Ever since St. George one-upped North Shore and showed that one could successfully sell three different gins, rather than merely two, three has remained the magic number. Local Mendocino distillers Germain-Robin, famous for their California brandy selections, have decided to jump into the gin game as well with three of their own. Under their Craft Distillers label, the portfolio showcases distiller Crispin Cain's contributions to the ever-expanding lineup. The labels and the overall packaging are as elegant as the spriits themselves. Here's a rundown of each gin's particular profile:
Russell Henry London Dry Gin $35.99 - Bright juniper aromas with floral elements and white pepper on the nose. The palate is clean and fresh with vibrancy. Lovely stuff for martinis or just sipping out of the bottle (don't act like you don't do that).
Russell Henry Malaysian Lime Gin $35.99 - The best part about the Malaysian Lime gin is that it isn't overly citrus-oriented. The pith from the lime is apparent, but it marries well with the herbaciousness of the juniper and the spiciness of the pepper. This would be great in almost any cocktail because of its nuance.
Russell Henry Hawaiian White Ginger Gin $35.99 - If you've been making Moscow Mules with vodka, the time for doing that is over. The Hawaiian White Ginger gin is the perfect replacement. While the spice and sizzle of the fresh ginger comes through on both the nose and the finish, the profile isn't dominated by it. This is a very graceful gin that moves over the palate with lithe balance.
Then there's this lovely new selection for you mezcal fans. The Mezcalero series, to me, is without a doubt the finest collection of mezcals I've ever tasted. Nothing from Del Maguey or any other bottler even comes close, in my opinion. Release #5 was one of the most amazing expressions of agave to ever cross my palate. The new #6 release is one of the most challenging, but rewarding as well.
Mezcalero Release #6 Santa Maria la Pila $75.99 - Made from Agaves Mexicano, Madrecuishe, and Bicuishe, the newest batch of mezcal from Craft Distillers is an earthy, savory beast of a spirit. Tangy fermented notes, pepper, with a hint of tropical fruit coming on the finish highlight this tasting experience. Each sampling provides the possibility for new discovery. Sometimes I get hints of banana. Other times I notice smoke and ash. This mezcal is like a chameleon. Another winner.