As small-batch gin has exploded in US market share in recent years, micro-distilleries are experimenting with the limits of traditional gin production.
One of the newest entrants on the market is Captive Spirits Distilling’s Peat-Barreled Big Gin, which is the second varietal of their excellent standard product – all made in Seattle. The company has been producing gin since 2011 and is now up to a respectable 7000 cases annually. Earlier this year, they opened a new distillery to support their growth in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.
Appearance: The 750ml bottle comes in at the same 94 proof as the regular liquid, but with a noticeable yellow tint. That’s courtesy of a four-month stint in barrels that previously aged Westland Single Malt Peated Whiskey (another excellent Seattle product). The barrels are initially sourced from the Buffalo Trace or Wild Turkey distilleries.
Nose: Co-Founders Holly Robinson and Ben Capdevielle created a gin with much more juniper than the average liquid and that comes through on the nose of their regular Big Gin. As you’d expect, the peated version cuts through that juniper with just enough smoke to linger through the end of the fragrance.
Palate: The smoke doesn’t really transfer to the palate though. On first taste, the gin runs silky smooth with the faintest hint of peat. It seems that the extra aging has balanced out the entire flavor and created a really mild, pleasant experience.
Finish: Even at 94 proof, there’s very little heat on the back end. Just the faintest bite lingers as the residual juniper and smoke dissipates. It’s a mild gin from start to finish.
Final Thoughts: After tasting this neat, we mixed it with a bit of sparkling water and found Peat Barreled Big Gin to be an excellent partner in a beverage, simple or complex. The peat helps the gin stand up to bolder flavors from something like a strong vermouth or Chartreuse and would be dynamic in a savory cocktail. Above all, it’s a nice deviation from your everyday micro-batched gin and one we’d be hard-pressed not to add to our liquor cabinet.
Captive Spirits Distilling’s Peat Barreled Big Gin is 47% ABV (94 proof), and retails for around $40 at select stores on the West Coast. It is also available in select bars on the West Coast.