The Tasting Panel magazine

January / February 2017

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GIN-UARY 1 16  /  the tasting panel  /  january/february 2017 BY ROBERT PLOTKIN More than any other clear spirit, premium gins are individuals, made from recipes that endow them with well-developed characters and highly defined personalities. It is a rarefied lot, with the fewest number of premium brands of all major spirits. Add to this that no two gins taste alike, each brand name gin is truly a singular commodity. So when gin aficionados say they prefer a particular gin more than the others, believe them. The following gins perfectly prove the point. A PRACTITIONER'S GUIDE TO HANDCRAFTED LONDON CALLING: SIPSMITH LONDON DRY GIN In 2009, partners Sam Galsworthy, Fairfax Hall and Master Distiller Jared Brown began operating a craft distillery— Sipsmith Independent Spirits—in London and in doing so became the first copper-pot distillery to open in that city in nearly 200 years. Along with state-of-the-art equip- ment, they brought a passion for handcrafted gin and the artisanal distilling process. For devotees of classically structured spirits, Sipsmith Gins are a tour de force. Sipsmith London Dry Gin (SRP $35.99) is produced from a base of neutral grain spirit, derived from British wheat. A blend of ten botanicals is added to the still, which is allowed to steep overnight prior to distillation. Much like you would with a single malt whiskey, Sipsmith only takes the heart cut, and simply blends this down with water to 41.6% ABV. Sipsmith London Dry Gin is classically balanced, complex and utterly engaging. The gin has pristine clarity and a tantalizing floral, juniper and citrus bouquet. Its warm, silky smooth entry fades to reveal a broad ensemble of dry flavors, including piney juniper followed by zesty lemon and baking spice. It finishes long, spicy, warm and genuinely elegant. Gin enthusiasts will be smitten with Sipsmith London Dry Gin after the first sip. Aromatic, flavorful and precisely balanced, it's a natural to serve straight up, or in a 1950's style Martini. BEAM SUNTORY A KEEPER: DRY FLY WASHINGTON DRY GIN Located in Spokane, award-winning Dry Fly Distilling is the first distillery in the state of Washington since the dark days of Prohibition. It is a true craft distillery that embraces a farm-to-bottle approach, producing their spirits from sustainable, locally grown raw ingredients and pristine water drawn from Pacific Northwest aquifers. Among their roster of world-class offerings is Dry Fly Washington Dry Gin (SRP $29.95). Be prepared to be seriously wowed. The Washington Dry Gin is fundamentally different from gins of old, particularly because the flavor and aroma of the juniper berries play a secondary role on the palate and nose to the fresh Fuji apples. Additionally, the botanical mix features coriander, lavender, mint, hops and fresh juniper berries, all of which are immediately evident. "Ten years ago when we developed our Washington Dry Gin, we decided we wanted to go in a different direction from the rest of the field," says distillery co-owner Kent Fleischmann. "In comparison to tradi- tional gins, our gin comes across sweet and fragrant with a delightful spray of citrus on the finish. It is remarkably easy to drink." Not a distillery to rest on its laurels, Dry Fly Aged Gin is matured for a year in barrels used previously to age Dry Fly Wheat Whiskey. The wood imbues the gin with a sandy blonde color. DRY FLY DISTILLING INC. GIN GIN GIN GIN GIN

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