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

 

Mandarin IPA – 4 Mile Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)

  • My Rating: [B+]

Mandarin IPA – 4 Mile Brewing Company, 6.5% ABV, 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft brew*)


  • Style: (flavoured – mandarin orange) Wheat Ale
  • Taste: Bursting mandarin orange toffee malt grapefruit bitter hops
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.50 CAD – 650ml., August 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yep

Visual: Pours translucent brown-orange with a low head, ringed retention

Nose: bright clean mandarin orange (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: crisp, malty sweet impression

Mid-palate: bursting mandarin juicy, (lvl-4-sweetness), toffee malt

Finish: soft tangy prickly bitter hops, orange oil exhale, red grapefruit

Summary: A very bright and orange citrus fruity IPA that displays a super clean flavour profile and carries with it an extremely likable drinkibility. One the most surprising flavoured IPAs I’ve had this year.

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

Black Sam Licorice Stout – Lighthouse Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Black Sam Licorice Stout – Lighthouse Brewing, 7.2% ABV, 650 ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC Craft beer*)


on the front-right label:

“With an aroma of roasted malt and nighttime, this pitch black stout has flavours of rich maltiness, molasses sweetness, dark chocolate, and a delicate note of Licorice.”

(right)


  • Style: (flavoured – Licorice) Stout
  • Taste: Sweet molasses light roast barley malt mild coffee dark chocolate licorice
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn / N. Bby
  • How much: $8 (after 10% off) – 650ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50

Visual: (cellared for 1.5 years). Pours coffee black with no head, almost no retention, scatter micro bubbles surfacing.

Nose: caramelized barley malt, cocoa, slight roast (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: crisp, sweet dark barley malt impression

Mid-palate: (lvl-6-sweetness), molasses, medium roasted barley, coffee,

Finish: dark chocolate, licorice, sweet roasted barley malt exhale

Summary: Overall clean and well-bodied. It lacks creaminess but makes for up for it with a crisp bite up front. Smooth transitions of flavours from start to finish.

Scarfface Cranberry Orange Wit – Phillips Brewing Co. (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Scarfface Cranberry Orange Wit – Phillips Brewing Company, 5.0% ABV, 650 ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-right label:

“Say hello to our little friend! Scarfface is a welcome break from the heavy winter ales, this seasonal offering is snow-packed with enough cranberry and citrus to make a bad guy feel good. The world is yours…and so is this.”

Ingredients: water, barley, wheat, hops, yeast, cranberry juice, coriander, pure orange oil, acacia gum

(right)(left)


  • Style: (cranberry juice, coriander, orange oil) Flavoured Wheat ale
  • Taste: Light pukey palate rough tart tangy unappealing orangish/cranberryish wheat malt
  • Where I got it : Legacy liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $6.90 (after 10% off) – 650 ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no way in frozen hell

Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Pours almost clear pale candy orange without much of a head, ringed retention, scattered small clustered steady streams, minor lacing.

Nose: unappealing orange oil, hints of berries. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: crisp-huge tart, light funk’d tart fruity wheat malt impression

Mid-palate: persistent tartness, (lvl-2-sweetness), tangy-tart acidity, background thin orange oil, palate rough soft banana wheat malt

Finish: slight coriander dry, more palate rough tart slight cranberry finish

Summary: Unfortunately none of the particularly advertised flavours shine; the whole experience lacks refinement. There’s also a major palate roughness in here that makes it quite unpleasant to drink by itself. Not recommended, though I can’t remember that last time I had a Phillips brew that wow’d me.

Northwest Dark Sour Saison BA – Spinnakers Brewpub (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Northwest Dark Sour Saison / Brewers Reserve Series (single batch 150 cases) – Spinnakers Brewpub, 6.0% ABV – 60 IBU, 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-rightt label:

“Dark, hoppy, tropical, sour, funky, spicy, malty – this saison has a lot going on. Brewer with a hefty dose of tropical northwest hops, aged in French and American Oak for 6 months and they dry hopped, this sour is truly complex and has a bit of something for everyone. ”

(right)


  • Style: (French & American oak barrel aged) Sour Ale
  • Taste: Big sour-tart pukey fieldberry barley malt mid-to-finish bitter hops
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $13.45 CAD – 650ml., March 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50

Visual: Pours a very dark brown with virtually no head, ringed retention with a small island, a few bubbles here and there.

Nose: dark fruity currant/raspberry, slight sour acidic vinegary. Rich and welcoming. (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: light crisp-immediate sour impression

Mid-palate: big sour-tart acidity mixed with fruity pukey funk, (lvl-4-sweetness), light barrel woodiness, sour fieldberry barley malt

Finish: stealth bitter hops, residual pukiness

Summary: Finally, a spinnaker brew that I can give a decent rating. Good complexity that involves an appetizing sourness and completeness in the fruity body. The sourness gets a bit heavy, but I bitter hops that kick in from the late mids to finish help out. I’m glad to see a step up in the quality in this brew.

Son of the Morning – Driftwood Brewery (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Son of the Morning Strong Golden Ale – Driftwood Brewery, 10% ABV, 650 ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the front-left label:

“Devilishly named in the tradition of Belgian Strong Golden Ales. Feel the pull of the underworld as you enjoy this drinkable treat, but beware, the Dark Prince will exact his price…””

Ingredients: (unfiltered) – malt, hops, yeast, water, candi sugar, coriander, black magic


  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • Taste: Heavy boozy honey chamomile clove barley malt
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $9 CAD (after 10% off) – 650 ml., March 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not as good as a Belgian

Visual: (cellared for 5 years). Pours frosty golden orange with a small dissipating head, ringed retention with an island, very tight clusters of cascading steady streams.

Nose: chamomile-honey barley malt, boozy. (lvl-7)-intensity

Attack: slightly thicker viscosity, micro-tingly soft crisp, boozy dense barley malt impression

Mid-palate: honey, numbing-BOOZY HEAVY barley malt, candi sugar (lvl-7-sweetness), chamomile

Finish: mild coriander, lingering sweet heavy barley malt

Summary: Heavy and weighs on the palate. It has the core characteristics of a Belgian strong, but lacks the balance and refinement of a made in Belgium. The richness of flavour is lacking in the finish allowing the alcohol to dominate.