May 30, 2015
‘Jennifer Juniper, sitting very still
Is she sleeping? I don’t think so
Is she breathing? Yes, very low…’
Very slowly indeed . . . For 30 days and nights, in a cool warehouse in West Waterford, our juniper cask slumbered. And over that time the wood left a gentle impression on the spirit within.
We’ve been experimenting with juniper wood since the end of last year, ever since I found a cooper mad enough to make me a cask out of juniper tree. It took him quite a while to find enough timber, then quite a while to shape it into an almost 50 litre barrel. Once we had the cask, we tried numerous gin formulations searching for the right combination of timber and berry. In the end we settled for the same botanical mix found in Blackwater No.5 Gin, but in a different combination. I dialed up the sweeter notes to help balance the astringent wood, I didn’t want one juniper note to over throw the other. After that we bottled at 46% abv, as this is a very sip-able gin and at 46% over ice, it sent my knees-a-tremble.
To say our Juniper Cask gin works is an understatement, it works blisteringly well – but from early on I felt it would. That’s why months ago I rang our cooper in far away Finland and asked him for more, he sighed -seemingly knottly old juniper is a right burgler to work with … then last week three more casks arrived, each one slightly different shape to the other – and there are more under construction near Santa’s workshop.
Any gin heads out there will know that this is not the world’s first juniper aged gin (I think it’s the second), but what’s interesting is how different they are. That doesn’t surprise me too much, after all look at how different whiskies are.
The first 50 bottles of Blackwater Juniper Cask Gin are now on their way to the UK, to the gin festival of gin festivals that is Junipalooza. We’ll fly the tricolour in Old London Town, then come home so rest assured there will be more, expect a general release in July once we have mature stock, bottles, labels and time to organise a decent party!