by definition is a flavored spirit with the dominant
flavoring coming from juniper berries and usually a few other
well chosen botanicals, and in certain cases, going up to
over a dozen other botanicals. And up until about 1913 gin
was additionally flavored with turpentine to give it those
highly desirable "resinous woody notes". But I ain't
never heard of no brown gin or aged gin. Leave it up to Crispin
and Devin Cain and the good folks at Germain-Robin to crank
out an aged gin and then up the ante by producing a ginger
flavored gin and also a lime flavored gin. What's up next
guys, watermelon flavored gin?
their straight up gin, they use just a handful of botanicals;
juniper, coriander, orris root, and lemon peel. They infuse
and re-distill their gins using both a small Holstein pot
still and the Germain-Robin 16HL antique cognac still. The
plain gin gets bottled immediately while the dark gin then
spends a year in new bourbon barrels and a used 350 liter
Cognac barrel. Well, I've tasted a bunch of these folks other
spirits and have not been disappointed yet, so let's see if
these two gins maintain that track record.
Russell Henry Gin comes in a transparent,
simple, yet elegant bottle. The nose is soft yet peppery with
juniper front and center and the coriander and orris root
coming in second followed by a very faint touch of lemon.
The palate is also quite laid back with the juniper and coriander
mixing nicely with the lemon, creating a very smooth taste.
The finish leaves the pleasant sensation of juniper and citrus
in the back of the throat and is long and also smooth, leaving
a mild peppery, minty after taste. This really is a good,
smooth, straightforward gin that hits all the proper tasting
notes except for those "resinous woody notes" previously
mentioned. There are more complex gins out there that boast
north of 12 botanicals, but this one does indeed cover all
the bases and doesn't seem to miss all those extra ingredients.
Russell Henry Dark Gin comes in the same
bottle that the Russell Henry regular gin comes in and that
lets the whiskey/scotch/cognac pale golden color shine through.
It's really weird seeing a gin of this color, but after all,
Gin is just juniper flavored vodka, and I've seen vodka come
in every color of the rainbow! This nose just simply works.
Again it is very subtle with a combination of oakiness and
juniper taking center stage and playing very well together
while removing almost all of the lemon yet leaving the coriander
and orris root. The palate starts to take on the profile of
a very delicate, oaky whiskey that is immediately punctuated
by the juniper but that punctuation is more like a comma rather
than an exclamation point. I can still detect the orris and
coriander but the lemon has faded to a faint memory. The finish
is slightly peppery yet also smooth and leaves a taste of
oak and juniper in the throat. I must admit this is my first
go around with aged gin, and I really am in a quandary because
it certainly has the requisite juniper taste, but the oak
flavor throws me for a loop. That's not to say I don't like
it, because I do in fact like it, but it will take some getting
used to just like an aged vodka would take some getting used
to. Thanks to the mad scientists, magicians and distillers
of Mendocino County, I will now have something else to contemplate
other than my navel.
Russell Henry London Dry Gin weighs in at
45% ABV and runs about $38.00 per 750ml bottle. The Russell
Henry Dark Gin also weighs in at 45% ABV but it will
set you back $65.00 per 750ml bottle. Believe me if you've
never had oaky gin this is the one to try.
more Rants & Raves click