GSN Review: Spring44 Vodkas & Gin

9044 feet above sea level, Spring44 distillery is located high in the mountains of Colorado.  Utilizing natural spring water and locally grown botanicals, they achieve a terroir in their products that is unusual in the spirit world.  Read on to discover more…

Spring44 Vodka (80 proof) – I found some small white particulates floating in the bottle, otherwise crystal clear.  The nose is intense with aggressive pepper, mild dried vanilla bean and ethanol.  The initial taste is spicy with a vanilla custard overtone.  The grain mash bill is wheat, rye and corn giving an almost baked chewiness to this vodka.  There seems to be more heat coming off the vodka than is typical of 40 proof. This in my opinion, causes the minerality of the spring water to be lost in the background, and gives an overall impression of a rustic distillation.  This is not necessarily a detriment, just a 90 degree turn away from ultra-distilled, boutique vodkas.   GSN Rating: B

Spring44 Honey Vodka (80 proof) – Very pale golden straw color, again with even more white particulates floating in the bottle.  The nose is intriguing and has much less of an alcohol forward impression.  There is a sweet, almost berry-like scent with hints of powdered sugar and caramel.  The flavor is intense with bursts of ripe raspberry, cane sugar, cashew butter, caramel apple, and just a hint of honey.  Surprisingly complex and free of the cloyingly sweetness I normally find in honey-flavored spirits, this vodka is something else entirely.  I like it a lot, and it stands on it’s own as a sipper.  At the same time, the unusual berry-like quality makes it perfect for use in desserts and whipped cream.  Unique and extremely well done.  GSN Rating: A-

Spring44 Gin (80 proof) – Crystal clear.  Dark juniper nose with touches of rainwater, fresh herbs, lavender and cinnamon.  Not dry like a London style gin at all, this is wet and at the same time chalky and leaving a slight bitter quality in the mouth.  The juniper plays in the distant background and citrus is all but non-existant, leaving the floral and spice aspects to play a leading role in a gin that works well on it’s own over rocks.  I had thought it might play well with tonic, but there is almost a quinine-like quality to the gin that made it unbalanced in a G&T.  But, get this; it works amazingly well as a substitute for citron vodka in a Cosmopolitan.  You probably think I’m crazy, but try it and be prepared for a Cosmo with a bolder more voluptuous body. GSN Rating: A-

Spring44 spirits are available in Colorado, New York as well as through Total Beverage on the West coast and Astor Wine & Spirits on the East coast.

GSN Review: Beefeater Winter Edition

Now that we’re in the thick of  Winter, it’s only fitting that the good folks at Beefeater have created a London Dry Gin to bookend their Summer 2010 release.  Using botanicals such as cinnamon, nutmeg, pine, and Seville orange peel, they have distilled a subtley different London Dry styled gin.

The nose is quite orange forward and appealing.  Overall the flavor is distinctly Beefeater, but softer and fruitier than their flagship gin, with additional notes of vanilla and coriander.  This will make a fine martini, but also is perfect for gin based punches (always a favorite at this time of the year), and hot gin cocktails.

Grab a bottle while you can, because when the spring thaw finally comes, Beefeater Winter will be gone along with the snow.  I do hope that this seasonal series continues with Spring and Fall editions in the future.  It would be nice to have a full set to drink year round.  GSN Rating: A-

Check out my previous reviews of Beefeater 24 and Beefeater Summer Edition

GSN Review: Beefeater 24

Weekend Update: I am so very happy to finally acquire Beefeater 24!  I’ve been looking for a bottle since it was released this past Spring.  My good friend Samantha Harrigan procured a bottle for me and I owe her a debt of gratitude.This is a beautiful gin in every sense of the word.  From the retro look and heft of the bottle to the refreshing nose to the crisp bite of the flavor profile, I am highly impressed.  Normally, Beefeater is not one of my “go to” gins, but certainly is high on my scale of affordable quality.  This new style of London made gin is closer to what I generally am drawn to; fresh botanicals and more citrus notes than juniper, although that is certainly present here.  If I were looking for a similar gin, I would suggest something along the lines of Tanqueray 10.  Which is slightly ironic since both gins reference the exact number of ingredients infused into the base.

The opening aroma has notes of bright citrus, juniper, lime and is much less medicinal than regular Beefeater.  The gin is startlingly crystal clear in a gorgeous bottle which is based on the design of a 19th century flask.  This looks impressive on your shelf!

The flavor profile immediately brings to mind sweet candy, orange citrus and an unusual dryness.  This is undoubtedly due to the infusion of tea which creates a tannic quality.

I can see this gin used in a classic martini to great benefit.  As a mixer it will be unrivaled.  I cannot recommend this gin highly enough.

Good Spirits Rating: **** Top Shelf