BC Gin Round 6 – Victoria (Champ) VS Yaletown

Victoria Gin is back at it again entering round 6 against the local downtown Vancouver distillery’s Yaletown Gin. Wax-topped, corked, hand-label, and fancy flat bottled, is Yaletown gin is as good as it looks? Let’s find out how it does against the R3-R5 champ, Victoria Gin.


1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 45% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $47 CAD (4/2018) @ 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) Yaletown Small Batch BC Gin – Yaletown Distilling Company, 42.0% ABV – 375 ml., Vancouver, BC, $27 (11/2015) @ BCLiquor

  • 8 botanicals, including Italian juniper, West African grains of paradise, liquorice root, and bitter almonds.
  • hand numbered bottle and barrel as well as the the distiller’s name


Criteria:

Nose: VG this time around is lemon balm minty, slight alcohol detection, and mostly clean. There’s a subtle but evident rose petal presence. YT is very juniper-forward, nasal-tingly manageable alcohol detection. Pretty typical. When compared side-by-side, VG definitely comes across as more elegant and refined. VG it is.

Taste & Texture: VG is quite minty, with an alcoholic rose petal edge, background juniper and coriander, citrus oils, slow alcoholic heat, and a very aromatic star anise exhale. YT has significantly more heat from start to finish, big berry juniper base accompanied by initial soapiness, woody licorice, spicy grains of paradise, and cinnamon. Sipping one after another, it’s clear that VG is smoother even at a higher ABV, but YT has a tad bit more depth. Still, if I had to choose one to sip, it would be VG.


Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin has a very pleasant lemon balm minty, rose petal with a star anise exhale profile. Very clean and smooth to sip, also dynamic in a cocktail
  • Yaletown Gin is an enjoyable juniper-forward gin with a mostly clean spicy grains of paradise and cinnamon character. This definitely hold up in a cocktail.
  • Victoria Gin is $7 cheaper ($47 vs $54 (2x$27)@ BCL)

Verdict: Victoria Gin, mainly because of it’s unique (and delicious) floral taste profile. Pair that with being clean and smooth and you have a potential long-time reigning champ, as evidenced by winning rounds 3-6. Yaletown Gin is by no means bad as everybody has their own flavour preferences.

BC Gin Round 5 – Victoria (Champ) VS Long Table

All right 2018, let’s do this! In round 5 of the gin battle we have the 2017 winner Victoria up against the local Long Table located in downtown Vancouver. Both weighing in at 45% ABV and Victoria made with 2 more botanicals than Long Table, which one will dominate the taste buds? Let’s do this, guy.


1) Victoria Gin – Victoria Distillers – 45% ABV – 750ml., Sidney, BC, $46 CAD (1/2018) @ 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) London dry gin – Long Table Distillery – 45% ABV – 750ml., Vancouver, BC, $53 (1/2018) @ BCLiquor


Criteria:

Nose: VG has a medium cleanliness with flavours of juniper and bright citrus emerging from the detectable alcohol. LT is duller with rounded edges, slightly creamy with grassier notes. The LT alcohol detection is much more apparent with just a bit of harshness on the nose. Although VG comes across as slightly soapyVG is the winner.

Taste & Texture: VG, upon the first sip, the beautifully aromatic star anise jumps out, fruity juniper in the mids with strong citrus overtones backing it up until the finish. LT despite being a London Dry style, surprisingly comes across as sweeter up front, thicker viscosity, muddly grassy juniper, licorice-coriander alcohol numbing mids, mild cinnamon, citrus undertones, slight nutty – almost salty finish. LT displays a pleasant balanced roundness. In terms of explicit and distinguishable flavour, Victoria takes the cake. VG wins.


Final Notes:

  • Victoria Gin is much brighter, thinner in mouthfeel, soapier, has a bit more roughness, but is overall has and displays strong notes of star anise and orange citrus.
  • Long Table London Dry Gin is creamier, showcases balanced ingredients of grassy juniper and mild citrus
  • Victoria Gin is $7 cheaper ($46 vs $53 @ BCL)

Verdict: Victoria Gin is my preference and winner. Nevertheless Long Table London Dry Gin is quality gin but it doesn’t have any standout flavours despite being balanced.

 

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

wp-1479273719542.jpgwp-1479273726947.jpg

[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

London Dry Gin Round 8 – Fords (Champ) VS Bloom (Challenger)

Here’s another 2017 round of the gin battles, making this Round 8 to date. We have the previous, newly crowned champ Fords versus the beautifully bottled Bloom.


[CHAMPION from Round 7, winning out over Pink 47]

1) Ford’s Gin London Dry – 45% ABV – 750ml., The 86 Co. (England), $43.70 CAD,  Jan 2017 – BC Liquor Stores

  • distilled by 8th gen Master distiller Charles Maxwell and Simon Ford of The 86 Co.
  • 9 botanicals: Italian juniper, Romanian coriander seed, Spanish lemon peel, Haitian/Moroccan bitter orange peel, Turkish grapefruit peel, Chinese jasmine, Italian/Moroccan orris powder, Polish angelica, Indonesian cassia
  • botanicals steeped for 15 hours, cooked for 5 hours

(right)wp-1484984451298.jpg(left)wp-1484984459747.jpg

<VS> Challenger:

2) Bloom Premium London Dry Gin – 40% ABV – 750ml., G&J Greenall (England), $53 CAD,  sometime in 2015-16 – BC Liquor Stores

  • 29 international awards since 2008 (bloomgin.com)
  • created by one of world’s few female master gin distiller, Joanne Moore
  • includes juniper berries from Tuscany, chamomile from France, honeysuckle and pomelo from China
  • affinity for strawberry, rose, lemon, and pear when creating cocktails
  • quality wood top-authentic cork stopper (as opposed to being a cheap aluminum screw top cap)

(right)(cork stopper)

<Criteria>

Nose: Ford exhibits a mostly clean grassy-mineral juniper body with hints of its unique ingredient jasmine, with a bit of alcohol detection at the deep backend. Bloom… what?? had to do a double take; Extremely different with a chamomile-honeysuckle-soft pomelo identity, whilst being very clean from start to finish. It’s a close one but I prefer the brightness of Bloom. Bloom takes it.

Taste & Texture: Ford comes out swinging with an aggressive tangy alcoholic medium harshness, thicker oily viscosity, cinnamon-juniper-jasmine, prickly numbing tongue, menthol throat warmth finish. Blooms is less thick than its competitor, floral-honeysuckle and chamomile up front, light-medium alcohol burn mixed with pomelo citrus while juniper kicks in at the late mids until the finish. Very mild throat burn and a rather clean but unfortunately short finish. There’s about a medium level of depth of flavour for Bloom but the duration of flavour seems too short. I definitely enjoy the flavour, but Ford is simply a more robust gin. Ford gots it.

Final Notes:

  • Ford has a +body, +length, +depth, but unfortunately -smoothness and +burn = will work better in a cocktail with many ingredients
  • Bloom has a unique floral-citrus flavour profile but a weaker body = suitable in a cocktail with few ingredients
  • I would stock both, as both are delicious

but if I had to pick a winner to go to the next round, WINNER = Fords Gin

London Dry Gin Round 7 – Pink 47 (New Champion) VS Fords (Challenger)

Let’s kick off the start of a new year by welcoming the 7th Round of the London Dry Gin Battles. We have the newly crowned Pink 47 going up against The 86 Co.’s Fords London dry.


[CHAMPION from Round 6, recrowned after losing out on round 5, Pink 47]

1) Pink 47 – 47% ABV – 700ml., Old St. Andrews (UK), ~$40 CAD no longer sold at BC Liquor Stores

  • beautiful diamond shaped bottle – inspired by the legendary Khavaraya pink diamond
  • 4x distilled
  • recipe includes 12 botanicals: juniper berries (Tuscany), coriander seeds (Morocco), two types of Angelica roots (Saxony and ?), lemon and orange peel (Spain), orris root (Italy), almonds (Spain), licorice roots (China), cassia bark (Indochina), nutmeg (West Africa) – [actually that’s only 11…]
  • accolades include: International Spirits Challenge 2012 Gold, 69th 2012 Annual Wine & Spirits WSWA Silver, 5***** rating from Paul Pacult 2012, etc, etc, (18 awards and counting)

[VS]

[CHALLENGER]

2) Ford’s Gin London Dry – 45% ABV – 750ml., The 86 Co. (England), $43.70 CAD,  Jan 2017 – BC Liquor Stores

  • distilled by 8th gen Master distiller Charles Maxwell and Simon Ford of The 86 Co.
  • 9 botanicals: Italian juniper, Romanian coriander seed, Spanish lemon peel, Haitian/Moroccan bitter orange peel, Turkish grapefruit peel, Chinese jasmine, Italian/Moroccan orris powder, Polish angelica, Indonesian cassia
  • botanicals steeped for 15 hours, cooked for 5 hours

(right)wp-1484984451298.jpg(left)wp-1484984459747.jpg

Criteria:

Nose: Keeping in mind that almond, licorice, and nutmeg differ in ingredients for P47, I get half juniper-half licorice floral harshness. While it’s not exactly unpleasant, I find the alcohol detection slightly disengaging. Fords main difference is its use of grapefruit peel and jasmine. Upon nosing Fords I get a very clean, composed and mellow sweet grapefruit-lemon citrus – virtually no nasal burn whatsoever; Impressive since it is just 2% ABV lower. Fords wins the nosing challenge.

Taste & Texture: Sipping P47 for the first time in 2017, I remember why I dethroned T.10 in round 6. It comes out with a huge alcoholic intensity backup up by a very lengthy sweet juniper base, prickly licorice and subtle citrus mids, and incredible throat heat at the finish. My intuition says that this will make a sturdy gin base in a cocktail. Onto Fords, slightly thicker in viscosity and wow, I’m really digging the juniper/cinnamon->grapefruit-lemon-orange->sleeper jasmine notes at the finish. Amazingly the alcohol harshness stays for the most part, hidden in the background so you are able to concentrate on teasing apart the individual botanicals. Although P47 has intensity and length, Fords takes it with its composed clean elegance.

Final Notes:

  • P47 exhibits intense juniper sweet, alcoholic soft citrus licorice, a reliable gin-cocktail base spirit
  • Fords showcases a burst of grapefruit juniper citrus with a subtle jasmine backend
  • Both have their place when concocting cocktails; P47 for cocktails with numerous ingredients, Fords to accentuate either the citrus or spotlight the jasmine in it.
  • As I mentioned at the start of Round 1 in the Gin battles, every gin has its own unique recipe, therefore each is more suitable according to the cocktail you wish to create. Thus, all gins are WINNERS! (actually there are probably some awful bathtub gins out there…)

but for this round 7, WINNER = Fords London Dry Gin

Extra battle – [T.10 VS Fords citrus battle]

Outcome: T.10 grapefruit/lime/orange/chamomile VS Fords grapefruit/lemon/orange/jasmine = T.10 is much more grapefruity citrus forward but with it comes a lot of aggressive alcohol at 47.3% ABV. It’s quite suitable in a lower ABV cocktail. Fords is much more tame and around a 65:35 – juniper:citrus ratio. I’d pick T.10 but obviously only for citrus-oriented gin cocktails.

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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

wp-1479273719542.jpgwp-1479273726947.jpg

[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