Recently, Washington state started allowing liquor sales at stores other than those run by the state. This has meant that price competition can flourish, and selection has increased. One thing that we have discovered is the prevalence of excellent Pacific Northwest gin. Now, I’m sure it was always there, but it’s never been something that we have tried, keeping more with vodka or rum (and, of course, beer and cider!).
With this new-found prevalence of excellent gin, we have been embarking on a taste tour of the different varieties, and have found wide variety between the different brands. What we have determined, for ourselves, is that there should be a noticeable taste of juniper. You’d think this would be a standard feature of gin, but it seems that there is a movement away from the traditional taste in order to accommodate a youth that is more used to drinking only vodka-based cocktails. Decent gin, like all decent liquor, isn’t cheap. I’ve never minded paying a premium for quality, but when I spend quite a bit on a gin, and it’s more of a flavored vodka, I feel truly aggrieved. Thus, I present my list of gins that we have enjoyed or not enjoyed.
This is one of the best of the bunch. Distilled right here in the Pacific Northwest, by a distillery that claims to be the first since Prohibition. The botanicals are noticeable, but are not overwhelming. When it is poured over ice, it becomes cloudy, which I can only attribute to the infusion of oils. I don’t know why, but I find this a mark of excellent gin.
No real introduction needed. A perfectly decent, common gin. It’s pretty cheap, and almost every bar will have it. Not something I buy for the house, but it’s a nice choice when out, especially in places that don’t have local spirits. The flavors are all nice, but they are subtle and subdued.
Perhaps a gin with more hype than it’s worth, this is a very nice gin. The price his high for what it is, as far as I’m concerned, but it’s a nice change of pace. Ebb+Flow has a bit of a bite, but Hendrck’s is much smoother. Their claim to fame is that they distill in rose and cucumber, but truthfully, I couldn’t taste it. Even with the increased cost, I really think this gin is one worth trying, if only to get the fun bottle!
Pricey and mediocre, this is a true flavored vodka. It isn’t bad, it just isn’t good. Almost no juniper or botanical flavors. No bite. No anything to distinguish it. You could do worse, but you could also do so much better.
Inexpensive. The flavor is similar to Oola, but the botanicals are more pronounced and the low price makes me not care as much. I’ll happily finish the bottle I have, but I’m not planning on buying it again.
Not just the worst gin I’ve tried, but one of the worst liquors I’ve ever had. Gin is a neutral spirit that is then infused with the botanicals. Blue Flame tasted more like tequila with botanicals, and that is not a pleasant taste. It has been consigned to the top shelf of the pantry, too expensive to throw away, but too lousy to drink.
This is my basic rundown of the gins we’ve tried so far. With the exception of Bombay Sapphire and Hendrick’s, all are Pacific Northwest distilleries. There are still a few left to try, but honestly, every failed gin is an expensive waste. I drink to enjoy, not to force myself to drink something that I don’t like very much, so I end up putting the mediocre bottles to one side, assuring myself that I’ll drink them eventually, and then I never do. For now, I’ll probably stick to what is tried and true, and save the experimenting for a later date.