Gin is a spirit that most people have probably heard of. But can you tell me what it’s made of? Not many people can. So before I begin my reviews of a few select gins, I’ll give you a brief history of the drink that is gin.

Most of the time, there’s not much debate over what defines a spirit. For many, (like scotch, bourbon, and tequila) it’s based on the ingredients that are in the spirit, the origin of it, and the process by which it’s made. That’s not the case for gin. Gin is mainly defined by its flavor, which, traditionally, is juniper berries.

The problem is, with no governing body to determine if each batch of gin takes like juniper, you end up with gins that taste very different. Another reason that you’ll find one gin that tastes significantly different than others is because distillers all have their own recipes and are free to add other ingredients (typically some kind of botanical) to achieve their desired taste.

With that said, here are my reviews for the following three gins.

St. George Terroir

St. George Spirits has been around since the 80s and distills several spirits, and recently (compared to some of their other products) added gin to their lineup. And since it’s release, it’s been fairly well received.

Specs:

ABV: 45%

Price: Mid-$40s

Nose: You take a whiff and you’re immediately transported to a forest. I’m not tree expert but it smells like some sorta pine tree. Very woodsy.

Taste: Again, I’m transported to a forest with a fir/pine taste. The juniper is there but not very prominent. Overall, I would call it very refreshing.

Finish:The finish is very long, with some citrus-type notes taking over.

Overall:Not much to complain about at all. It’s a very refreshing drink.

Ransom Old Tom

Ransom Spirits has made quite a name for themselves in a relatively short amount of time. Ransom Old Tom Gin is very unique when it comes to gin. That’s because it’s aged 3-6 months in wine barrels. These days, that’s not very common (even though it used to be, way back in the 1800s).

Specs

ABV: 44%

Price: $40-$50

Nose: Right away, you get a whiff of citrus, along with unmistakable honey, pine, and juniper.

Taste: The first thing I can taste is pine and a little bit of juniper. That’s followed by some woody flavors and a tiny bit of floral notes.

Finish: Some citrus notes come back at the end along with some pine/woody notes.

Overall: A very balanced spirit. Good for drinking straight or on the rocks. If you’re into bourbon, but haven’t ever tried a gin, this may be a good one to start with.

Captive Spirits Big Gin

Washington state may be known as the Evergreen State, but Captive Spirits Big Gin made me think it may not be a bad idea to call Washington the Juniper State. Yes, Captive Spirits is based in Seattle.

And, let’s just say, it’s hard to argue against tasting a gin that has won seven awards since 2012.

Specs

ABV: 47%

Price: $35-$45

Nose: Juniper. And a lot of it. If you don’t know what juniper smells like – take a whiff of Big Gin. It’s followed by what I would describe as a tiny bit of a spice (or pepper) smell.

Taste: What’s the word I’m looking for?? Oh, yeah! Juniper! And it smacks you right in the tongue like a slap across the face. Once you get past that, you’ll taste a little citrus and some floral notes.

Finish: Any guesses as to what’s comes back for more? Juniper, of course!

Overall: Ya know, I don’t know what the very first gin ever made tasted like, but if I had to guess, I would say it tasted very similar to Captive Spirits Big Gin.

Bottom line

All three of these gins were very, very good. While at the same time, they were all very different. From modern to aged to classic, they’re all worth tasting. If you’re not into gin, but are interested in trying it, these three are a good place to start.