As we discussed on Tuesday, while Castle & Key is actively making bourbon, it is nowhere near ready to sell. And while I was impressed with the QC taste of the bourbon new make I had, I wouldn’t have wanted to purchase a bottle of that. Instead, I purchased two bottles of their gin. One was their standard Restoration Release and the other is their Autumn 2019 limited release. By an odd coincidence, I had received an email about the limited release just a day or two before my tour was scheduled.
Because I don’t consider gin to be a sipping spirit, I’ve given tasting notes, but then also tested it in a couple of my favorite gin cocktails. In this case, the Gin Rickey and my riff on the Negroni that uses Averna instead of Vermouth.
Castle & Key Restoration Release Gin
Purchase Info: $32.99 for a 750mL bottle at the distillery gift shop.
Details: 53% ABV. Botanicals used include Chamomile, Ginger, Rosemary, Lemon Verbena, Licorice Root, Angelica Root, Coriander, Juniper.
Nose: Juniper, Citrus, savory spices, ginger
Month: Spicy ginger, citrus, mint, light juniper
Finish: Lingering ginger and lemon. After a bit chamomile shows up.
Thoughts: If you think that all gins taste like you've eaten a Christmas tree, you haven't had this gin. This is spicy and floral with only hints of juniper. While I doubt I would ever drink gin neat, if someone forced me to, I would choose this one. Very flavorful.
Autumn 2019 Recipe:
Purchase Info: $39.99 for a 750mL bottle at the distillery gift shop.
Details: 51.5% ABV. Botanicals used include Juniper, Coriander, Angelica Root, Licorice Root, Ginger Root, White Sage, Pink Peppercorn, Clove, and Cassia Bark.
Nose: Sage, clove, faint juniper and savory spices
Mouth: Cooling sage and spicy ginger.
Finish: Lingering ginger, sage, clove, and citrus.
Thoughts: Sage is the star of the show on this one. I'm also really loving the ginger notes. You can see the family resemblance between these two. Not bad at all.
Gin Rickey Results:
Restoration Release: Thumbs up. Will drink again.
Autumn 2019 Release: Not a fan. I don't like the Sage/lime combo.
Black Negroni Results.
Restoration Release: Works well but hides behind the Campari a bit.
Autumn 2019 Release: The sage notes really add to this. It complements the Campari and Averna. I like this usage a lot.
I am really impressed with these two gins. I am a huge fan of ginger and the ginger notes in both of these are fantastic. It is the ginger that will convince me to try these in more spirit-forward drinks. I’m super impressed. These aren’t your standard London Dry Gins, but in many ways, I like them better.
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