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GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by Hoke » Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:42 pm

Snips from a recent posting on the three gins from St. George Spirits down in Alameda: Botanivore, Terroir, and Dry Rye.

Botanivore Gin
While generally not a big fan of the ‘throw everything in the batch and see what comes out’ approach to building a gin, I have to confess this one works. With 19 different botanicals---St. George claims angelica root, bay laurel, bergamot peel, black peppercorn, caraway, cardamom, cilantro, cinnamon, citra hops, coriander, dill seed, fennel seed, ginger, juniper-berries, lemon and lime peel, orris root, Seville orange peel, and star anise (excuse me, I have to take a breath now)---it would be easy to muddy up the botanicals into a vast stew of indiscriminate, or even combatting, aromas and flavors. Bu the Botanivore pulls it off.

The profile is crisp and herbaceous, with brisk, sharp definition of some aromas and muted background notes of others, but they do play well together. Not terribly overt on the juniper element, and with a bright burst of pungent citrus mélange with understated florality, this would be an intriguing gin for bartenders, budding or pro, to tinker with. A good all-purpose gin leaning forcefully to what they're calling the “new American style.”

Terroir Gin
If by the evocation of the word “terroir” St. George Spirits means a palpable sense of place, then I’d go beyond their suggested California and take this gin all the way to the Sierra Foothills, because it’s very much like the experience of taking a walk through the Sierra Redwood forests on Christmas day: there’s a blast of Douglas fir in all its evergreen glory that nips at your nose before you even begin to pick up the teasing interplay of the other botanicals: angelica root, bay laurel, cardamom, cinnamon, coastal sage, coriander, fennel seed, juniper berries, lemon peel, orris root, and Seville orange peel.

Ho Ho Ho!, and put a green-striped candy cane in your martini glass. This is an audacious gin with exuberant focus on the woodsy/earthy/evergreen slice of the aromatic flavor wheel. And Terroir is a great name for it.

Dry Rye Gin
Not for the faint of flavor heart, this bold gin might also be a puzzlement to staunch traditionalists of gin…but then again, maybe not, if you go all the way back to the precursor that got the whole thing started, Dutch genever. Decidedly based on grain, and specifically rye with its spicy, dry, slightly astringent herbaceous quality, Dry Rye Gin comes across at first as malty, genever-like, white-dog-whiskey-like with woody spice and bright citrus added. That’s a lot to put in one bottle, folks; this is an altogether impressive and highly individual gin expression. The recipe, beyond 100% rye, is black peppercorns, caraway, coriander, grapefruit peel, juniper berries, and lime peel.

It would be easy to sip this one solo. It would be just as easy to put it in a classic Negroni. The folks at St. George heartily recommend crafting an Old Fashioned with it---and I can certainly see their point.


And as always, if you want more the link is here: http://violentfermentation.blogspot.com/2014/03/triple-take-trio-of-gins-from-st-george.html
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by wnissen » Mon Mar 24, 2014 12:57 am

Dangit, Hoke! I was all set to pick up my accumulated orders from K&L Wines today, and what do I see at the counter but a three-pack of these gins, in petite 200mL bottles! Better yet, the price was slightly less than any individual bottle. The bad news is that in attempting to save $20 in shipping I managed to spend a lot more than that on gin. And Pépière, can't forget the Pépière. And just one bottle of Pinon's sparkling non-dosé Vouvray. Maybe this belongs in the "impulse buys" thread.

Anyway, I gave all the gins a nosing after I got home and was really impressed. The Botanivore is lovely, and not muddled a bit, and the Terroir is a fresh breeze in a pine forest. It almost seems a shame to mix them with anything, but I won't let that stop me. Thanks for the review.
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by Hoke » Mon Mar 24, 2014 1:03 am

I think you'll be impressed with all three, Walt. I should've mentioned the three-packs, which are a good marketing idea.
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:11 pm

The only one of these I've had is the Dry Rye, which I was quite impressed with. We're planning to hit St. George for their tour and tasting later this week, so I'll report back on what we find there.
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by wnissen » Mon Mar 24, 2014 6:22 pm

Ooh, fun. I've not been.
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by Bill Buitenhuys » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:36 pm

The Botanivore gets the most play in our house (as it's L's fave) but I really like the other two as well.

A Dry Rye Old Fashioned (with a rich simple and orange bitters) was very good. Just reading your description made me think of a couple of upcoming experiments with either St. Germain or aquavit as counterpoints.

Terroir is my least favorite of the three. That balsam has it's place but not very often. I have to give it a side by side tasting with Anchor Steam Genevieve for a fir comparison.
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by Hoke » Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:48 pm

Terroir is my least favorite of the three. That balsam has it's place but not very often. I have to give it a side by side tasting with Anchor Steam Genevieve for a fir comparison.


Hmmm. Great minds. Or, at least, palates. I thought of that too. Haven't physically compared them yet but my taste memory thinks the Terroir is the brighter of the two in fir-balsam, with the Genevieve coming across as slightly maltier and less pronounced.

Of course, you can always add a dash of Clear Creek's Douglas Fir to your cocktail. :D

I'd agree that the Bot. would be the most used and most versatile, then maybe the Dry Rye for more substantial drinks--or suppose I should say, less citrus focused drinks (although I can testify your Sunshine Bitters do work well with the Dry Rye)---and the Terroir as an occasional.
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by wnissen » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:02 pm

I tried both the Botanivore and Rye versions last night, in two dry martinis, 1.5 oz : .25 oz Noilly Prat. I shook each with six ice cubes for roughly the same time. (Interestingly, despite my best efforts the dilution on the Botanivore was higher because the shaker was still room temperature when I made it.)

The Botanivore was lovely, elegant, not at all harsh, with plenty of citrus and balanced juniper. The Rye, though, was something special. It has a distinct floral aroma that's somewhere between moscato grappa and kirschwasser (the eau-de-vie, not the liqueur). Wow. I've never really been able to recognize the "spice" or texture of rye, but this is a spectacular spirit. An excellent match with the herbality and slight sweetness of the Noilly Prat. I can still taste it.
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by Bill Buitenhuys » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:11 pm

Shook?? :shock:
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by Hoke » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:15 pm

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:Shook?? :shock:


We're still working on Walt, Bill.
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by wnissen » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:26 pm

Perhaps it will comfort you that the Shakers were considered a cult by many, and since they were celibate almost all of them died out

As for little 's' shakers, I firmly believe that the oxidation is important to the flavor of many cocktails, and I only stir if I don't feel like cleaning the shaker. I happily shake Manhattans and Negronis, for instance. That bit of folklore about "bruising" a spirit is complete nonsense, in my opinion.

Anyway, I tried the Terrior last night, same recipe (stirred, if you must know, because the shaker was still in the dishwasher from the night before), and really liked it. Fir is no more unusual than juniper, really, and I felt the combination was pleasing and the fir wasn't overpowering. I'm curious to try it in small quantities, maybe substituting the absinthe / Herbsaint in a Sazerac.
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by Hoke » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:55 pm

That bit of folklore about "bruising" a spirit is complete nonsense, in my opinion.


You're right about that part being nonsense. But that's not one of the objections that Bill and I have to shaking versus stirring (speaking for Bill, which I shouldn't, but I will anyway.)
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by Bill Buitenhuys » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:26 pm

I've been spoken for by far worse than you, Hoke. :-)

For me it's the froth and extra bubble factor, variation in mouthfeel, from shaking that I can do without.
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Re: GinTN: Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye Gins

by Hoke » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:36 pm

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:I've been spoken for by far worse than you, Hoke. :-)

For me it's the froth and extra bubble factor, variation in mouthfeel, from shaking that I can do without.


Yep. Froth, aeration, foaminess. And usually bits of ice floaties that don't get strained out and continue to dilute the drink and screw up the look and texture of the drink.

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