Nov 15th 2008 2:02AM Wow – lively discussion! As the maker of TRU2 gin, let me add a few cents worth on why we made our first gin this way. We wanted to create a big, balanced gin that you could drink -- even straight -- without wincing...or flashbacks to the first time you got drunk in high school.
The only production technique that allowed us to pull this off harked back to how this stuff was made in the 1500s by doctors all over Europe. It's direct-contact maceration without re-distillation. This is how we're able to retain the fresh taste and delicate balance of our broad range of botanicals.
Ours is admittedly a rare approach to gin. (The other approaches, which sometimes are specified on labels, are "London Dry," “Genever,” "Plymouth," "Old Tom," and "Sloe.") Our way of making gin had two noteworthy periods -- during the 1500s, when whole ingredients were macerated into base spirits, and during Prohibition, when base spirits were blended together with cheap juniper oil (it was Sears & Roebuck's # 1 seller in certain markets).
We chose the whole-ingredient approach to capture a level of depth, delicacy and balance that we found impossible to create using any other technique. For an analogy, imagine taking bourbon -- which has macerated in wood for years and captured its delicate, spicy characteristics -- and re-distilling it to concentrate its woody notes. It might have its purposes and fans, but for us the old, old-fashioned way produced an even better experience and brought something unique to the marketplace. Essentially, we do what bourbon makers do -- which is macerate base spirits with complex, whole ingredients (wood for them and juniper, coriander, etc. for us), put the final product through a polishing filter to get rid of ingredient debris, and bottle it.
Our unorthodox methods result in a full-flavor gin that lets you taste the complex botanicals in a more mellow, less sharply concentrated state. The amber color of our gin is the true color of the 14 whole ingredients that went into making it.
The proof, though, is in the glass. I’d suggest grabbing a bottle and trying it next to your favorite gins. In the mean time, here are a couple of opinions from those who’ve tried: