Guest Review: Bluecoat Gin
We haven't had too many guest reviews lately (hell, we haven't had many in-house reviews lately, but that'll change soon). Our man Kevin from over at The Scotch Blog has put together a nice little piece on Bluecoat Gin, a spirit we've heard a lot about but never had a chance to try. We're being the bigger men by not being jealous he got a bottle of the stuff...especially after his review. Check it out after the jump.
Bluecoat American Dry Gin
Slogan: "Assert your independence with Bluecoat American Dry Gin"
Typical Price: About $30 for 750ml
That rarest of Gin...created not in London, but in the city of brotherly love. Their marketing fluff declares them as "America's only dry gin, But I have a bottle of Junipero (Anchor distilling) sitting in front of me that was made in San Francisco
OK marketing bull aside...
Nose: Very interesting nose. At first I detected the standard Juniper one expects with a Gin, but really strong citrus - primarily orange peel quickly comes out swinging. There's some lemon in there too...but a hint of popcorn. Seriously. And what is interesting is that based on that popcorn I would have guessed the base neutral spirit was corn - but it's a 4-grain mash consisting of rye, wheat, barley and corn. Still. I get popcorn...probably predominately corn in the mash.
Bombay Sapphire, by comparison - a go to for me in most bars gin drinks - has a much more neutral smell...but leans towards rubbing alcohol on the nose.
Taste: Yep. I try Gin straight too. That popcorn gets a long stronger. For 47% this is very smooth. The sweetness really shines here. It's obvious that the predominant botanicals are in the citrus family...But it's juniper that makes Gin Gin, and the use of Juniper berries is obvious - but whatever juniper these guys are using seems sweeter and more rounded.
For the most part Bombay's neutrality lends it well to being a base for drinks - but I don't recommend drinking it straight. Bluecoat on the other hand, was delicious straight. The sweetness really stood out and a long sweet citrusy finish made me want some more.
Bluecoat is extremely well balanced.
The real test - Cocktails
Most people don't know the first damn thing about a Martini.
1. It has to be served VERY cold
2. People order a Dry martini without knowing what that means.
DRY means a little dry vermouth in the shaker.
VERY dry means hardly any (many bartenders will simply coat the martini glass with vermouth - and pour the excess out)...
And "wet" means a decent portion of vermouth - a good sized splash.
I usually order my Martinis wet...You need the vermouth to sweeten, soften and complement the average gin. Blue coat is just the opposite. The innate citrus-sweetness screams out for Very Very dry...as in just wave the bottle of vermouth at the shaker. Bluecoat makes an F'ing fantastic martini.
The Citrus DNA in Bluecoat lends it very well to citrus-based cocktails like the gimlet or collins. I hate tonic, some don't ask me to ruin any good alcohol with it.
Verdict. Bluecoat has moved into my top 2 gins. Go buy some now.
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Posted by Jake Jamieson at August 4, 2008 12:31 PM
Although Bluecoat has a great aroma, I find the finish to taste like clams and dirt. Seriously. I saw another review that referred to it as "musky citrus", which isn't far off either. Personally, I'm not usually looking for musk or clams or dirt in my gin profile.
For gins that are to be served straight up, I strongly recommend Junipero (bold juniper flavor), No. 209 (citrusy) or Old Raj (very potent!). Hendricks is very nice, as well. For an after-dinner gin I'd recommend Martin Miller's Westbourne Strength, which is smooth and a little sweet.