The second gin that we tried in our United States of Gin Tasting was Bluecoat, which is an excellent gin that has already been reviewed here. So, today, as a bonus, we have a gin from New York state…
As a fan of gin and someone who is all too aware of those that you can’t easily get hold of in the UK, I have a gin wish-list. Pretty simply, this is a list of the gins that I really want to try. One of these is the 7-grain Gin from Nevada and another was Comb 9 from New York.
For me, the most interesting and tantalising aspect of Comb 9 was the fact that it is made using a honey spirit base (as is their vodka). Essentially, they take orange blossom honey, ferment it and then distil it. I have tried gin based on both varieties and mixes of grains, potatoes, grapes, molasses and even apples, but never honey.
What’s in a name?
The “comb” part is straightforward – it’s a reference to the honey base – but the 9? Well, the bottle gives some indication, but there are a few possible options:
1) The 9th recipe is the one that they decided to use;
2) Comb 9 contains 9 botanicals; and
3) A number 9 was scribbled on the 9th proof-copy of their label and was printed by mistake.
Comb 9 is made at the StilltheOne Distillery, Port Chester, New York. It is bottled at 47%ABV and contains 9 botanicals:
Plus 2 additional botanicals
On its own
Nose: A musky sweetness with a floral softness towards the end – definitely not a traditional gin nose.
Taste: Surprisingly strong in flavour, given the soft nose, and almost chewable. Juniper appears from the start and is accompanied by floral notes and “flashes” of good citrus, in particular lemon, which tastes just like fresh lemon juice. The finish is warm and dry, with – again – notable flavours of juniper and citrus.
Gin & Tonic
The nose is herbal and floral, with orange blossom, coriander, lavender and some deep, herbal hints. In terms of taste, the drink is sweet to start, before an earthy bitterness builds. The finish is long, floral, and dry. This is a noticeably different Gin & Tonic, although the classic juniper-pine note does pop up in the middle of the drink’s flavour.
Crisp and rather floral, with a honey-cinnamon sweetness. There’s also a good, dry, crisp bitterness on the finish. There are also notes of coriander, bit of liquorice and some lavender, with a touch of zestiness. Clearly, this is a gin with high floral notes that’s quite perfumed. At the very end of the finish, there is even a lick of dark chocolate.
Floral, with plenty of coriander, followed by a decent dose of bitterness. There is then a touch of sweetness and anise. Whilst not classic in style, this is tasty cocktail and was the first drink that I enjoyed with my good friend and colleague, Aaron Knoll of The Gin Is In (America’s Gin Website).
Firstly, I applaud the innovation of using honey as the spirit base for this gin; I think that it gives the gin a unique texture: smooth and slightly sweet. Aside from that, I think that it makes some very interesting drinks and I particularly liked it in a Martini. The drinks it makes may not be for the hard-core traditionalist, but they are nonetheless very tasty.