic. This suitability of London No. 1 Blue Gin for mixology is positively reflected in my G & T Score for the Rum Howler Gin and Tonic Challenge.

This G&T Score for the London No. 1 Blue Gin, (based on my standard G & T cocktail) is 84/100.

Just so you do not have to keep track of these scores yourself, I have constructed a separate page to keep a running tally of all scores as they are published, and you may refer to that page here:

Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge

As well you may read my published review of London No. 1 Blue Gin here:

Review: London No. 1 Blue Gin

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Note: I was provided a bottle for this challenge by Woodman Wines and Spirits Inc. who are the distributors of London No. 1 Gin in Ontario.

 

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Gin And Tonic Challenge – Magellan Iris Flavoured Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 12, 2014

Magellan and Tonic SAM_1245Magellan Iris Flavoured Gin is a French spirit imported into North America by Crillon Importers Ltd. The gin is named to pay homage to Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer whose expeditions on behalf of King Charles I of Spain, led to the first circumnavigation of the globe. Magellan’s travels were in search of a westward route to the Spice Islands (also known as the Maluka Islands of Indonesia). Magellan’s Expedition around the world brought back three barrels of cloves (although Ferdinand Magellan died before the trip was completed), and apparently cloves are an important ingredient in the overall flavour profile of the Magellan Gin.

Of course there is much more than cloves in the botanical mixture of this blue gin. In all eleven botanicals are listed on the Magellan Gin website. The gin itself is produced from a wheat based neutral spirit which was  generated from a three column still. The botanicals (except for the Iris flower) are wrapped in a special cloth and added to the neutral spirit which is then distilled for a fourth time in small batches upon a small artisanal copper pot still. After this fourth distillation, the gin is infused with Iris Root and Flower. The Iris flower imparts the lovely blue colour to the gin during this process.

In my review I became aware that the Iris flower imparted strong floral flavours to the gin which have an almost perfume-like intensity. This strong intense ‘hyacinth-like’ aroma and flavour winds through the spirit making sipping and cocktail construction difficult. I settled on making tall soda filled mixed drinks which tasted quite nice, but abandoned finer cocktails like the Lime Gimlet and the Gin Martini.

When making a Gin and Tonic for this challenge, I found I had to have a higher ration of Tonic Water to Gin than I usually like to settle down the intense flavour of the Iris flower. (I usually like my gin to tonic ratio to be almost 1:1)

As a result of the difficulties I had trying to mix a strong Gin and Tonic and finally settling for a weaker one, My G&T Score for the Magellan Iris Flavoured Gin was 79/100 pts.

I have constructed a separate page to keep a running tally of all scores as they are published, and you may refer to that page here:

Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge

As well you may read my published review of Beefeater here:

Review: Magellan Iris Flavoured Gin


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Gin and Tonic Challenge – Beefeater and Tonic

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 8, 2014

Beefeater and TonicBeefeater London Dry Gin is currently produced in Kennington, a district of South East London, in the United Kingdom. The company has roots stretching back to 1820 when the Chelsea Distillery was constructed on Cale Street and served as the first home for Beefeater Gin. The founder of the company, James Burrough, was not born until 1835, and it was not until about 1876 that the Beefeater brand was created from gin produced at the Chelsea Distillery. Over time the brand has changed locations twice, first in 1908 to Hutton Road, and then in 1958 to its present location in Kennnington.

The Beefeater Gin website lists nine ingredients which are used to flavour the gin: juniper from the hills of Italy, Siberia and Macedonia, Seville orange peel, bitter almonds, ground orris root, coriander seeds, angelica (seeds and root), licorice and lemon peel.

In my review, I note that in other markets Beefeater is sold at 47 % alcohol by volume. In Canada however, Beefeater is sold at only 40 % alcohol by volume. This means that the Canadian version of Beefeater is a more subdued and gentle spirit than its counterparts in the rest of the world. The subdued nature of the spirit was reflected in my subdued enjoyment of Beefeater Gin during my review, and the Beefeater and Tonic Cocktail during this challenge. Even though my standard G & T recipe calls for a relatively high percentage of Gin in the final cocktail relative to other G & T constructions, I still found the Beefeater and Tonic lacked the punch of other G & T mixed drinks I have tasted thus far in the challenge.

My G&T Score for the Beefeater and Tonic based on my standard cocktail is 80.5/100.

Just so you do not have to keep track of these scores yourself, I have constructed a separate page to keep a running tally of all scores as they are published, and you may refer to that page here;

Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge

As well you may read my published review of Beefeater here:

Review: Beefeater Gin

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Gin and Tonic Challenge – Polo Club and Tonic

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 7, 2014

Polo Club and TonicThere is a growing movement in the past ten years by American distillers (particularly small micro distillers) to produce a new North American style of gin (American Dry Gin) which is less dependent upon juniper than traditional London Dry Gin. The new American Dry Gin is an attempt to feature a broader and more balanced flavour profile, and the chances are that some of you have already encountered and enjoyed this new style of gin. Although this new type of gin is still in its evolutionary phase, it promises to bring more variety into the gin category, and perhaps offers a new take on the classic Gin and Tonic.

Polo Club American Dry Gin is a product of Minhas Micro Distillery located in Munroe, Wisconsin. According to the press information provided to me by MCBSW Sales (agents for Polo Club in Alberta), their American Dry Gin is an artisan spirit crafted in small batches from “ultra clean neutral grain spirit” and steeped with botanicals which include juniper, lemon peel, coriander, and licorice. The neutral grain spirit is apparently distilled ten times using a patent pending process (US Patent Application Number 13/843036) on a copper pot still.

When I reviewed Polo Club earlier this spring, I noted that this particular gin appeared to carry a very assertive spiciness alongside the juniper which pushed its way through the cocktails I constructed. The influence of this additional spice was very apparent when I mixed my standard Gin and Tonic cocktail for the Polo Club. As a result, the Polo Club and Tonic has earned a very respectable G & T Score in my Rum Howler Gin and Tonic Challenge.

The G&T Score for the Polo Club American Dry Gin, based on my standard G & T cocktail is 85/100.

Just so you do not have to keep track of these scores yourself, I have constructed a separate page to keep a running tally of all scores as they are published, and you may refer to that page here:

Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge

As well you may read my published review of Polo Club American Dry Gin here (which includes my aforementioned standard Gin and Tonic Cocktail):

Review: Polo Club American Dry Gin

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Gin and Tonic Challenge – Tanqueray and Tonic (T&T)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 6, 2014

Tanqueray and TonicTanqueray Gin was originally produced by Charles Tanqueray in London, England in 1830 at the Bloomsbury Distillery. The distillery prospered through the nineteenth century; but after being in production for over one hundred years, it was badly damaged in the bombing raids of World War II by the German air force. One still survived, and this still affectionately called “Old Tom” was moved to the new facilities in Cameron, Scotland where Tanqueray gin is currently produced.

Tanqueray Gin, is a London Dry Gin distilled four times with the botanicals infused prior to the fourth distillation. According to the Tanqueray website: Juniper, Coriander, Angelica root and Licorice are the four major botanicals used in the gin’s construction. The spirit is bottled at different proofs for different regional markets, and as I live in Canada, the bottling proof  of my sample bottle is 40 % alcohol by volume.

When I reviewed the Tanqueray Gin I noted that everything about this gin is pleasing. It has a firm juniper flavour which is tempered and accented by a nice lemony spiciness and a gentle earthiness which lays underneath. As a cocktail gin, it mixes very easily into each of the classic bar drinks, the Lime Gimlet, the Dry Martini and of course the standard Gin and Tonic. I also noticed that when I replaced the lime in the G & T with a large squeeze of lemon (see recipe here), the results were equally impressive.

My G&T Score for the Tanqueray and Tonic is 86.5/100.

Just so you do not have to keep track of these scores yourself, I have constructed a separate page to keep a running tally of all scores as they are published, and you may refer to that page here:

Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge

As well you may read my published review of Tanqueray Gin here (which includes the aforementioned Gin and Tonic (Lemon) Cocktail ):

Review: Tanqueray Gin

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Gin and Tonic Challenge – Caorunn and Tonic

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 5, 2014

Caorunn and TonicCaorunn Gin (a product of Inver House Distillers) is hand-made in small batches (about 1,000 litres per batch). This Scottish gin features (six traditional botanicals; juniper berries, coriander seed, orange peel, lemon peel, angelica root, and cassia bark and five Celtic non traditional botanicals; rowan berries, heather, bog myrtle, dandelion, and coul blush apple). It is produced using a quadruple distilled grain spirit as its base, with the flavours from the hand-picked botanicals infused into the spirit when the distilled vapour of the final distillation passes through the trays of the Balmenach Distillery’s vintage 1920’s Copper Berry Chamber which of course contains the botanicals.

When I reviewed Caorunn Gin (April 2013) I found that although the spirit had a traditional flavour profile, this traditional flavour was accented by sharp wisps of dandelion and rowan berry flavours. I found these flavour accents mixed very well with lemon juice in the cocktails I constructed. Therefore, in addition to the standard Gin and Tonic  Cocktail (see recipe here) which I was using as my base mixed drink for the competition, I also constructed a modified Gin and Tonic cocktail for Caorunn Gin using a bit of lemon juice in conjunction with the Lime (see recipe here). It turned out that this alternate construction was my preferred G&T cocktail (see photo left) for the Caorunn Gin, and my G&T Score for this gin is based upon the preferred cocktail.

The G&T Score for the Caorunn Gin based on my preferred cocktail is 83.5/100.

Just so you do not have to keep track of these scores yourself, I have constructed a separate page to keep a running tally of all scores as they are published, and you may refer to that page here;

Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge

As well you may read my published review of Caorunn Gin here (which includes the aforementioned Gin and Tonic #3 Cocktail):

Review: Caorunn Gin

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Note: I should point out that this series of Gin and Tonic Challenge publications occurs in no particular order. Every day or so I shall grab one of the sample Gins from my review shelf and build one or two Gin and Tonics. If that particular gin has not been reviewed on my website, I will publish a review and I will also assign the spirit a G&T Cocktail Score out of 100. Only when all of the featured Gins are have been examined (one at a time) will I declare which Gin I feel is the Rum Howler 2014, best spirit for Gin and Tonics. I plan to have fun this August, I hope you do too!

 

 

 

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Q Tonic vs Schweppes

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 3, 2014

Two and a half years ago, I published a comparative review of Schweppes Tonic versus a new upstart Tonic water which had just entered the Alberta market, Q Tonic.

It all started when I was visiting one of my favourite Liquor Stores, (Lacombe Park Spirits in St. Albert if you want to know), when Karim, who is one of the owners, asked me to try a Gin and Tonic with a new Tonic Water he had started to carry called Q Tonic.

I let him make me a small sample cocktail, and it was pretty good. In fact, I was intrigued enough to make contact with Jordan Silbert, the founder of Q Drinks and asked him if he would like to send me a sample and some information, especially as I had began to receive quite a few a few gin samples to review and a premium Tonic water seemed like a good idea.

My thought was that it would be fun to make some side by side cocktails with Q Tonic and Schweppes Tonic to see if I preferred one over the other consistently. Jordan agreed, and I received a few small bottles of Q Tonic in the mail shortly before Christmas. This was good because the gin samples were beginning to pile up, and I wanted to get at them.

So with four different gins, Beefeater 24, Citadelle Reserve, Port of Barcelona and Broker’s Gin, I set out over the next couple of weeks to test the Gin and Tonic Cocktail with both Q Tonic and Schweppes Tonic.

I published the results of this exercise in January, 2012 and you may read those results by following the provided link:

Comparative Review: Schweppes Tonic VS Q Tonic

Although my Schweppes vs Q Tonic comparison was published over two years ago, I thought it appropriate to revisit this publication as a sort of teaser for my next project, the Gin and Tonic Challenge! Throughout the month of August I will be examining about 15 different Gins I have collected in an effort to find the Best Gin for the quintessential summer cocktail, the Gin and Tonic.

Stay tuned ….

 

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Review: Dictador Ortodoxy Aged Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 28, 2014

Orthydoxy SAM_1227This past May, I was invited by Thirsty Cellar Imports, to attend a Rum Master Class hosted by Hernan Parra Arango, Rum Master for Dictador Colombian Rum. At the event, the attendees were given the opportunity to taste the entire Dictador line-up which included not only the fantastic Dictador Rums, but also two unique Colombian premium aged gins.

These premium gins are the result of the passion of former President of Dictador, Dario Parra, who had during his many travels in the United Kingdom developed a tremendous love for gin. Dario studied many gin recipes and back home in Colombia he developed his gin for his own personal use, utilizing traditional ingredients in conjunction with berries and botanicals native to Colombia. Dario Parra’s passion has resulted in the creation of two special aged gins which are now sold internationally, Dictador Treasure, and Dictador Ortodoxy.

Grapefuit Martini

Grapefruit Martini

The subject of this review is Dictador Ortodoxy Aged Gin, which as the name implies has been constructed to have a traditional, or orthodox, flavour profile which will be familiar to gin enthusiasts. This gin is produced from sugar cane alcohol which is distilled 4 times to 96 % alcohol by volume. During the 5th distillation each botanical is macerated and distilled separately before being blended. The blended gin is then aged for 35 weeks in previously used rum barrels, and then filtered clear to be bottled at 43 % alcohol by volume.

You may click the following Review excerpt to read the full review:

Review: Dictador Ortodoxy Gin

“… The initial breezes from the glass bring forward light juniper and alpine forest scents with a touch of cotton candy whispering in the background which gives the air above the glass a lovely hint of sweetness. This aroma seems gentle and relaxed as there are also enticing floral accents with hints of citrus zest and lemon balm …”

Of course I have added a few recipes for your enjoyment, a Gin and Tonic, and a Grapefruit Martini. Both are absolutely great with Dictador’s Ortodoxy Aged Gin!

 

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Review: Sahara Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 20, 2014

SAM_1211 Sahara GinHighwood Distillers is a Canadian distillery located just east of the Canadian Rockies in the town of High River, Alberta. I have visited the distillery and watched first hand as they turned the local wheat into whisky, vodka. and gin. Their Sahara Dry Gin is produced in the London Dry style from locally produced wheat and naturally sourced Rocky Mountain water. I am not privy to the exact recipe of this gin, but according to their own website, juniper, citrus of lemon, and other botanicals are all added during the final distillation. This is s very dry gin. So dry in fact, that the folks at Highwood named it Sahara.

Lime Crusta with Sahara Dry Gin

Lime Crusta with Sahara Dry Gin

Sahara Dry Gin recently received a bit of a make-over and is now sold in a stubby new bottle which is shown to the left. I was recently provided a sample bottle in the new configuration by the folks at Highwood for the purpose of a revisiting my previous review here on my website. As this gin was likely produced after the distillery was retrofitted with new equipment after the flooding of 2013.

I thought revisiting my review was timely.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Sahara Dry Gin

“… The nose has a laid back quality of juniper and lighter accents of lemon and grapefruit. There is a bit of an alpine scent mingled with the juniper and perhaps some scents of willow thicket, meadow grass, and spring flowers. Everything is all rather mellow; but it is also rather enjoyable …”

I included two nice cocktails at the conclusion of the review, a very nice ‘cooler’ style cocktail to enjoy with the Sahara, the Jumping Buffalo Cooler, and my brand new cocktail, the Lime Crusta!

Please enjoy my review and my suggested cocktails, Cheers!

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Review: No. 3 London Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 9, 2014

Berry Bros. & Rudd is London’s oldest wine and spirits merchant with over 300 years of experience and tradition to draw on. Use this expertise and a team of spirits experts they created No. 3 London Dry Gin. The recipe is based upon three fruits and three spices, and to those I shall speak to in the review. However, I shall say as a bit of foreshadowing, that sometimes artistry can be found in simplicity.

I first sampled the No. 3 Gin at a store called Lacombe Park Spirits in St. Albert, Alberta. I have come to know the proprietors, Karim and his brother Jeff, quite well over the past couple of years, and when Karim discovered that I was about to venture into a series of Gin reviews he insisted that I try one of his favourites.

I was convinced after one sip that this was a gin which I wanted to review, and after contacting the website for No. 3 London Dry Gin, Ross Hendry from Berry Brothers & Rudd, arranged for me to receive a bottle sample with of course the help of the local distributor Charton-Hobbs.

Here is a link to the full review (click on the excerpt):

1878 Gin Cocktail

1878 Gin Cocktail

Review: No. 3 London Dry Gin

“…When that first sample was poured for me at Lacombe Spirits, the first thing I noticed was the assertiveness of the aroma around the glass. I commented to Karim (the proprietor of Lacombe Park Spirits) that this was exactly how I liked my gin to smell in the glass. The nose was full of juniper, but it was not sharp and unpleasant, rather it was full of aromatics which lifted the juniper scent out of the glass and then surrounded it with floral notes and a beguiling sweetness…”

Leo Engels, published his Bartender’s Guide, American and Other Drinks, in 1878. It is a fascinating glimpse into early mixology at a time when bar drinks and cocktails were just beginning to evolve and spread through North America and Europe. At that time, the word ‘cocktail’ was reserved for a specific type of bar drink, which resembles what we call the Old-Fashioned cocktail today.

Included in my updated review of No. 3 London Dry Gin is a reconstruction of Leo Engels’ original Gin Cocktail recipe, the 1878 Gin Cocktail.

Please enjoy my review and the recipes that follow!

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