The summer of 2018 has, primarily, been the summer of gin for me. I have read about, and tasted, too many gins to count and my palate has definitely evolved to taste, and recognize many of the different flavors that are present in gins - cardamom, angelica root, citrus peel, and coriander being just a few of the common flavors / botanicals.
Recently, I have learned about a local craft gin brand named Loch & Union from Napa Valley, California that I have not had the pleasure of tasting yet, but has been recognized for its quality in some of the the world's largest spirit competitions, the New York International Spirits Competition (NYISC) being one of them. What really has me, and I'm sure many other gin-lovers swooning, is that this small craft distillery has just officially announced their national brand launch! They will be distributing their award-winning gins, their American Dry and Barley gins, statewide while selling their products online nationally.
Over the last three years, the Loch & Union team have dedicated their expertise to creating spirits, gins specifically, that are both appealing to the casual enthusiast as well as the connoisseur. Their American Dry Gin is the perfect embodiment of their efforts, having won Gold with 94 points at the NYISC - an impressive feat for any spirit brand. The American Dry Gin is a combination of 12 botanicals, sourced from farms in eight different countries to create a balanced, clean-tasting gin. The team spent nearly a year testing more than 150 botanicals and distilling over 100 ingredients in order to perfect the gin’s flavor profile. The traditional evergreen backbone of juniper blends with spice, floral and citrus notes in perfect harmony, presenting the essence of classic dry gin with an American twist.
So, what makes this gin so much better than other gins? Process, production methods, freshness of botanicals, quality of water, and the people who make it are a few of the factors. Co-founders Colin Baker and Matt Meyer first met while studying at the London School of Economics before Baker switched careers to pursue his passion for distilling. While earning his master’s degree in Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, he met two more future team members, eventually becoming a five-person team. After reuniting in the U.S., they established Loch & Union Distilling.
Gin is booming and rightfully so. Most craft distilleries, even if their plan was to make whiskey, end up distilling gin because it's quick to produce well with no aging required, versatile in flavor, and a quick way to begin making a profit for a newly-founded distillery. Loch & Union have a single malt whiskey on its way, currently aging in oak barrels, sourced from the Napa Valley. You best believe I'll be getting myself a bottle of that, but an award-winning gin isn't so bad to sip on in the meantime.