Head to Head: A trio of St. George Gins

Maker: St. George, Alameda, California, USAStGeorgeGins

ABV: 45%

 1) Dry Rye Gin

2) Terroir Gin

3) Botanivore Gin

 Appearance: All clear.

 Nose

1) Unpleasant. The aroma of pot-distilled rye spirit melds with the aroma of juniper to create something that smells like wood varnish, only worse.

2) Spicy and exotic. Fennel seed, mango, lemon grass, bay leaf, sage.

3) More conventional and balanced but still very good. Citrus peel, anise, grains of paradise, coriander, juniper.

 On the palate

1) Tastes worse than it smells. Thick and varnishy. Brings back memories of varnishing a birdhouse on a hot, humid day. The rye white dog and juniper tastes are like mustard and ice cream. Mustard is good and ice cream is good, but together they are disgusting.

2) Medium-bodied and spicy. A brightness comes through on the palate that is not as prominent in the nose, but a very welcome addition. Aniseed candy, sugarcane, papaya, fig, lemon thyme

3) Medium-bodied and sophisticated. Sweet cassia dominates in a very pleasant way with the other botanicals harmonizing nicely.

 Finish

1) Finish is no better, but at least it doesn’t get any worse. More varnish. Mercifully short.

2) Bright, juniper/herbal finish that lingers for a long, long time.

3) Fairly dry and spicy. More coriander and a hint of cumin as it very slowly fades.

 Mixed

The dry rye did very poorly with tonic and in a martini, essentially ruining both drinks. The bottom of the package containing the three bottles recommended using the dry rye in a Negroni which I did. It fared much better in that drink, but I’m not interested in buying a gin that only tastes good in one particular drink. I don’t think many other people are either. Others gin drinking friends who tried it, even in the Negroni, also disliked it. One said it tasted like white dog. The other two did great in everything they I tried them in. They were excellent team players but also brought their own distinctives to the table.

Parting Words

Out of the three, the Terroir Gin was my favorite. It was unlike any other gin I have tasted but still recognizable as gin. It’s a delight from beginning to end, and it’s the sort of experience I look for from a micro-gin. The Botanivore was very good too. It lost a little in comparison to the Terroir, but on its own it’s a wonderful product. Where Terroir is a bit garish, Botanivore is elegant. My friends were split between these two. Both were enjoyed but one favored the Botanivore while the other agreed with me.

 It probably goes without saying but Dry Rye is not recommended. Botanivore is recommended and Terroir is highly recommended. All have a minimum price of $37 per 750 ml bottle in Michigan. For this tasting, I purchased a set of three 200 ml bottles for $30 or thereabouts.

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