Monday, January 19, 2009

Booze On Parade: Rogue Spruce Gin

Rogue has been one of my favorite brewers for about as long as I've been a drinker. Not so long ago the wife and I took a trip down the Oregon coast and ended up at Rogue headquarters in Newport. It was definitely like being a kid in a candy store. A lot of the supermarkets where I lieve carry a decent sammpling of Rogue's product line, but they've got the whole shebang at headquarters, including a bunch that I don't believe I've ever seen anywhere else. Did you know that Rogue makes a malt liquor called Dad's Little Helper? It's quite good.

But the real joy of the visit was finding out that Rogue makes distilled spirits as well. We tasted some of the offerings at the House of Spirits and I have to say that I was quite pleased with the quality of the product. We ended up taking home two bottles, the Hazelnut Spice Rum and the Rogue Spruce Gin.

I'm not much of a rum drinker; I like a good rum, but it doesn't get me excited. The hazelnut rum was really too much on the "dessert-y" side for my taste (a lot like Frangelico actually) but my wife, who is a rum drinker, was quite taken by it. The gin, however... I feel quite secure in saying that Rogue Spruce Gin is one of the best gins that I've ever tasted. So let's compare it to a common baseline; I'll use Bombay Sapphire 'cause that's what I have on hand.

Bombay Sapphire is an archetypal gin. You can definitely taste and smell the juniper, but the overall focus is on creating a crisp spirit that does not linger overlong on the palate. In this regard I tend to think of Bombay as vodka's slightly-more-flavorful cousin.

The crew at Rogue don't appear to have been particularly focused on creating a classic gin along the lines of Sapphire. Rogue gin shares a lot with Bombay in both nose and taste, but the Rogue spirit has a richer, more complex flavor. It evokes (presumably spruce) wood rather than juniper berries, but not in a bad way. The taste also lingers on the palette longer than does Sapphire. It's not a "sipping gin" (if such a thing exists), but it does make a mighty fine gin-and-tonic. Grab a bottle if you happen to be in Oregon, otherwise you can get it online from Booze Bros.

1 comment:

Jack said...

Just came across Rogue Gin and picked up a bottle. Ran into your blog by googling Rogue Gin. I am looking forward to trying it these evening.

And, yes, there is a sipping gin. Hendricks. Best. Gin. Ever.

(Hoping the Rogue tops it, though.) :-)