Tonight I’m posting a review that, frankly, doesn’t belong on this site. Furthermore, it’s a review that’s been in the works for about a year, as I just haven’t felt the gumption to complete it in quite some time. But, what the hey, I’ve got the house to myself on a Friday night, so what better to do than sit around and hammer down a couple of martinis…
That’s right folks, tonight I’m reviewing some fancy pants gin made by two of our most renowned craft brewers in the US of A – Rogue and Dogfish Head. The Dogfish Head “Jin” was purchased during a trip to the brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, and I understand that it is distilled on site. The Rogue Spruce Gin was purchased during time spent in Grand Forks, ND. Now they’re both here with me in the Old North State.
So, as I’ve already alluded, my gin drink of choice is a gin martini. I’m of the mind that the only real martini is made with gin, though I must admit that I muddy the style a bit by making mine with just a splash of sweet vermouth and nothing more – no twist of lemon, no olives, lots of gin. So, let’s do this thing!
Dogfish Head Jin:
I won’t discuss the ‘pour’ or the ‘head’ of these drinks like I normally would because, frankly, there’s nothing interesting about the appearance of a gin martini – it looks like a glass of water. The aroma of this gin is chock full of pine aromas – almost like sticking a Christmas tree up your nose – really quite nice. In the mouth, there is a great amount of sweetness to this gin, more even than the sweet vermouth I used will contribute. There are interesting hints of mint and light fruit on the palate, and even a strange flavor that I couldn’t initially place, but I now have found to be rosemary. It turns out that this is distilled with pineapple mint, juniper berries, rosemary, and green peppercorns and, frankly, you can taste it. I didn’t necessarily get the peppercorns initially, though on subsequent tastes, there is a certain peppery spice there in the aftertaste. All in all, this is good. Probably not a gin for purists, as it does have a large amount of botanical flavoring to it, making it fruitier and spicier than a normal gin. However, there’s no mistaking that it is, in fact, gin – it has all of that evergreen effervescence and a nice burn down the throat. I’ve been very impressed with this gin and I would certainly buy it again.
Rogue Spruce Gin:
The Rogue gin is a beast of a different color. The sweetness is all but gone here, being replaced by an earthy flavor that is, in a word, manly. There is a lot of piney flavor here, as is evidenced by the fact that this is a spruce gin. Insomuch as is possible while holding a martini glass, I feel like a lumberjack drinking this. The flavor isn’t terribly subtle, but rather starts off flat and then smacks you in the face with it’s sprucey flavor, big and earthy. Down the throat, it is quite strong and even a bit abrasive. If you’re a person that likes to really feel your drinks, then this may be down your alley.
Personally, though I may risk cashing in my man card here, I vastly prefer the Dogfish Head to the Rogue in this experiment. The DFH was flavorful and smooth, whereas the Rogue is blunt and harsh. I almost certainly wouldn’t buy the Rogue again, though that’s not to say some wouldn’t love it. If you’re in the mood for a good martini after a long day of toppin’ trees in Montana, then maybe the Rogue is for you. Otherwise, I’d suggest reaching for the Dogfish Head if faced with this choice…