A rye gin? I’ve heard of a wry grin but a rye gin?
Gin isn’t usually made from rye though it can be, and many years ago rye gins were quite popular. In the past few years they’ve been gaining in popularity again and St George Spirits are far from the first to produce one. I’m a big fan of this distillery but till now have only reviewed their vodkas on my Vodka Guy website.
I tasted this one in reverse, as first I tried it in a gin and tonic (because my wife and I fancied one) and then I tasted it neat. I made my usual g&t, and my wife said I must have made it stronger than usual. No, I hadn’t, but then I looked at the label and saw it was 45% ABV. You wouldn’t think that extra 5% on the ABV would make that much difference, but it does.
The other thing you note is, right away, the rye. It’s definitely gin with juniper to the fore, but that rye flavor makes you think you’re drinking a gin-whiskey cocktail.
On the Nose
A few days later, I tried it neat again. On the nose the juniper just manages to stay to the forefront, but there’s a host of other aromas swirling around in there. You could be smelling a whiskey-gin combo. There’s both the pepperiness of rye and a hint of salt, and a dash of vanilla sweetness tucked away in there. You can also sense that extra alcohol.
Tasting the Dry Rye Gin
Now for the palate, the big test. The juniper seemed to hold back a little more here, and the taste of a rye whiskey stepped forward. There’s still pepper, and the spices you’d expect from a gin, with some citrus notes too. The gin botanicals include juniper, naturally, plus black pepper, caraway, coriander, grapefruit peel, and lime peel.
The sense of the strength is very apparent in the mouth, and even more so on the finish. It packs quite a punch. I’m not as fond of sipping gins neat as I am of other spirits like top-quality vodkas, and whiskeys of course. But this is one you could easily do that with.
However, I think it’s going to be more at home in cocktails. As we found with a simple g&t, it adds an intriguing flavor to the drink, as well as more of a punch. It transformed a simple drink into something much more interesting.
Dry Rye Gin Cocktails
The distillers have a page of recommended dry rye gin cocktails on their website, with suggestions like a Negroni, an Old-fashioned, or even, surprise, a Bloody Mary.
See the St George Spirits website.
You can also buy this wonderful dry rye gin from Master of Malt.