Maker: Two James, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Style: Barrel-aged dry gin
Michigan state minimum: $44
Appearance: Pale gold.
Nose: Alcohol, juniper.
Palate: Sweetness, alcohol, juniper.
Finish: Dry and coniferous.
Mixed: Gives a nice, clean Pine-sol® aroma to classic gin cocktails.
Parting words: This gin is wildly unbalanced. Its sibling, Old Cockney, teeters on the edge of enjoyability, but the barrel-aged version falls right off the cliff. Most barrel-aged gins bring a creamy sweetness to cocktails, but that’s entirely absent here. No mixer can really stand up to the agressive piney-ness of this gin. It leaves all cocktails in ruins, no matter how good or potent the mixers. For $2 less, you can get Valentine’s barrel rested Liberator gin which is superior in every way. Barrel Reserve Old Cockney Gin is not recommended.
Maker: New Holland Distillery, Holland, Michigan, USA
Style: Dry gin finished in red wine barrels.
Michigan state minimum: $30
Appearance: Pinkish orange, like a light rosé.
Nose: Pomegranate seeds, chocolate orange, alcohol, leather.
Palate: Full bodied. Chili spiced wine.
Finish: Lemonheads, pine cleaner.
Mixed: Added a fruity note to most of the classic cocktails I tried, but does ok with tonic too. Not great in a dry martini, though.
Parting words: I had several questions about the gin and I sent the fine folks at New Holland a message with those questions a few months ago and they never responded, as usual. As a result, I have no idea what variety of wine the barrels held or if they were sourced from a Michigan winery or somewhere else. It would be cool if they were from Michigan, though.
This will probably be the last New Holland spirit I review because I’m sick of reviewing their stuff and not having my existance acknowledged even in the most basic ways. That said, Brixx is pretty good and the price isn’t awful for a barrel finished craft gin. Brixx is recommended.