Sietze Kalkwijk got into making gin after a lecturing tour (on Design & Technology) in Kyrgystan. Whilst there, he tried the local vodka and, whilst discussing the vodka’s economic potential with the Minister of Agriculture, a plan was hatched to develop a traditional, pot-distilled vodka and import it to the Netherlands – Bishkek Vodka.
The vodka is stored in the Netherlands at the Dutch Van Toor Distillery. It was here that Sietze learnt more about gin, leading to VL92.
Made at the Van Toor Distillery in Vlaardingen, this gin has a base of neutral grain and solid malt wine (made with a mix of corn, barley and rye) and a mix of 14 botanicals, including juniper, angelica, bitter orange peel, apricot stones, and cilantro (coriander leaf), as well as some other, secret botanicals.
The future holds something quite exciting for VL92 Gin: their first offering is XY, their first and most versatile gin, but there are also plans to make XX (a lighter style) and YY, which will use aged malt wine and some more unusual components; the overall result being something of a “gin family”.
To celebrate the gins coming to the UK for the first time, the crew of VL92 sailed on a historic Dutch ship on a shipping route to London, 400 years after gin first came to the UK.
nose: coriander, hint of tea and some malty brown bread as well as a floral lift
taste: full flavour up front with some plummy jammy notes such as apricot followed by some tannin tea notes and a touch of sloe, this moves to some more floral bergamot and coriander notes and quite a dry juniper finish.
2) Gin & Tonic
From the VL92 Website:
“Always pour a gin & tonic yourself, never leave it to others! When tonic and gin come together, there’s a fleeting moment when the early herbal notes are released.”
True words indeed, it rather like lighting as Gentleman’s (or Lady’s) cigar for them.
I first tried VL92 with UK Schweppes Tonic Water
A full and very flavourful drink with plenty of spice and citrus especially coming from the coriander. touch of maltiness but very little and a touch of pine dryness. Thirst quenching and quite excellent.
I was also sent a minature of VL92 Gin with a bottle of Fentimans Tonic Water, the emergency G&T Kit.
b) with Fentimans
This worked differently then I would have expected but boy does it work! The heavier citrus of the tonic water really works with the malt, juniper and coriander of the gin and the two coincide to give the drink and almost Negroni-like bitterness on the finish. There is quinine bark in the bitterness as well as really dark chocolate very interesting and recommended for the gin and tonic connoisseur or someone looking for something a bit special.
In a martini the perfumed floral notes and coriander of the gin are more prominent and the malt wine a little less so. There is also some sweet spice mingled with a little pine towards the end. Very clean but also rather perfumed. I didn’t use a garnish but I think a twist of lemon peel or even a dash of orange bitter would work nicely.
Quite malty and bready almost like a Negroni made with genever (which are rather tasty) coriander comes through well and there is a cutting bitter finish with plenty of citrus – intense but illustrious.
5) Sweet Martini
It seems that re vermouth really brings out the malt of the gin which I really like and find quite unusual. As such it make a malty sweet martini with plenty of coriander very nice.
6) Gin Old Fashioned
Very good lots of the flavour of the gin come through and the malt wine brings some warmth that a whisky might. Some sweet spice from the gin works well with the bitter. Complex but very tasty.
*Also known as Cilantro