Tuesday, April 19, 2011
CapRock Organic Gin
Disclaimer: I was given a bottle of this gin recently by a rep for Peak Spirits. I had not yet tried this "farm to bottle" new world style organic gin though, and was happy to have the opportunity to give it a spin.
According to the distiller's site: CapRock™ Organic Dry Gin is a unique blend of fruits, buds, seeds, and spices infused and distilled in a base spirit made with organic Jonathon and Braeburn apples. The apples are organically grown by Gunnison River Farms, Ela Family Farms and Mountain Spirits Farm. 12 different "botanicals" (some dried some fresh) and 2 fresh juices are either macerated and/or boiled or steamed all together at final distillation to produce layers of fresh aromas and tastes. CapRock Gin is 41% alc and available in 750ML and 200ML bottles.
Apple based organic gin from the western slope, that's different. Their tagline of "This is not your grandmother's gin" does make sense. That much is blatantly evident on the nose.
This is more like an aromatic juniper infused eau de vie than a traditional gin. That is not necessarily a bad thing, I just wouldn't to go head first into traditional recipes with this gin considering its strong and unique botanical profile. This bottle will certainly have its uses however.
CapRock Organic Gin
"New World" American Aromatic Gin
NOSE: Lavender, roses, juniper, pepper, very soft, subtle and round. The use of fresh, organic botanicals is evident in the fidelity of the aromas. The juniper here really takes a back seat here though and I wish it was just a little more pronounced. 22/25.
PALATE: The flavors on the nose carry through well. There is a nice burst of juniper mid palate. The roses are subtle, the lavender is not - I can't help but feel a little hit over the head with it. Wet, only slightly oily in the mouth. 21/25
FINISH: The finish is fairly long and complex. The apples finally come to light, the roses fill your nose like a big bouquet, the lavender relaxes a bit and finally yields to the juniper. NOT a typical "English dry" gin finish, but that's not what the folks at Peak Spirits seem to have been going for here. Very unique. 24/25
BALANCE: I like the overall effect of the type of product the producers are going for here and think they have done a good job achieving a quality culinary gin. The rose and lavender comes across a little strong for my taste, but their flavors aromas are authentic and intoxicating. It's complex, and certainly not one dimensional - its use in cocktails will not be universal however, and it will take some forethought and experimentation to be successful. 22/25
This really is a surprisingly nice spirit, whatever you want to call it. I think having to call it gin is a little unfortunate as it leads to certain expectations. You don't go into a genever or an old tom expecting to find Bombay Dry. Going into this expecting "gin" could lead you to a similar disappointment, and "organic gin" does not really tell you much about what is going on inside the bottle.
This is a new gin so it's only fitting that I provide a new recipe. I've been on a bit of a Fernet kick lately and thought the CapRock's lavendar and rose flavors would play well together with it, and they did.
Here's a lab original using CapRock gin, Peak Spirits peach eau de vie and Fernet Branca, enjoy.
Versante Occidentale (Western Slope) Cocktail
1 1/2 ounces (45 ml) CapRock "New World" Organic Gin
3/4 ounce (22 ml) Fernet Branca
1/2 ounce (15 ml) Cocchi Americano
1/4 ounce (7.5 ml) Peak Spirits Peach eau de vie brandy
1-2 dashes angostura bitters
1 dash angostura orange bitters
Mix ingredients well with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with lemon twist.
The Fernet and Cocchi provide good structure to balance and support the strong flavors of the other spirits. The flavors build to a crescendo, then end quickly with a crisp, dry finish leaving hints of roses and pine on the nose.