August 4, 2008

Guest Review: Bluecoat Gin

bluecoat_gin.jpgWe 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 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
Recent Comments

I live in Philly, well actually South Jersey. But don't hold that against me when I tell you Bluecoat is a bizarre sad gin. It first tastes way too foresty (its a word..) and then just gets muddy. A nasty, dirty little snot of a drink. Maybe as a BBQ lighter fluid it would earn its keep. Didn't like it.

Posted by: Edward rosenthal at June 7, 2009 11:58 AM

The afmd. commentaries remind me of a scene in the film Amadaeus. "Perhaps too many notes, Sire?" "Yes, that's it! Too many notes. Just eliminate the excessive notes and it will be perfection." The King of Austria was incapable of appreciating the complexity of Mozart's music.
So too it seems these commentators. If Bluecoat gin could be faulted for anything, it would have to be their complex nature and truly high level of intensity. This is one of those rare gins where mixing to enhance is effective rather than mixing to mask. Which explains how it has quickly attracted the patronage of professional barkeeps. They constantly search for ways to build a better drink.

Posted by: Scooterboy at May 30, 2009 10:21 AM

A friend of mine gave me a little take home individual bottle of Bluecoat Gin in March. I just opened and tasted it last night (May). I put it in the freezer overnight and chilled the glass in the freezer. And opened the cute little blue bottle hoping to have a wonderful experience. And ... to my surprise, it just tasted piney to me, not good-old-martini junipery, but Ozark mountain pine needles, crushed and condensed. That's a big yecch for me. And I found the after taste quite bitter too. I'm a Hendricks and Boodles guy and I'm pretty sure after this experience that I'll NEVER be a Bluecoat guy. I don't know where these people came up with citrus, popcorn, etc. I'll take hints of cucumber and Bulgarian rose petals in an old black bottle anytime. Besides, if gin were supposed to be made in the good old USA, the British would have had to win the American Revolutionary War. (Sorry, couldn't stop myself.)

Posted by: Mark P at May 16, 2009 6:15 PM

Distillery 209 has ruined me for Bombay Sapphire. I used to be a Sapphire slut, but now that I've found 209 Sapphire tastes like Pepsi to me. My dad would have called it belly-wash.

Still, if I'm having a 3rd drink I might choose Sapphire. (Why waste the good stuff?)

Bluecoat is good, I've never tried Old Raj or Junipero, but 209 is my gin of choice.

Posted by: Leery D at March 2, 2009 8:37 PM

Had my first taste from a gift bottle of Bluecoat just now. This might take a little "gettin' used to". The popcorn nose and perfumy taste just doesn't match my taste. I told my wife after the first taste that I will need to go out and get a bottle of tonic and a dozen limes to finish the bottle. I am not a gin connoisseur, being very happy with Beefeater and Tanq, but this has way too much flowery taste for me to drink it straight, which is the way I drink gin.

Posted by: JCIll at December 30, 2008 7:03 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.

Posted by: Michael at August 25, 2008 7:59 PM

SteveP, the review mentioned garnishing Hendricks with cucumber. It was a good review of the spirit...just search hendrick's on this site.

For a bottle of gin, Bluecoat definitely lands in the ultra-premium market and is priced accordingly.

My problem with garnishes stem from entertaining guests who over-dilute and could care less about quality. Things start adding up when you have a private stash and a mid level quality that you serve to the high school cheer leading squad...'s parents...

Posted by: JohnR at August 6, 2008 10:52 AM

What garnishes did the article mention?
Also I don't think $30 is "expensive" and MOST people add something to their Gin.

I wouldn't add ice to scotch unless I was drinking something cheap. - ICE masks alcohol flavors too

Posted by: SteveP at August 6, 2008 8:02 AM

IMO I'd say the flavors of Bluecoat best Hendricks any day. Maybe Hendrick's is better in a wet martini or with the garnishes mentioned in the review on the site, but I like my gin like I like my scotch: two cubes or less. Why pay for an expensive liquor if you're just going to mask it with something else?

Posted by: johnr at August 5, 2008 3:08 PM

The nice thing about Bluecoat is that it's also cheap, a lot of bars are starting to use it as their well gin.

Posted by: Rick at August 5, 2008 11:21 AM

My other favorite? Hendrick's.

Posted by: Kevin Erskine at August 4, 2008 3:42 PM

I'd be curious to know your other favorite gin. I've loved the taste of Sapphire since my youth, stealing sips from my dads liquor cabinet. But now, Bluecoat's flavor combined with its smoothness has made it my gin of choice. Goes great over rocks. Nice review. Looking forward to more.

Posted by: johnr at August 4, 2008 1:14 PM
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