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New Gin from the Makers of Ketel One

Jack Bettridge
Posted: July 8, 2011

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The Netherlands' Nolet Distillery, which America knows better for its small-batch Ketel One vodka, is rolling out Nolet's Silver Dry Gin. The spirit uses intriguing and novel flavors that come as a collaboration between father and sons in one of the world's oldest distilling families.

Despite its profoundly Dutch roots (the company was founded in Schiedam, Holland, in 1691), the gin's character is more akin to the clean and arid London Dry gin style than to Dutch gins (called jenever), which tend to be malty and sweet.

Where Nolet's Silver distinguishes itself is with a trio of botanicals never used in gin before: Turkish rose, peach and raspberry. (Gin is a neutral spirit that's been flavored with a complex combination of botanical aromatics, dominated by juniper, which gives the drink its name.)

The unusual recipe came about because Carolus Nolet Sr., the 10th-generation head of the family-owned distillery, enlisted his sons' help in creating it. Carl Jr. and Bob Nolet, who are not drinkers of traditional gin, moved the formula in a direction meant for a new generation of gin fans.

Not as juniper-forward as so many of its English brethren, Nolet Silver characterizes itself with flowers and fruit, especially on its inviting nose. With its readily identifiable flavors it is a natural for taking classic gin mixed drinks—such as the Gin & Tonic and Gin Fizz—in different directions. Marrying it with Vermouth in a Martini seems to make the raspberry pop out of the drink.

Mild winter wheat represents the grain content of the spirit. The gin is then distilled in a tandem combination of a copper still and a five-plate column still and is bottled at a moderately high-proof 47.6 percent alcohol by volume (95.2 proof).

The price occupies the upper the limits of gin tariffs at almost $50 for a 750 milliliter bottle-unless you consider the company's other gin product, Nolet's Reserve, which is bottled in extremely limited quantities and sells for $699. Ultra-expensive saffron and verbena inform that gin's flavor.

Nolet's Silver Dry Gin (47.6 percent alcohol, or 95.2 proof, $49.99)

APPEARANCE: Clear with the slightest hint of yellow. Quick, chubby legs.

NOSE: You smell the Turkish rose immediately and then catch the peach and raspberry notes. Juniper comes on as an ethereal after-note.

PALATE: In the mouth, the gin-ness of this spirit announces itself with a healthy dollop of tart juniper right at the start, but then the floral and fruity notes quickly convince you you're drinking something quite distinct.

FINISH: Turns a bit spicy at the end and dries out quickly, beckoning you to take another sip.

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