Oseven and Boompjes Tasting Notes

Boompjes

I’ve recently covered a new brand which gives its name to one of the fathers of gin, Franciscus Sylvius, the aptly named Sylvius. The distillery Onder de boompjes doesn’t just produce Sylvius though, it also houses a brand of genever named Boompjes as well as a vodka called Oseven.

OsevenTake a look at my piece on Sylvius, which details the origins of the brand as well as how it is produced. This piece however will look at its two other brands, starting out with Boompjes and its two expressions. Boompjes is crafted the traditional Dutch way, and being the home of genever, you can guarantee a high level of skill will be involved. Its Premium expression is made with pure spring water from the Hunzedal as well as grain alcohol and 10% of quadruple distilled malt wine, while its Old Dutch variety contains one Juniper esprit and one mandarin esprit, both 20% of malt wine and matured individually for three years in bourbon oak casks. Like its counterpart, it’s made with grain alcohol and pure spring water from the Hunzedal.

Oseven vodka is also made in the traditional manner and comes free from any additives. It’s distilled from grain four times and then goes through a three-day filtration process over charcoal made from French birch wood. The mineral water used comes from the Anl’eau spring in Hunzedal.

So how do these three expressions fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Boompjes Premium – 35%

Sharp on the nose with malt aromas coming through. A developed palate of grain and spice from the beginning, smooth but with a kick at the end of fresh juniper. Lingers.

Boompjes Old Dutch – 38%

Slight notes of sweet juniper on the nose, with a clean, light palate of malt and grain blending well. A little heat and spice on the dry, lingering finish.

Oseven – 40%

Very clean and light on the nose, with a very subtle hint of grain. Light on the palate too, with a little sweetness and soft texture. Short, but effective.

Really good on their own, but maybe ask your bartender for one of these –

Holland House
Holland House

Holland House

Glass –

Martini

Ingredients – 

40 ml Boompjes Premium Genever
10 ml Luxardo Maraschino
15 ml Noilly Prat
15 ml Fresh Lemon Juice

Method – 

Shake all ingredients and fine strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with an olive.

Two very different expressions of genever, and a surprising hit with the vodka as their traditional methods of production have come through with some winners. Not widely available currently, but you can find the Boompjes here, and the Oseven here to add to your collection.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sylvius Tasting Notes

Sylvius

Gin is a fickle subject. Its history and origins can be one of chatter over many a juniper based cocktail, and recently it’s come into light again with the release of a brand with what some credit as gins founding father.

Sylvius originates from Holland, as did its namesake, the Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius, who is often credited with the invention of gin in the mid 17th century. Back in 1658, the Steffelaar family were, unbeknown to them, pioneering the distillation of one of the first jenevers, nestled in a small town named Leiden between The Hague and Amsterdam. The same town also held Dr. Franciscus Sylvius and his doctor’s practice at the Leiden University. It was around this time that he was convinced that juniper berries could assist in the treatment of kidney and bladder ailments, resulting with him developing a juniper berry elixer and naming it ‘genievre’. Based on this recipe a couple of years later the spirit Genever was produced by the Steffelaar family and soon after from many other distillers throughout the Netherlands.

Sylvius gin itself in now produced in Schiedam, having had to relocate due to laws and legislation that came into effect in Leiden. With it going through four ownerships (now with the Batenburg family at the helm) during its timeline, and now producing vodka as well as genever, it still uses some of the Dutch production methods, including utilising the windmill ‘De Vrijheid’ to mill the grains which are fermented and distilled to make malt wines, and eventually aged it used American bourbon barrels. They also distill their own spices and botanicals, in small batches up to 500 litres, which include lemon, orange, juniper, coriander, angelica, lavender, cinnamon, liquorice, caraway and star anise.

But how do we get from individual botanicals to Sylvius gin in a bottle?

Each botanical is hand prepared (for example they cut the zest of 30 kilo’s of oranges by hand for each batch) and once ready, all the botanicals, fruits and spices enter the maceration barrel where it is introduced to wheat alcohol. The timings differ depending on the botanical-mix, but either way the resulting liquid is put into a small copper pot still and distilled by Master Distiller Justus Walop. After cutting the heads, heart and tails, he blends the esprit with mineral water in a separate barrel, where it marries with alcohol and water to homogenise the gin. Once finished, it is then bottled by the small team by hand and sealed.

So, the finished product, how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Sylvius – 45%

Rich, fresh nose of lavender, lemon and coriander on the nose, with the citrus dicing through on the palate too. Sharp hits of cinnamon and star anise come through, with a mellow turn of the lemons and a rush of lavender finishing. Long.

Great on its own, but even better with one of these –

The Puritan
The Puritan

The Puritan

Glass – 

Cocktail Glass

Ingredients – 

40 ml Sylvius
15 ml Dry Vermouth
7 ml Yellow Chartreuse
1 Dash Orange Bitters

Method – 

Take a large mixing glass and fill it up with ice. Add the Sylvius gin, Dry Vermouth, Yellow Chartreuse and Orange Bitters. Stir and strain into the cocktail glass.

For gins, this is a little different. Its process is different yet traditional, it has the history which will engage any audience, and makes a versatile offering to your drinks cabinet. Welcome the founding father.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Botran Tasting Notes

Botran

After featuring Botran in a previous piece, I’ve been lucky enough to try some more of their portfolio, and I thought it only makes sense to showcase the brand properly. So what is Botran and why was I eager to seek out more of their range?

Botran is originally a name recognized for sugar cane production where the Botran family rum legacy began in Quetzaltenango a city poised in highlands of Guatemala. Here, five brothers discovered the ideal conditions for high-altitude, slow aging of rum. Since establishing Industria Licorera Quezalteca in 1939, the Botran family have been, and still are, involved in every stage of the rum production that also includes the unique adaptation of an age-old nurturing process called ‘Sistema Solera’ that involves the blending of younger and older rums as they age for years in a combination of seasoned white oak barrels.

Guatemala also has some of its own rules when it comes to having a spirit branded as rum from its land. To be labeled as such, the Guatemalan standards requires that only virgin honey from the first press of the sugar cane be used. The rums of Guatemala are also distinguished by their unique, high-altitude aging process in the highlands.

So how does this unique process come about?

Using virgin sugar cane  honey from plantations in Retalhuleu, south Guatemala, it is fermented for around 120 hours before being distilled within continuous column stills. To achieve the distinctive character of each one of its rums, they distill its rums individually differently for each product. Botran rums are distilled in stills with copper components that improve the quality of the rum and are then aged through the Solera System. Botran reaches adulthood in Quetzaltenango, the city where their aging facilities are located. Among the many aging secrets that make their rums unique is the charring of some the barrels used in the Solera System. The marrying process where the rums rest for up to a year.

So how does this Guatemalan rum fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes, including a Blanca that is very rare to find at the moment  –

Botran Reserva Blanca – 40%

Clean, soft nose of vanilla, whilst the palate enjoyed an incredibly smooth offering of dried fruits, hints of wood and vanilla. A slight spice developed near the end of the tongue but it created a fresh, short finish.

Botran Solera 1893 – 40%

A blend of rums between 5 and 18 years, creates a rather bold and rich essence of vanilla on the nose which carries over onto the palate, becoming sweeter. It mellows soon after and although a short offering, is rather smooth.

Botran Reserva – 40%

A bend of rums between 5 and 14 years, clean and fresh on the nose with a slight aroma of vanilla. A kick of cinnamon to begin on the palate, but mellows quickly with flavours of caramel and fudge.

A great portfolio to grace any bar or shelf, especially when you can create this –

Botran Rum Sour
Botran Rum Sour

Botran Rum Sour

Glass –

Coupette

Ingredients –

50 ml Botran Reserva
25 ml Fresh squeezed lemon juice
25 ml Sugar syrup (or 2 tsp sugar)
3 drops Angostura bitters (optional)

Method –

Combine Botran Reserva rum, lemon juice and syrup (or sugar) in the shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well, and strain into a sour glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a Maraschino cherry.

Optional: begin recipe by coating shaker with Angostura bitters, then pouring out excess.

If you create the Botran Rum Sour, pair it with this –

Fried Calamari with Chili-Coconut-Lemongrass Sauce

Preparation –

For the sauce:

2 shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
½ tablespoon ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon lemongrass
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup coconut milk
½ jalapeno, chopped
1 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon basil, chopped
1 tablespoons nuoc nam (Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce)

Puree all ingredients together until smooth.

For the Calamari:

1 pound clean squid with the tentacles; cleaned and sliced into ½ inch thick rings
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups All Purpose flour
Salt
Vegetable Oil for deep-frying

Pour enough oil into a heavy large saucepan to reach about 3 inches deep. Heat the oil over medium heat to 350 degrees. Place the squid into the buttermilk; strain the mixture after 10 minutes then toss into the flour to coat. Shake off excess. Carefully place about ¼ of the batch of calamari into the hot oil, fry until pale golden and crispy then remove and place onto a paper towel lined baking sheet or large plate. Repeat until all the calamari is cooked. Then, season with a touch of salt and place into a metal bowl. Spoon some of the chili sauce and toss quickly and serve with extra sauce.

Fantastic pairing! Give it a go, or at least the rums. Expect to see them more prominantly in bars in the coming year too.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Distillnation Range Tasting Notes

There are many independent spirit specialists out their, but when it comes to fine spirits, the more exquisite brands, Distillnation can make the top spot. With brands including Ron Botran, De Luze Cognac and Artemisia Absinthe it covers categories that others shy away from and happily opens them out to the consumer eye.

Distillnation itself was founded by Francis Weier. A man with over 16 years of working in wines and spirits and one hell of a passion to boot, he founded Distillnation to expand the opportunities of premium spirits in the UK market. Bringing in team members including Maya who has under her belt many years both in business marketing and project management, has given Distillnation the edge with its creative and inspiring point of view of the premium spirits industry.

The brands that I have been lucky enough to try from the Distillnation portfolio are all below, and ive included both tasting notes and a brief description of the brand itself –

Absinthe

La Clandestine is a 100% natural, hand-crafted absinthe distilled using a 1935 recipe. Known as the classic Swiss bleue, it prides itself on its regionality and terroir that is unique to absinthe from the Val-de-Travers district. Officially launched to mark the Swiss legalisation of absinthe on 1st March 2005, it has won many an award including first prize and title of ‘Absinthe d’or’ at the National Competition for Swiss Spirits.

La Clandestine

La Clandestine – 53%

Strong on the nose with aromas of liquorice and herbs dominating. A rather sweet start on the palate though with a heavy dose of liquorice and a kick of spice near the end. It does mellow soon after.

Artemisia Absinthe Butterfly Boston 1902 is, as you can probably work out, an absinthe that was first distilled in Boston back in 1902 but re-produced in Couvet, Switzerland in 2010. Using the original recipe from the American group P. Dempsey and Company, a collaboration between the owner of America’s number one absinthe accessories store Absinthe Devil and Artemisia – the owner of La Clandestine (above) and Angélique absinthes, a Boston resident and owner of Absinthe Devil delve into the history of the Dempsey family and unearthed the recipe and sought to bring it back to the market.

Artemisia Absinthe Butterfly Boston 1902 – 65%

Clean on the nose but packs a powerful punch of herbs and wormwood. Very bold and with an instant warming on the palate with again lots of herbal flavours. Rather short overall but does create a long tingle on the tip of the tongue.

Artemisia Absinthe Angeique – 68%

Launched in 2007 and named after the daughter of creator Claude-Alain Bugnon, a rather subtle aroma of liquorice on the nose with herbs and angelique following. Rather light on the palate, with a water-like texture. Lots of aniseed flavours develop with a long, hot spice to the finish.

Rum

Ron Botran hails from the plantations in Retalhuleu in the south of Guatemala. The quality of the volcanic and clay soils that are permanently bathed by the sun are the perfect origins to grow sugar cane that is needed for the production of rum. Ron Botran is rather unique compared to other rums in that the rum industry in Guatemala was created specifically to produce distilled spirits and have been made out of virgin honey or brown sugar ever since.
To achieve the distinctive character of each one of its rums, they distill its rums individually differently for each product. Botran rums are distilled in stills with copper components that improve the quality of the rum and are then aged through the Solera System. Botran reaches adulthood in Quetzaltenango, the city where their aging facilities are located. Among the many aging secrets that make their rums unique is the charring of some the barrels used in the Solera System.

Ron Botran Reserva Blanca – 40%

Clean, soft nose of vanilla, whilst the palate enjoyed an incredibly smooth offering of dried fruits, hints of wood and vanilla. A slight spice developed near the end of the tongue but it created a fresh, short finish.

Ron Botran Solera 1893 – 40%

A blend of rums between 5 and 18 years, creates a rather bold and rich essence of vanilla on the nose which carries over onto the palate, becoming sweeter. It mellows soon after and although a short offering, is rather smooth.

Ron Botran Reserva

Ron Botran Reserva – 40%

A bend of rums between 5 and 14 years, clean and fresh on the nose with a slight aroma of vanilla. A kick of cinnamon to begin on the palate, but mellows quickly with flavours of caramel and fudge.

Cognac

The De Luze cognac house has a uniquely interesting history, with the origins of the company in New York. Two brothers set off to find success in the New World in the early 19th century and centuries later, De Luze is still a successful business with 410 hectares of vineyards in the prime growing area of Cognac. Their philosophy is to create a natural cognac with an elegant and light taste and colour.

De Luze VSOP – 40%

Hit of spiced fruit creates a strong, rich aroma on the nose but becomes smooth on the palate with slight hints of spice and fruit. Develops a long warmth with a mouth-watering finish.

Distillnation also have a couple of brands that i’ve explored in more detail, including –

Genever

Boompjes Premium – 35%

Sharp on the nose with malt aromas coming through. A developed palate of grain and spice from the beginning, smooth but with a kick at the end of fresh juniper. Lingers.

Boompjes Old Dutch – 38%

Slight notes of sweet juniper on the nose, with a clean, light palate of malt and grain blending well. A little heat and spice on the dry, lingering finish.

Vodka

Oseven – 40%

Very clean and light on the nose, with a very subtle hint of grain. Light on the palate too, with a little sweetness and soft texture. Short, but effective.

Gin

Sylvius – 45%

Rich, fresh nose of lavender, lemon and coriander on the nose, with the citrus dicing through on the palate too. Sharp hits of cinnamon and star anise come through, with a mellow turn of the lemons and a rush of lavender finishing. Long.

Although not widely available in the North, London is your best venture to experience the Distillnation brands in bars such as Zetter Townhouse and Callooh Callay, but you can purchase them all online.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.