Apparently, gin is having a comeback. Of course, for some of us it never really went away. And after all, what goes better with a warm summer night than a gin and tonic? But to really give them a fair chance, we had to skip the tonic for the first go-round.
We made the mistake of trying the mystery gin someone had brought first and covered with a brown paper bag. This one was deemed to have both a “great start” and a “great finish.” (Presumably this means the middle was also great.) We decided it also smelled the best, with a faint hint of spice that was almost delicate, not overwhelming. Turns out, this was a craft gin from the nearby Berkshires – Ethereal Gin from Berkshire Mountain Distilleries limited edition, batch no. 2. In short, there were no negative attributes to this fine liquor. We were hooked.
Unfortunately, this spoiled us for almost all of the others. It’s like trying to tell yourself a bologna sandwich is on par with waygu. Or something like that. Okay, maybe more like following a good bottle of vintage Bordeaux with Manischewitz. Fine, fine, bk probably hates these stupid metaphors already. He’s likely cringing right now.
Next up was the Plymouth Gin. This one was a total mixed bag. For a few of us, it was mediocre. But for others, it produced rather vitriolic comments, including such gems as “it tastes like something that’s been sitting for a few days in a whore’s stomach” and “smells like something that would make you puke for several days.” Those weren’t to be outdone by the more obscure “oily bandaid burns” and the much more straightforward “I hate this.”
This was followed by a double dose of Bombay – first regular Bombay and then the Sapphire. The regular Bombay was unanimous failure. “It gave me mouth sores,” wrote one disgruntled taster. Said another, “everything now smells like shit in comparison to the ethereal!”
“Not cool. Not cool at all,” bemoaned another taster.
Moving on, the blue bottle fared far better with nodded agreement that it could be sipped straight if need be, but that it smelled a little fruitier than it tasted – which didn’t seem to necessarily be a bad or good thing. Still, another of our contingent said it was “better than the others, but can’t compared to the brown bag.”
Even Tanqueray, the old standby, had a poor showing and was said to be far too alcoholy.
Note: In follow-up tastings, about half us of decided that Tanqueray was still fit to be pared with tonic. But solo? Oh no.
The final two contestants – Hendricks and a French variety called G’Vine, specifically the “flouraison” – fared far better, bringing us more or less full circle. Hendricks was deemed by one of our gin gourmands as “like an old friend.” And while some of us, *ahem*, felt it would be best pared with cucumber, it certainly trumped the Plymouth, Tanqueray and Bombay twins.
One of the best notes on Hendricks said simply, “Great overall flavor but missing the fruity notes I prefer – damn you rdr2!”
The French G’Vine was also very good. It was clean, crisp, “good but different.”
Clearly we needed something to soak up all this booze – like tacos from the grill. Obviously. Our taco smorgasbord included grilled steak, homemade tortillas, chorizo and in keeping with an AA subtheme, bacon. Bacon tacos? Oh yes. They were had. And then some more of that Berkshires gin….among others. You know, for good measure.