It occurred to me and @FlatFootFox the other day that we’ve accumulated several brands of gin. It started with a local variety for Gin and Tonics, then slowly expanded as we stumbled upon rare bottles, or received the occasional generous gift.
When different gins are mixed into cocktails, it’s possible to find subtle variations in flavor; but, it can be difficult to isolate which differences are from the gin, and which are due to the other mixers and their ratios. While they all have the unmistakable foundation of juniper, they don’t contain it in equal measure — and each has a different take on what the supporting aromatics should be. How do these variations affect the straight, raw flavors in the final product?
Here are some tasting notes after trying about half an ounce of each gin, served neat. I’m not an expert taster, so I apologize if these descriptions are tragically basic. What I do hope to convey, though, is just how much variation there is when it comes to a supposedly-simple bottle of gin.
Aroma: Sharp, pure, alcoholic.
Taste: Juniper. One dimensional, but clean.
Notes: It was difficult to get past the pronounced taste of alcohol on this gin. It gave the traditional juniper notes an almost minty bite, which lingered well after the half ounce taster was done. @FlatFootFox: “Vodka-like bite”. Would work with most cocktails, especially those with strong flavors.
Aroma: Sharp juniper. Alcoholic.
Taste: Pronounced pine.
Notes: Overall, very similar to the regular-strength Genius Gin, but amped up a few notches — both on the flavor, and the alcoholic burn. Would make a good foundation for a strong cocktail, but is too assertive to drink straight, or in a weak cocktail.
Aroma: Floral. Some notes of pine, but more on the vegetal end of the spectrum.
Taste: Juniper, crisp vegetable.
Notes: Incredibly smooth and easy to drink. Not at all aggressive; flavorful; juniper tempered by lighter earthy notes. @FlatFootFox: “Subtle finish.”
|Four Peel Gin|
Aroma: Pine, with a spiced finish.
Taste: Pine, juniper, citrus and spices.
Notes: By far the most unique gin out of the bunch. This gin’s primary selling point is that its aromatics include citrus, but the citrus wasn’t overly strong. Instead, it added complexity and spice. Reminded me a lot of the flavors you would find in a homemade cranberry sauce. Good for lighter cocktails or on its own. @FlatFootFox: “Smooth taste. No alcoholic bite.”
Aroma: Juniper and rosemary.
Taste: Woody and earthy.
Notes: This is like the opposite of the Four Peel. Whereas that highlighted the more floral, citrus-y notes of gin, Waterloo focuses on the earthy, pine-y notes. In particular, rosemary is noticeable in both the taste and aroma, making for a very assertive flavor profile. Interestingly, it is not assertive on the alcohol — while it is stronger than Four Peel and Hendrick’s, it is not nearly as bracing as Genius. Well-suited for a gin and tonic.