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Gin Tasting 3: Gin Tasting Genever

Now, after doing two gin tastings posts, we have now felt as if we have the fortitude to move forward yet one more step in this effort. We are gin tasting genever.

Here are the first two posts:

Gin Tasting 1: What Does Gin Taste Like?

Gin Tasting 2: Continuing the Effort

Genever/Jenever

Today, we moved along to our Genevers, which seem to be a style of gin. More than that, they seem to be precursors to modern gin. They are somewhat different from gin and lesser-known here in the States, but they are a Dutch distillate.

While discussing Genever, I should mention Jenever. Jenever is the Belgian version of Genever. I did try some Jenever a few years ago when I was in Belgium because my tour book mentioned this, but all I remember is that is seemed “interesting” or “fine” or whatever, and was just another touristy thing to do, at the time. Unfortunately, I did not find any Jenever to include in my gin tastings. However, now that I am doing this gin-tasting project with my spouse, I am quite sad that I can’t include Jenever as a comparison.

Gin Tasting Genever

In our gin tasting Genever effort, here are the Genevers we tasted in this tasting round:
1. Bols (unaged)
2. Bols – barrel-aged 18 months
3. Boomsma Yonge
4. Boomsma Oude

Definitions and Details

I had thought that “Younge” meant “unaged” and “Oude” was aged, but that’s not the case as I see in this description:  Types of Genever .  Also, Bols also had another product in a special bottle named Corenwyn. I had once tried in a vertical tasting against what I have here, and I remember it being more refined and complex. There are apparently several Corenwyn products and I’m not clear what their designation is (whether they’re a special edition, a higher-end product, or something else). However,I could not find Corenwyn at my local store to include in this tasting.

Tastings

The Bols unaged has a yeasty aroma to me, with a hint of juniper. The flavor seemed a bit like a wine-product and I don’t mean that in any bad way. I just mean that it was maltier or something than the gins of the previous tastings.

The Bols aged definitely had a juniper aroma. It had added caramel flavoring which made it a little dark and sweet (relatively-speaking, that is). The flavor seemed a little oaky, mainly, but quite nice.

The Boomsma Yonge had an extremely alcoholic aroma with just a hint of juniper hidden in its background, but the flavor was a quite lovely juniper flavor.

The Boomsma Oude had a strong butterscotch aroma, almost as if there was some added flavoring. It was a lighter color than the Bols Oude but had a subtle caramel flavor. It seemed smooth and sophisticated, which is kind of a crummy way to describe it, but it’s my way of saying that it was the most elegant of the four.

The Lesson

When my spouse and I started these tastings, we left the first tasting thinking we knew nothing about anything. We felt we understood gin even less than when we started.

Today, we now have realized that we’ve learned something. We are now realizing that, while various gins within one style taste so different, we’re picking-up on the “essence” of what a gin is. We’re understanding the types of flavors they tend to have. After all, you learn by tasting a wide variety of things and, as such, we are now finally seeing the fruits of our labors in these tastings come to pass.

For those of you who think this was merely a joyous trek, it is not so for us. Vertically tasting a bunch of hard liquor is kind of difficult for us and we’re doing it more from scientific curiosity than anything else. It’s not that we never drink pure spirits, but we usually don’t drink them back-to-back as we’re doing in these tastings. Beer and wine are just so much easier to us for these efforts, where you can end your tasting usually by swigging down the leftovers. In these spirits tastings, however, we are left with no urge to drink anything more.

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