BC Gin Round 1 – Wallflower VS Dragon Mist

Welcome to the opening round of the gin battle featuring gin made locally (for me at least) in British Columbia, Canada. On the left we have Wallflower Gin produced by Odd Society Spirits, located in East Vancouver. And on the right is Dragon Mist Gin distilled in Surrey. Both are priced roughly the same, in the lower premium gin market.


1) Wallflower Gin – Odd Society Spirits, 44% ABV – 750ml., Vancouver, BC, ~$50 CAD @Distillery

  • batch #, year, hand labeled
  • real wood cork top, synthetic rubber plug
  • hefty bottle, unique shape – ++ great. Sticker label – cheap
  • maceration AND vapour extraction used to obtain flavour
  • 100% BC grown barley, west coast and international botanicals

wp-1479273719542.jpgwp-1479273726947.jpg

[VS]

2) Dragon Mist Gin – Dragon Mist Distillery – 46% ABV – 750ml., Surrey, BC, ~$40 CAD, @Distillery

  • comes in a “giftable”, albeit cheap paper carton box
  • aluminum wrapped synthetic rubber plug
  • frosty bottle with perma-stuck on imperfect sticker labels – somewhat cheap looking
  • made with wheat grown in Dawson Creek, glacial water, west coast botanicals such as:
  • juniper berry, apple mint, elderberry, orange blossom, fennel, chamomile, clover, rose petal, honey bush, spearmint, orange peel

wp-1479273733094.jpgwp-1479273740521.jpg

Criteria:

Nose: WF has a good mix of juniper, citrus, floral, and some noticeable soapiness. It’s quite rounded, medium intensity, but gives a bit of a sniffing headache after multiple quaffs. Still, I like the cleanliness and purity of the aromas. DM on the other hand smells somewhat offensive – like there’s something in there that shouldn’t be. It has a sort of buttery paint thinner chemical harshness, with the ethyl nasal burn creeping in the mids to the finish. None of the advertised botanicals are present in the nosing, what a shame. WF wins by a landslide.

Taste & Texture: WF starts out with some mild juniper sweetness, followed by a some citrus oils, more juniper, and then some anise-peppery notes. There’s also a slight background creaminess which I enjoyed. It’s quite smooth as a sipper with the alcoholic heat and medium burn showing up near the finish. Light grassy/pine exhale as well for WF. DM is slightly thinner on the palate and much more jagged and rough. Just one sip and the difference in refinement and enjoyment is like night and day. DM is very aggressive with its alcohol presence despite being only 2% ABV higher at 46%. Beneath all the harshness are pronounced notes of mint, slight fennel, orange blossom, peppery, and sadly nail polish. Need I say more? Wallflower is much, much, much more agreeable.

Final Notes:

  • Based on taste alone, Wallflower = B and Dragon Mist = D+
  • Wallflower exhibits flavours of sweet juniper, soapy citrus, mild grassiness
  • Dragon Mist displays plasticky alcohol harshness, mint, throat numbing spiciness.

Winner = Wallflower Gin by Odd Society Spirits

 

Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale – Bridge Brewing Co. (North Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Bourbon Blood Orange Wheat Ale – Bridge Brewing, 5.5% ABV, 650ml., (North Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)


printed on the front-right label:

This American wheat ale is a crisp, refreshing summer brew. Pouring a hazy straw colour this beer was brewed with the addition of fresh blood oranges and bourbon. Zesty and floral, with clean citrus flavours and a moderate bitterness this beer is ideal for a warm summer day.

(right)wp-1479070251084.jpg


  • Style: (flavoured – blood orange, bourbon) Wheat Ale
  • Taste: Soft short bourbon orange grainy barley malt no carry
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn / N.Bby
  • How much: $7.75 (after 10% off) – 650ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Pours bright copper brown with a medium frothy head, 1cm lasting retention, clustered active streams.

Nose: orange citrusy hops (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: soft crisp

Mid-palate: metallic orange background, light bourbon, 20/80-wheat/barley, (lvl-3-sweetness), honey, light-bodied

Finish: grainy barley exhale

Summary: Not a lot of fullness, thin and lacking carry. Drinkable but not a lot of pop.

Tangerine Soul Style IPA – Green Flash Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA, USA)

Tangerine Soul Style IPA – Green Flash Brewing Company, 6.5% ABV – 75 IBU, 12 fl. oz., (San Diego, California, USA)


on the front-right label:

Enoy a SoCal summer year round with Tangerine Soul Style IPA. This delectable brew is a one-way ticket to taste bud paradise. Relax and take in the brilliant golden orange color and fresh aroma of effervescent tangerine and orange. Tangerine zest carries throughout, accented by bright, flowery tropical flavors and a sweet finish. Brewed with American caramel malts and a blend of Simcoe, Citra and Cascade hops, this is a beautiful brew to behold. ” Best by 04 NOV 16

(left)wp-1478835022139.jpg(right)wp-1478835014108.jpg


  • Style: (flavoured – tangerine zest) India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Bright aromatic tangerine zest citrusy barley malt soft bitter hops
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / N.Bby
  • How much: $2.50 (after 20% off) – 12 fl.oz., October 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: YES
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: awesome

Visual: Pours a deep tangerine orange with suspended sediment, a lasting super creamy 1mm head, half sticky lacing, lots of activity.

Nose:  faint citrus hops, tangerine juice. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, smooth entry

Mid-palate: fine CO2, (lvl-4-sweetness), bright tangerine zest, clean citrusy barley malt

Finish: tangerine peel oil exhale, soft bitter hops

Summary: Wow, such a balanced and fragrant IPA. The tangerine zest adds a very clean and flavourful boost to the existing citrus notes from the hops. A grade higher than the original Soul Style and something I would definitely drink again.

Peared Up Saison – Central City Brewers Collab (Surrey, BC, Canada)

Peared Up Saison – Central City Brewers & Distillers + Great Lakes Brewery (Toronto) Collaboration, 5% ABV, 650 ml., (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


printed on the front-right label:

“The Paired Up Saison is a single hopped Saison brewed with Jarrylo Hops and real pear juice. The Jarrylo hops bring out a natural banana, pear and citrus spice flavour in this light and sessionable ale. The natural hop flavour is augmented with pear juice in the brew for a fruit-infused flavour experience.”

(right)wp-1478256476206.jpg(left)wp-1478256482778.jpg


  • Style: (flavoured – pear juice) Saison
  • Taste: Crisp clean light-medium banana wheat malt mild pear roughish dry finish
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.90 CAD – 650 ml., August 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: nah.

Visual: Pours slightly translucent pale apple juice yellow with a medium-sized lasting head, 2mm retention, close singular fast large bubble streams.

Nose: pear floral-perfumy, yeasty light banana wheat malt. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp-fizzy bite, mouthful of bubbly CO2

Mid-palate: tingly-fizzy, pineapple-banana wheat malt, yeasty-tangy mildly astringent, (lvl-3-sweetness), perfumey pear, hints of apple

Finish: wheat malt exhale, minor dry palate roughness, super subtle hop bitterness

Summary: Some pear flavour in the mids, but not very bright – predominantly banana wheat malt. Not super smooth, lacking in a substantial body; Sessionable but not impressionable.

Winter Collaboration Ale Vol.1 – Persephone Brewing Co. (Gibsons, BC, Canada)

Winter Collaboration Ale Vol.1 – Deep Cove Brewing & Persephone Brewing Company, 7.5% ABV, 330 ml., (Gibsons, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


on the back label:

“This rich, malty ale is brewed with double roasted Crystal malt to give it a full body and fruity, caramel flavours. It’s then aged on Pinot Noir brandy-infused oak to give it a note of vanilla and warming complexity of flavour.

wp-1478081380474.jpg


  • Style: (Pinot Noir brandy oak aged) American Strong Ale
  • Taste: Brandy-laced caramel barley malt intrusive eau-de-vie airiness muddled finish
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn / N. Bby
  • How much: $9.80 CAD (after 10% off) – 650 ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not particularly

Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Pours mainly brown with a slight reddish hue, barely any head, ringed retention, a mix of loose slow streams

Nose: raisin-fig bready, brandy overtones. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: thicker, soft crisp

Mid-palate: boozy-zingy, (lvl-6-sweetness), sweet toasted caramel barley malts, dryness from brandy/airiness

Finish: eau-de-vie palate numbness, muddled slight woody residual barley maltiness

Summary: The influence of the brandy-oak is definitely present, but overall result isn’t particularly entrancing. The brighter berry notes of the brandy seem to be fighting with the caramel grain character of the barley. Somewhat incohesive, but a decent attempt – drinkable.

Bourbon Stout – Innis & Gunn (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Bourbon Stout – Innis & Gunn, 7.4% ABV, 330 ml., (Edinburgh, Scotland)


on the back label:

This Innis & Gunn Red Stout has been brewed using rye crystal malt to give it its deep ruby colour. Whitbread Golding hops complement the sweet biscuity malt with a soft hop bitterness. It was matured slowly over Bourbon-infused oak which gives it its mellow vanilla flavour and a nice warming Bourbon kick.

wp-1477990266038.jpg


  • Style: (bourbon barrel aged) Stout
  • Taste: Sweet vanilla toffee root beer barley rye malt light bourbon residual brown sugar
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $16 CAD – 4 mixed pack x 330 ml., November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: once is good enough

Visual: (cellared for 2 years). Pours very dark mahogany brown with a smallish head, a thin uneven layer of retention, close steady streams, a half film of paper thin lacing.

Nose: aromatic bourbon vanilla’d malt, toasted bread. Quite nice. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: sharp crisp bite, micro-tingly

Mid-palate: background boozy zinginess, lengthy (lvl-8-sweetness), grape-plum fruitiness, root beer, vanilla, toffee barley malt

Finish: rye malt numbness, oaked bourbon woody boozy, residual brown sugar

Summary: Solid pronounced bourbon barrel nuanced flavour and again, their signature malt sweetness is present, becoming cloying about halfway through the bottle. Decent, but not something I would have again.