White Dog Whiskey meets Gin and this is their lovechild.
Notes: This is a different style of gin from the much more common London Dry style (click on above for info on Styles/Definitions of Gin). It is made in by a small company in Maxwelton, West Virginia. Fermented and distilled in house (this is NOT one of those outfits that use neutral grain spirits) they use corn, wheat and barley in a bourbon mash bill (recipe) as a base and then use a blend of the usual suspects of juniper, orange and lemon peel, cardamom etc., and distill in small batches. They also have a barrel aged version of this gin which I highly recommend. In addition Smooth Ambler also produces a white whiskey and a vodka which uses a bourbon mash bill (to give it more complexity/depth), a rye and now a bourbon. They use a copper potstill and are located on a limestone shelf – two prerequistes for excellent distilling.
Appearance: Clear, bright,a touch of oiliness/viscosity to the body, good long legs. When it is chilled it takes on a wonderful thick glasslike appearance even when shaken.
First Impression: Juniper and citrus bouquet in the nose with a hint of cardamom, and some nice slightly heavy and oily grain notes that give it more of a genever spin to it.
Taste: Tastes more like a plush genever with almost a Old Tom sweetness at first blush, with citrus, and a nice juicy body to it rather than a spare London Dry. The grain body gives it a weighty, nicely thick full genever type body with the corn providing a slightly buttery and just a touch sweet note. Slightly dry long finish with the cardamom providing a nice lingeringly dry warming end but no burn. Smooth, a touch sweet start, and very seductive. Delicious!
Drinks: We tried the gin in martinis, gin and tonics and a few more. It is wonderful as a martini with a twist of lemon or an olive. It has sufficient spicing and body to stand up to both. Great for an Opera, Maiden’s Prayer, etc., on the traditional London Dry drinks and smoothness and weight to tackle some of the Old Tom recipes if a touch on the dry side.
Bottle: Distinctive, short bright clear glass with a rounded shoulder, much like a pharmacy bottle. Simple wrap around label with batch #, bottling date, and bottled by info lets you know this is a small batch premium product – not some mass produced cheap gin. Some graphics silk screened directly onto the glass. Nice heft to the bottle and a good grade of clear glass with nice decanter base so it is solid and hard to knock over. Composite cork closure which protects the gin from cork taint and leakage with a attractive black and red neckwrap.
Final Thoughts: A complex, interesting gin in a that is a refreshing departure from the juniper vodka that people are trying to increasingly trying to pass off as gin. As we said more of a older genever or the original american style of gin (which was a genever grain gin type also). Well made, with a very well made bourbon mashbill base and good botanicals to create a full bodied, citrusy, smooth gin that has more weight and mouthfeel with a nice punch/push of botanicals. This is a top notch artisanal gin – better than some that cost a good bit more and is cheaper than many in the premium category to which it rightfully belongs with a lot more going on in the flavors. Sufficiently different for the gin phobic to enjoy and something for the gin lover to embrace.
Good simple web site easy navigation, simple and straightforward. Need more information and updating. Their Facebook page is much more about to date if a bit to get through.