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Review – Bombay Sapphire

Posted by Reese On September - 9 - 2008

For our gin tasting Bombay Sapphire served as our yard stick, so to speak.  More so, I think this holds true for a large portion of the population.  Sapphire is the most common top-shelf gin that you’ll find when ordering drinks at most restaurants and bars.  And so it follows that this gin be the one people are most familiar with.  It was certainly the case for me up until a couple years ago when I really started to enjoy gin over vodka and started expanding my horizons.  I started buying various gins to get an idea of what flavors they bring to the party.  My typical sampling drink was always the Gin and Tonic, which I assure you we will cover later on.  Sapphire works fairly well with a G&T although not currently my favorite.  Because of this fact it was hard to top Sapphire and it reigned king for me for quite some time.  It wasn’t until I branched out to other gin cocktails that it came clearer to me that Sapphire need not be king for life.

Without question Sapphire is a very good gin, but I think Sean summed it up nicely during out tasting.  The spirit is “too complex [and has a] muddled [flavor]”.  Sapphire uses ten botanicals in creating its spirit which seems to lead to a somewhat muddled flavor.  I think the key reason behind this is because no flavor is prime.  The result of this is a gin that can easily compete with vodka, which I think is no mistake on the part of Bacardi, Sapphire’s producer.  Vodka became the dominant spirit in the market in the mid-70’s.  In order to compete I think some gins have toned down their flavors.

But back to our comments from the tasting.  We felt that Sapphire had a nice creamy beggining but ended with quite a bit of burn.  Someone, who will remain nameless (ok, I forgot to include a name in my notes) felt there was a smell of bark.  The only realy complaint was that there was no forward flavor.  That said, Sapphire remains my gin of choice when ordering drinks out, at least at less well stocked bars.  If you haven’t tried many gin drinks, Sapphire is certainly a good place to start.  Its mellow flavor will ease you in to enjoying gin.

Gin Tasting #1

Posted by Reese On September - 4 - 2008

Shortly after the launch of Cocktail Hacker Aaron and I hosted a Gin tasting and I’ve been much too lazy in getting the details posted.  So, here’s the start of the correction to that problem.

Both Aaron and I are huge Gin fans and my collection of the same has grown quite large, 19 bottles at current count.  That in mind we wanted to get our thoughts on each documented so we invited some friends over and chose six bottles to taste.  In attendance were Sean, Eric, Jeff, Aaron and I.  Now let me start this tale by saying that we all enjoy Gin, but none of us had ever done any sort of formal tasting.

The Gins we chose from left to right are: Jackelope, Plymouth, CapRock, Old Raj, Bafferts and Juniper Green.  My plan behind choosing these six was to select Gins that I guessed most of the tasters had never tasted before.  However, being a spirit tasting neophyte I had no idea in what order we should taste.  Sean had had some experience tasting wine and so I gave him the job of putting the Gins in tasting order.

After having sniffed each thoroughly Sean chose a “roller coaster” style of tasting in that the flavors (based on the scents alone) should go up and down throughout the course of the tasting.  This was the wrong plan we found out, but more on that later.  Once the order was decided Eric decided he first needed to sample some Bombay Sapphire.  The thinking being Sapphire is a Gin we’re all familiar with so it would serve as a good baseline for the rest of the tasting.  So there it began.  We ended up sampling all six (well seven, technically) Gins then retired for some sushi on Pearl Street.

I’ll be writing up our thoughts on each of the Gins over the next few weeks and I’m sure that the Cocktail Hacker tasting parties will continue so we’ll be sure to document those as well.  Hopefully in a more timely manner.

[NOTE] There are a lot more pictures from the tasting in the Cocktail Hacker Flickr Pool.  Which, now that I think about it, I’ve not mentioned here before.  Check it out, there are some nice images in there. [/NOTE]