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K&L Staff Recommendations
The pride of Australia is now available here at K&L! After sweeping Double Gold at the San Francisco Spirits competition and wowing serious fans of gin around the world, Four Pillars is bringing its incredible gins from down under to the U.S. Utilizing "four pillars" of success (quality German copper stills, pure Yarra Yarra Valley water, unique Australian botanicals, and love, of course), the team of Aussies has created what we think are the best portfolio of high-quality, serious gins we've ever tasted. The standard Rare Dry release takes a clean and p... Read More »
Indian spices meet lemon and raspberry in this soft and supple gin that combines 19 different botanicals into the smoothest gin yet in the label’s short history. St. George distiller Dave Smith worked with our spirits buyer David Driscoll to create the ideal gin and tonic gin: packed with enough aromatics to handle the tonic, but with accents of fresh fruit and coriander to add an extra dash of intrigue. The mouthfeel is soft and round, creating an incredibly delicate texture on the palate that forces you to consider whether you even need ice or tonic wa... Read More »
The romantic story of Monkey 47 gin is as follows: in 1951, a British man named Montgomery Collins moved to Germany's Black Forest and opened a guesthouse named "Zum wilden Affen" -- the wild monkey. A renowned gin drinker, Collins' taste for the spirit was not particularly renowned until renovation work at the country guesthouse led to the discovery of a weighty old wooden box containing a bottle and a letter. The dusty bottle had been labeled and decorated by hand, showing a sketch of a monkey and the words "Max the Monkey - Schwarzwald Dry Gin" in bla... Read More »
From St. George distillery: Terroir Gin is our ode to the wild beauty of the Golden State. Distiller Lance Winters has a passion for exploring place and memory through distillation, and the aromas of the coastal forests on California's Mount Tam were what inspired him to start making gin in the first place. Terroir Gin has an intense earthy, woodsy nose and flavor derived from Douglas fir, California bay laurel, and California coastal sage complemented by bright, citrusy top notes. This is a unique and proudly Californian gin with a sense of place and po... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "The nose offers wave after wave of botanical and floral perfumes, with the end bouquet focused on cucumber and spring garden floral scents. The palate entry is moderately oily, semisweet and gently herbal; the midpalate stays spirity, vegetal and earthy. The aftertaste features juniper with a dry and minerally undertaste." (11/2006) K&L Notes: We love this new gin coming from Scotland. This handcrafted gin has been infused with cucumber and rose petals. Very aromatic with a smooth sweet flavor and very long length. Try it over ice with thin slices of cucumber!
The pride of Australia is now available here at K&L! After sweeping Double Gold at the San Francisco Spirits competition and wowing serious fans of gin around the world, Four Pillars is bringing its incredible gins from down under to the U.S. Utilizing "four pillars" of success (quality German copper stills, pure Yarra Yarra Valley water, unique Australian botanicals, and love, of course), the team of Aussies has created what we think are the best portfolio of high-quality, serious gins we've ever tasted. At a whopping 58.8%, the Navy Strength gin is a b... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Bartenders will want to experiment with this lovely, lightly floral gin for spring cocktails. It has a light touch, from the citrus scent to the sweet flavor that finishes with a bouquet of rose petals, violets and honeysuckle. One of a trio of new gins from this small-batch distiller." (4/2012) K&L Notes: From St. George distillery: "Botanivore Gin (our "botanical eater") earned its name because it's loaded with botanical ingredients. We distilled 19 different botanicals to compose this spirit (no small feat!) and the resulting gin is beautifully balanced and vibran... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Although the “Botanist” name might suggest a floral gin, instead the flavor profile veers toward herbs and spices. There’s a subtle, herbal scent, with anise flavors up front, backed by coriander seed and cassia bark on the spicy finish. Made by Bruichladdich Distillery, which is renowned for its Scotch, on a pot-still named Ugly Betty. Sold in an attractive, square-shouldered, gift-worthy bottle." (4/2012) K&L Notes: What happens when you take one of the great single malt distillers of all time, put him in a room with an old Scottish pot still and have him make gin ... Read More »
Gin Mare is a product we discovered in Scotland of all places years ago while searching for single malt. The retailer across the street from our hotel in Edinburgh was featuring the gin in a tasting that evening and we went over to check it out. Distilled in Spain with olives, rosemary, basil, and thyme it's a savory and truly Mediterranean experience. The herbs never overpower the palate, however, as the balance between them is quite delicate and refined. It's definitely a fine choice for martinis, paired with olives, of course.
Specially bottled for Berry Bros & Rudd in London, this gin was created to exemplify the classic London Dry style. Unabashedly juniper-driven, the riveting No. 3 gets its name from the historic home of Berry Bros No.3 St James Street in London, where they've been operating continuously since 1698. The No. 3 pushes tradition to the extreme using a simple 3 fruit and 3 spice recipe. The nose is all citrus and piney juniper. On the palate the juniper is balanced perfectly with spicy coriander and verdant cardamom. The finish brings the earth telltale prick... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "A soft, classic gin, ideal for Negronis and a wide range of other drinks. Overall, the flavor is neutral, but it has a touch of sweetness and complex underpinnings of pine, citrus and black pepper. Because it’s so versatile, this workhorse is recommended for anyone starting to build a bar." (4/2012) K&L Notes: Plymouth Gin was started in 17933. Plymouth makes their gin on an ancient site, a 16th-century Dominican Friary where Miles Standish and the Pilgrim stayed the night before they set out for America. Plymouth Gin, at 82.4 proof, is a very smooth gin. It is trip... Read More »
The newest incarnation of Tanqueray's limited edition gin series is here, a la the Malacca and Old Tom in recent years. The Bloomsbury is an homage to Charles Waugh Tanqueray, the son of founder Charles Tanqueray, and his recipe for gin dating back to the 1880s, when the distillery was located in Bloomsbury, London. Using a heavy juniper berry formula, along with coriander, angelica, winter savoury and cassia bark, the result is a delicately fragrant spirit with a lovely balance of flavor. The juniper is front and center giving the Bloomsbury a classic L... Read More »
Notes from Anchor: "Junípero Gin is made by hand in the classic "distilled dry gin" tradition, utilizing morethan a dozen botanicals in their natural state, in a small copper pot still at our little distillery on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. The history of gin goes back at least to the mid-1600's in Holland, but its true antecedents are much earlier, those first experiments in the ancient and mysterious art of distilling in the presence of herbs and spices. The predominant flavor and aroma of a modern gin will always come from juniper (dried berries of... Read More »
This craft gin from, yes, the center of London, is distilled in a copper pot still. Producer note: "City of London is a one-shot connoisseur’s London Dry Gin, flavoured with a fine balance of juniper berries, angelica, liquorice and coriander seeds – with fresh orange, lemon and pink grapefruit added also to give the gin its distinctive zesty notes."
I'm always amazed what can be accomplished with grain neutral spirit and just a few simple botanicals. In the case of Beehive's Jack Rabbit Gin, the addition of sage and rose petals to the standard juniper recipe creates an absolutely beautiful balance of spicy, savory, and floral. Located in Salt Lake City (not exactly hard liquor country), Erik Ostling and his team at Beehive Distilling have set up shop in one of the least-friendly places in America for alcohol production, yet have managed to thrive. The Jack Rabbit Gin stands out immediately with its ... Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The nosing passes find generous notes of citrus zest, juniper berry, orris root, licorice, coriander and angelica. The palate entry is bittersweet, intensely grainy and speckled with licorice and orris root; at midpalate the flavor turns delightfully herbal. Finish is decidedly herbal/leafy/seed-like and, finally, bittersweet. An adult gin with an adventurous attitude." (9/2006) K&L Notes: No. 209 Gin is the brainchild of the Rudd family, who own both the Rudd Oakville Estate Winery and the gourmet market Dean & DeLuca. A departure from traditional, juniper-heavy gin... Read More »
Sipsmith is the first new copper-distilled London gin to actually be made in London in the last 200 years--as most production has moved to Scotland for economic reasons. The boys at the distillery have awoken a new movement of pride in London distillates the term "London dry gin" is actually a type of gin that can be distilled anywhere as long as it adheres to the rules. Sipsmith, however, is London through and through. Done in small batches on a copper alembic, the lighter, aromatic flavors shine through and the gin itself is more elegant and diminutive... Read More »
The exceptional Ford's Gin is one of the most versatile london dry's on the market. Distilled at the exceptional Thames Distillery by Master Distillery Charles Maxwell and the famous Simon Ford. Starting with a base of Italian juniper and coriander seed, the recipe is expanded thoughtfully to include bitter oranges, lemon & grapefruit peel. Subtle Jasmine and Orris add a soft floral quality, while spicy Angelica root and Cassia bark give it some structure. I've always noted a smidge of cucumber, but the distiller won't cop to it. Anyway, the mixture is s... Read More »
96 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits of 2011* A soft and refined standout. Bright, citrusy aroma. This supersilky gin has a big licorice and juniper twang and a slight quinine flavor- in other words, it cries out for tonic water. The sweet, lingering finish evokes pink peppercorns, citrus peel and white wildflowers." (4/2011) K&L Notes: Citadelle Gin from France is filled with 19 different botanicals from all over the world. It is distilled four times and filled to the brim with flavor, this gin is clean, smooth and very refreshing. From the Beverage Testing Institute: "91 points. Layer... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "An invitingly herbal and woodsy initial aroma of sage, nutmeg and cassia bark; more minutes find the juniper behind the assertive spice and herb flavorings. The palate entry is round, semisweet and moderately oily; at midpalate the taste is of rosemary and coriander and pepper. Finishes elegantly, firmly and squeaky clean. Best Buy." (6/2006)
Our friends at Beehive Distilling in Salt Lake City have sent us a special batch of their new Barrel Reserve gin in thanks for being their sole California outpost. Made with "wood, fire, and patience," the barrel maturation brings out the baking spices and softens the sage into a delicate and easy-to-drink flavor. We've seen this type of thing before with the Rusty Blade and Ransom Old Tom, but never has it been this inexpensive and this tasty. A real treat for gin fans.
We just picked up an exciting new local distiller called Venus Spirits, located in nearby Santa Cruz. Sean Venus has taken over the old Sarticious space and installed his own 600 liter Spanish alembic still to make a number of interesting concoctions. It's a snappy, fresh, citrus-oriented spirit at a very good price point. The creaminess of the gin is quite lovely and the lavender comes strong on the finish. Certified organic as well, so all of the botanicals come from a good place. Easily one of the most-polished and easy-to-like small production gins w... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "A relative newcomer to the gin landscape, this is the proper gin to use for a Tom Collins cocktail. It intentionally leans sweet, but it’s balanced with the right amount of alcohol bite, a lightly piny scent, and faint herbal and citrus peel notes. If using this 19th-centurystyle sweetened gin for other cocktails, be sure to hold off on adding sugar." (4/2012) K&L Notes: Old Tom Gin is a botanically rich and slightly sweet version of gin that results in a balanced and mild tipple. This is ideal for a variety of classic cocktails, such as the Martinez, a San Francisco... Read More »
Made with "soft" water from Lake Bolmen in southern Sweden, known for its arctic purity, neutral corn spirits five-times distilled that lends sweetness to the gin and a blend of classic botanicals including juniper, coriander leaf and cardamom. The blend creates a gin with a warm, nutty spice punctuated by the addition of citrus (lemon, bergamot, lime and bitter orange) and sarawak black pepper, for a clean, refreshing gin with no funky aftertaste or astringency. Beautiful! Skip the tonic water with this gin; it's perfect unadulterated.
Inventory: Special Order
V.J.O.P. (Very Junipery Over Proof) is Sipsmith's aromatic ode to gin's favorite botanical. From the distillery: "Imagining the botanicals as components in an orchestra, here we have taken the lead instrument, juniper, and amplified its presence in the ensemble, and then raised the decibels by increasing the proof alcohol. The result is our very own symphony in 'J' major. Junipery pine and cedarwood dominate with hints of zesty orange."
Ransom spirits is a one man, artisanal distillery in Sheridan, Oregon run by Tad Seestedt. The Old Tom gin is all done on an alembic pot still, and it is an historically accurate replication of what people were drinking in the 1800s and during the golden age of American cocktails. (Cocktail historian David Wondrich collaborated on the project.) It has just a touch of sweetness, a golden amber color and is made from malted barley and corn. Make the original Martinez cocktail with the original Old Tom Gin. One of the most fun products we've played with th... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "A soft, classic gin, ideal for Negronis and a wide range of other drinks. Overall, the flavor is neutral, but it has a touch of sweetness and complex underpinnings of pine, citrus and black pepper. Because it’s so versatile, this workhorse is recommended for anyone starting to build a bar." (4/2012) K&L Notes: From the Beverage Testing Institute: "Clear. Aromas and flavors of peppered cucumber, sweet custard, fresh herbs, lemon verbena, and vibrant juniper jelly with a satiny dryish medium body and a seamless, warming, white clay, pepper, pine, root and grassy herb a... Read More »
Producer notes: "Los Luceros HACIENDA Gin derives its name from our historic property. The distillery was originally Los Luceros Winery, which was the second straw bale built winery in the United States. The filigree border on the label resembles antique money, a nod to the fact that spirits were historically used as a medium of exchange. Los Luceros HACIENDA Gin is the only potato based London Dry style of gin. It is produced in small batches in our copper Alembic still which was custom made by Arnold Holstein of Bavaria, Germany. The still utilizes a b... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
This young distillery in the town of Graton is owned by famous wine marketer Derek Benham. This micro-craft distillery is dedicated to producing the highest quality products. The old school label, designed by Stranger & Stranger, reminds us of the deep history that California has with gin. One part gilded age, part moonshiner, part prospector, part gold miner, all Graton distilled. Using 12 botanicals to crafted a balanced but overtly distinct style, this new Graton Distillery uses locally grown citrus to balance the powerful notes of juniper. This Sonom... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "The 55% abv blue label is one of the strongest and most expensive gins on the market. Look for the trademark faint yellowish-saffron tinge and herbal scent, with assertive pine and anise flavors and a tart lemony touch. Serve this overproof gin tamed with ice and lots of tonic." (4/2012) K&L Notes: Old Raj Gin is distinctive in that it contains a measure of saffron, the rare and costly spice derived from the crocus flower. In addition to the slightly spicy flavor, this also imparts a pale yellow color. The subtle, aristocratic botanical mix (starring, of course, juni... Read More »
Miller's Gin is handcrafted and made in very small batches. It is then transported by ship to Iceland. Here, in the small village of Borgarnes, on Iceland's remote west coast, lies the Selyri spring, source of some of the purest water to be found on earth. This spring water is blended with the spirit to create a marriage of softness and clarity of taste. Westbourn Strength 45.2% abv. This is a delicious, herbaceous, London dry style gin that adds another great value to our shelves. Gin and tonics galore!
This lovely new gin from the Raff Distillery on Treasure Island celebrates the lives of the two most famous dogs in San Francisco history. Luckily for us, it does not take it's flavors from the same story! Instead, they begin with 100% grape brandy from California. This is redistilled with a wonderful mixture of botanicals, Juniper Berries, Orris Root, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Bitter Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, Cinnamon Bark and Licorice Root. The product is an fully balanced, yet full powered gin with spicy undertones and a subtle finish. Just like t... Read More »
To make this famous gin, Spanish almonds and Spanish lemon zest, Chinese licorice roots, Italian juniper berries, Italian Orris root, Angelica root, coriander seed, cassia bark, cubeb berries and grains of paradise from West Africa are processed and blended with a botanical recipe developed in 1761. Clean and light with herbaceous, earthy and light fruit qualities, Bombay Sapphire is distinctive on its own and in cocktails. Try: Berry Bombay 3 parts Bombay Sapphire 6 blueberries 2 strawberries Juice of ½ a lemon 1 tbsp sugar, plus extra for rim Chill a ... Read More »
This wonderful product from the wild mind of founder & beekeeper Todd Hardie, is one of the most interesting and innovative spirits I've tried this year. Using a base of grain spirit and juniper berries, this gin is intended to showcase the complexity of the Barr Hill Honey that Todd works so hard to cultivate. The honey is added just before bottling and adds a supple floral and slight earthen quality. It's absolutely not overtly sweet and really shows off the magnificent array of flavors that exist in nature's most delicious concentrated form of energy,... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "One of a new trio of gins from this small-batch distiller, the Dry-Rye version has a bold, warm caraway scent and assertive notes of juniper and black pepper, finishing with peppy, lingering citrus flavor. Would make for a complex G&T." (4/2012) K&L Notes: From St. George distillery: Dry Rye Gin has twice as much juniper in its recipe as either of the other two St. George gins, and a base of pot-distilled rye that provides structure and spice. Warm bass notes of pepper and caraway give Dry Rye Gin an intriguing depth of flavor, while the rye provides a sweet maltines... Read More »
The story of Diep 9 Genever is particularly interesting. During World War I invading German armies stripped Belgian genever distilleries of copper stills and piping, melting down the metal for shell casings. This brought traditional genever production to a halt, almost ending a national tradition in Belgium. The distillery's founder, Frans De Moor, lost his life in 1914 when he refused to relinquish his copper pot still to German occupiers. He was executed in full view of the public on the town's bridge and stabbed with a bayonet to ensure his death. Aft... Read More »
Michael Pierce and the gang from OsCo, a new distillery on 25th Street near Telegraph in Oakland, are making some of the most interesting new gins and white spirits we've tasted in years. OsCo is part of a winery called Two Mile Wines, so all of the spirits are grape-based. This gin is like a breath of fresh sea air, made with hand-foraged nori from Mendocino and sundried by "certified non-GMO hippies," as Mike said. Like an Islay gin, even more so than the Botanist from Bruichladdich.
Michael Pierce and the gang from OsCo, a new distillery on 25th Street near Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, that's making some of the most interesting new gins and white spirits we've tasted in years. OsCo is part of a winery called Two Mile Wines, so all of the spirits are grape-based. Mike called this his "Sunday gin," an easy, citrus-flavored, mild-mannered gin that's meant for classic cocktails or G&Ts. Delicious, and the price is even more exciting. A local, "craft" gin that's under thirty bucks? We must be dreaming.
Aviation Gin is a unique partnership between Lee Medoff and Christian Krogstad of House Spirits Distilling in Portland, OR and mixologist Ryan Magarian of Liquid Kitchen in Seattle, WA. Believed to the first collaboration of its kind, Aviation Gin evolved from a friendship and mutual passion for the culinary artistry found within the realm of spirits and cocktails. Aviation Gin is made in the full bodied Dutch Style of days gone by with 100% rye grain neutral spirit and what can be simply described as a “botanical democracy” of Juniper, Cardamom, Cor... Read More »
Eleventh generation heirs, Carl Jr. and Bob Nolet collaborated with their father, Carolus Nolet Sr., tenth generation distillery owner, to create a fresh take on gin that appeals to a new generation of gin drinkers. Floral and fruit-forward, the Silver uses some unique ingredients like Turkish rose, peach and raspberry. Perfectly integrated and delineated, these flavors work wonders together and can be coexed to the foreground by a thoughtful mixologist. A modern twist on the classic dry gin designed to enhance all you classic cocktails and inspire you t... Read More »
Most people know David Stirk from his Exclusive Malt single barrel Scotch whisky selections, rather than from seeing his name plastered across the front of a gin label. We've been working directly with David for years, visiting his Glasgow warehouse annually in search of new whisky selections. But David came up with a clever idea recently. Since he was in the business of emptying Scotch barrels, he might as well be in the business of filling them as well. And fill those barrels, he did; but not with Scotch. He filled them with UK-distilled dry gin and al... Read More »
One of the best bargains for quality spirits we carry at K&L in any category. The Royal Dock Navy Strength gin is bottled at 57% alcohol because that's what "Navy Strength" was to the royal seamen working on behalf of her Royal Majesty. Gin rations were once a right of all serving officers, and to make sure the crown wasn't watering down their hooch, they took it at full blast. Try making a gin and tonic with this lovely, herbaceous and expressive gin and watch the sparks fly!
This magnificent product from one of Andalucía's finest distilleries captures the essence of the region's famous oranges in their purest form. The Casalbor family has operated the distillery for over 200 years in the tiny historic seaside port of Cadiz. The process starts with ten botanicals, juniper berry, coriander, angelica, angelica roots, cinnamon, orange peel, lemon, lime, mint and Sevilla orange blossoms. Each ingredient is distilled five times on one of seven traditional alembics to create one of the most balanced and complex gin offerings on the... Read More »
Designed to emulate the great gins of the early 20th century, the Bermondsey Gin is a recreation of a long lost style of London Dry. More balanced and less juniper centric than modern London Dry, the Bermondsey gives some of the other exotic flavors a little more of a spotlight, while retaining a depth and texture few rivals are able to match. The tiny Bermondsey Distillery is located beneath a railway arch on the main line to London Bridge Station. This old industrial part of South East London captures the historical context of this special gin perfectl... Read More »
Petaluma's Griffo distillery is a husband and wife partnership between Michael and Jenny Griffo who spent years trying to master the perfect gin recipe. Their London Style gin is made using wild juniper, Meyer lemons, coriander, and pure Russian River Valley water and the result is something familiar yet entirely exciting in its freshness. Think of the first time you tasted North Shore #11 gin or the No. 3 from Berry Brothers & Rudd. The vibrant juniper explodes on the palate, balanced by a pleasing herbaceousness and citrus from the lemons. It's an exce... Read More »
Batch two of Sean Venus's tremendous gin uses juniper, cardamom, orange, fennel, coriander, bay leaf, sage, peppercorns, and ages that formula in American oak for a mellow and creamier profile. The orange really gives it a lift. A Negroni is definitely calling my name.
During World War I invading German armies stripped Belgian genever distilleries of copper stills and piping, melting down the metal for shell casings. This brought traditional genever production to a halt, almost ending a national tradition in Belgium. The distillery's founder, Frans De Moor, lost his life in 1914 when he refused to relinquish his copper pot still to German occupiers. He was executed in full view of the public on the town's bridge and stabbed with a bayonet to ensure his death. After seeing Frans De Moor shot and stabbed to death, his wi... Read More »
Clean, fresh, and light on the palate, the Greenbriar Gin is West Virginia's finest contribution to the cocktail world. The farmer that grows their organic corn also grows a bit of traditional grain, but it is all non-GMO, a rarity in these agricultural times. During some periods where they use up all of his organic supply, Smooth Ambler will buy the traditional, non-GMO corn from him.
Inventory: San Francisco
Michael Pierce and the gang from OsCo, a new distillery on 25th Street near Telegraph in Oakland, are making some of the most interesting new gins and white spirits we've tasted in years. OsCo is part of a winery called Two Mile Wines, so all of the spirits are grape-based. This unaged "brandy" is really more like a gin, but since there's no juniper we can't legally call it such. It's a maceration of botanicals in neutral spirit, but a totally unique version. Umami galore! Salty, nutty, savory shiso flavor with the freshness of a gin. Cocktail night with... Read More »