BC Gin Round 4 – Victoria (Champ) VS Queensborough (Challenger)

Welcome welcome welcome, and welcome again to the fourth round of the BC gin battle. Up first we have the newly crowned champ from R3, Victoria Gin up against Queensborough (QB) small batch dry gin. QB is the updated and permanent gin the liquor portfolio of Central City Brewers + Distillers, their older gin being Seraph Gin which lost out in R2 here.


1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 45% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $46 CAD (8/2017) @ BCLiquor

  • new label and bottle since spring 2016, , victoriadistillers.com
  • 10 botanicals including: juniper berries, coriander, angelica, orris root, star anise, orange & lemon peel, cinnamon, and rose petals. (…and the 10th one?)
  • 2016 Winner, Vancouver International Spirits Competition
  • 2016 Gold, Beverage Testing Institute Awards

[VS]

2) Queensborough small batch dry gin – Central City Brewers + Distillers – 43% ABV – 750ml., Surrey, BC, $46 (9/2017) @ BCLiquor

  • juniper sourced from BC interior, spruce tips from Vancouver Island.
  • 2017 Double gold @ San Diego Intl spirits competition
  • 2017 Double gold @ San Fran World spirits competition
  • etc etc a few more accolades

Criteria:

Nose: VG is clean, no doubt about it. There are hints of citrus, and soap, with some juniper in the backend. QB is reminds me of the banana-rose like quality of Wallflower, but only half the intensity and leaning more toward the rose. There’s a sense of the green spruce tips in there as well. VG = star anise, QB = spruce mineral. Both are clean and enticing.

Taste & Texture: VG hits you up front with a soft sweetness, followed by juniper, cinnamon, star anise, big licorice, a bit of citrus, and some medium throat heat – overall, clean flavours and smooth transitions. QB‘s entry is very bright and juicy with juniper berry at the start but there’s immediate alcohol detection and invasive heat from the get go. VG takes a different approach by gradually building up the heat. In any case, QB showcases green spruce, jasmine, mild rose and citrus notes, and slight licorice juniper at the finish. As a sipper, VG by TKO smoothness, hands down.


Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin, the winner of rounds 3 and 4 is cool and composed which is remarkable considering its 45% ABV. It will make a smooth cocktail.
  • Queensborough Gin displays a superb bright fruity spruce-juniper-jasmine profile that would make any cocktail unique and flavourful, but there is an overall alcoholic harshness.

Title retained = Victoria Gin by Victoria Distillers, but Queensborough is still an excellent and recommended gin

 

BC Gin Round 3 – Wallflower (Champ) VS Victoria (Challenger)

What’s up hearmenow, this is the 3rd round of the intoxicating BC Gin battle. Winning rounds 1&2 we have again, Wallflower Gin now up against an Victoria Gin sporting a pre-2016 dated bottle and label.


1) Wallflower Gin – Odd Society Spirits, 44% ABV – 750ml., Vancouver, BC, ~$50 CAD @Distillery

  • batch #, year, hand labeled
  • real wood cork top, synthetic rubber plug
  • hefty bottle, unique shape – ++ great. Sticker label – hand numbered and year
  • maceration AND vapour extraction used to obtain flavour
  • 100% BC grown barley, west coast and international botanicals

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[VS]

2) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 45% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $46 CAD (8/2017) @ BCLiquor

  • new label and bottle since spring 2016, , victoriadistillers.com
  • 10 botanicals including: juniper berries, coriander, angelica, orris root, star anise, orange & lemon peel, cinnamon, and rose petals. (…and the 10th one?)
  • 2016 Winner, Vancouver International Spirits Competition
  • 2016 Gold, Beverage Testing Institute Awards

Criteria:

Nose: WF has a unique ‘milky banana-jackfruit‘ aroma shared by the juniper. There’s also a bit of cinnamon/nutmeg going on. VG is extremely citrusy peel bright, and floral with a kiss of rose petal at the tail. It’s much milder in aromatic intensity and reminds me a bit of liquid detergent, but not in a bad way. Winner = VG has a superb cleanliness & refined purity, whereas WF is aromatic but has more nasal burn.

Taste & Texture: WF attacks with syrupy juniper, cinnamon, licorice, and a throat and tongue numbing warm coriander. On the opposite end of the spectrum VG is lighter on the palate starting off with lemon peel, soft juniper mids and a massively clean star anise exhale, and slight notes of rose petal.


Final Notes:

  • Wallflower Gin is thicker in viscosity, has a floral juniperness, and a bit of elderflower at the exhale.
  • Victoria Gin has won 2 awards and here’s why: clean from start to finish, purity of flavour showcasing citrus peel, star anise, and floral overtones all around.

New champ crowned = Victoria Gin by Victoria Distillers

BC Gin Round 2 – Wallflower (Champ) VS Seraph (Challenger)

Here’s the 2nd round of the BC Gin battle. We have the winner from last round, Wallflower Gin up against a now discontinued bottle of Seraph Gin. Central City has replaced the latter  with Queensborough Gin, which will be battling in a later round. Let’s get to it!


1) Wallflower Gin – Odd Society Spirits, 44% ABV – 750ml., Vancouver, BC, ~$50 CAD @Distillery

  • batch #, year, hand labeled
  • real wood cork top, synthetic rubber plug
  • hefty bottle, unique shape – ++ great. Sticker label – hand numbered and year
  • maceration AND vapour extraction used to obtain flavour
  • 100% BC grown barley, west coast and international botanicals

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[VS]

2) Seraph Gin – Central City Brewers & Distillers – 40% ABV – 750ml., Surrey, BC, $35 CAD (10/2015) @ BCLiquor

  • no longer sold (5/2017), info referenced from thespiritofbc.com
  • glass + rubber stopper = unique
  • 100% BC malted barley, 2x distilled, 1st time through column, 2nd in a copper pot with “hanging basket” method of botanical flavour infusion

Criteria:

Nose: Starting out with Wallflower (WF), it gives me a gentle creaminess with soapy banana and juniper, followed by sweet ethyl alcohol, just a bit of agitated nasal tingliness and coming out rather clean at the finish. Seraph has an interesting jackfruit-guyabano nose, but is slightly intruded upon by a harsher alcoholic backdrop. WF = brighter, soapy | Seraph = darker, jackfruit. Winner = Wallflower, it’s more inviting.

Taste & Texture: WF comes out with bright soapy juniper, cinnamon bark, and some spiciness in the backend. Seraph feels much thicker in the mouth, and gives an almost salty-savour impression. It’s somewhat coconut plasticky but in an okay kind of way, mild juniper in the mids, finishing with harsher alcohol. Soap VS plastic, take your pick. I choose soapy WF, bright beats dull.

Final Notes:

  • Wallflower Gin exhibits notes of soapy juniper and slight floral brightness
  • Seraph Gin is darker and has flavours of plasticky banana.

Winner of RD1 and RD2 = Wallflower Gin by Odd Society Spirits

BC Gin Round 1 – Wallflower VS Dragon Mist

Welcome to the opening round of the gin battle featuring gin made locally (for me at least) in British Columbia, Canada. On the left we have Wallflower Gin produced by Odd Society Spirits, located in East Vancouver. And on the right is Dragon Mist Gin distilled in Surrey. Both are priced roughly the same, in the lower premium gin market.


1) Wallflower Gin – Odd Society Spirits, 44% ABV – 750ml., Vancouver, BC, ~$50 CAD @Distillery

  • batch #, year, hand labeled
  • real wood cork top, synthetic rubber plug
  • hefty bottle, unique shape – ++ great. Sticker label – cheap
  • maceration AND vapour extraction used to obtain flavour
  • 100% BC grown barley, west coast and international botanicals

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[VS]

2) Dragon Mist Gin – Dragon Mist Distillery – 46% ABV – 750ml., Surrey, BC, ~$40 CAD, @Distillery

  • comes in a “giftable”, albeit cheap paper carton box
  • aluminum wrapped synthetic rubber plug
  • frosty bottle with perma-stuck on imperfect sticker labels – somewhat cheap looking
  • made with wheat grown in Dawson Creek, glacial water, west coast botanicals such as:
  • juniper berry, apple mint, elderberry, orange blossom, fennel, chamomile, clover, rose petal, honey bush, spearmint, orange peel

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Criteria:

Nose: WF has a good mix of juniper, citrus, floral, and some noticeable soapiness. It’s quite rounded, medium intensity, but gives a bit of a sniffing headache after multiple quaffs. Still, I like the cleanliness and purity of the aromas. DM on the other hand smells somewhat offensive – like there’s something in there that shouldn’t be. It has a sort of buttery paint thinner chemical harshness, with the ethyl nasal burn creeping in the mids to the finish. None of the advertised botanicals are present in the nosing, what a shame. WF wins by a landslide.

Taste & Texture: WF starts out with some mild juniper sweetness, followed by a some citrus oils, more juniper, and then some anise-peppery notes. There’s also a slight background creaminess which I enjoyed. It’s quite smooth as a sipper with the alcoholic heat and medium burn showing up near the finish. Light grassy/pine exhale as well for WF. DM is slightly thinner on the palate and much more jagged and rough. Just one sip and the difference in refinement and enjoyment is like night and day. DM is very aggressive with its alcohol presence despite being only 2% ABV higher at 46%. Beneath all the harshness are pronounced notes of mint, slight fennel, orange blossom, peppery, and sadly nail polish. Need I say more? Wallflower is much, much, much more agreeable.

Final Notes:

  • Based on taste alone, Wallflower = B and Dragon Mist = D+
  • Wallflower exhibits flavours of sweet juniper, soapy citrus, mild grassiness
  • Dragon Mist displays plasticky alcohol harshness, mint, throat numbing spiciness.

Winner = Wallflower Gin by Odd Society Spirits