You might remember my post from a few weeks back about hanging out with Davorin Kuchan at the Old World Spirits distillery. You can see in the picture to the left that he is filling a beaker with something magical and brown. A whiskey, you ask? Yes, and no. It is distilled from grain and aged in wood, so techincally it is a whiskey, but because it was macerated with herbs and then distilled again before it entered the cask, it is in actuality a barrel-aged gin and a damned good one at that. It only took one small sample during my recent trip to realize that Davorin Kuchan may have produced the greatest gin we've ever tasted. Already well known throughout the Bay Area for his fantastic Blade gin, Davorin decided to experiment with adding some richness to his spirit, much like many of the Old Tom Gins do. After 13 months in the barrel (more than most craft whiskies spend in wood these days) the juniper and citrus notes already present in the gin became aromas of baking spice and cloves, with hints of vanilla and a rounded mouthfeel - flavors of the holiday season, and just in time! The result is so good we're not sure if we want to sip it or mix it, or both simultaneously. The whiskylover in us decided to bottle it at cask strength as not to adulterate any of the concentrated goodness, so in the end it's more like a bottle and a half of gin, as you should add some water to proof it down. I am convinced that this is the best barrel-aged gin available and am going to go on record here that it might be the best gin ever made. For sipping, for martinis, for negronis, or for mixology experimentation, the Rusty Blade is as delicious and unique as it gets. Only 250 bottles made with a retail price of $59.99. Release date very soon, so stay tuned.