Some time ago I did already introduce the Hoos London Gin by entrepreneur Heiko Hoos from the German city of Karlsruhe. This gin did absolutely please me and therefore I am glad to announce that I am able to present two more bottles from Heiko Hoos today. These are two very different products, of which both are a very exciting approach and will be further described in the following.
The two bottles bear the ultimately programmatic names Hoos Reserve Gin and Hoos Pink Grapefruit Gin. So you may already guess that we’re dealing with two but very different kettles of fish. The Reserve Gin steps up to uphold the flag of the matured gins (which it does in a quite innovative way) while the Hoos Pink Grapefruit Gin is basically even more interesting to me since it is something like a tribute to the currently very popular Sloe Gin, but quite obviously without any Sloe flavor.
But first let’s start with the Hoos Reserve Gin. This gin is based on the already presented Hoos London Gin and is also bottled only in a small number of 120 bottles per batch. Among the botanicals of this bottling are some sonorously sounding jewels such as orange and lemon peel, cardamom, chamomile, pine buds, coriander, lemon balm and marjoram. And of course the obligatory juniper berries. While you would usually expext a barrel-aging from a “matured” gin (such as the Citadelle Reserve Gin for example), Heiko Hoos opted for a different and innovative process: the finished distillate was infused with oak chips which were allowed to macerate in the gin, thus adding their beautiful aromas of wood and vanilla, as well as a light coloring to the Hoos Reserve Gin. The Hoos Reserve Gin is then bottled at 44.4% ABV.
Update: Meanwhile the information above is no longer true. The Reserve Gin now is maturing for about a month in fresh oak casks. I apologize for delivering outdated information.
Aroma: Immediately you can scent a spicy note from the oak chips reaching far beyond a regular gin, there’s also juniper with citrus peels and a rich sweetness, pines, cardamom and – above all – the sweet fennel. In the background there is some chamomile and a fine note of iodine.
Taste: Very tangy and intensely herbaceous, less sweet than expected and more on the side of the juniper. The oak notes are clearly there. The Hoos Reserve Gin tastes more mature and richer than the original one.
Finish: Long and herbaceous, with noticeable oak.
Inside of a Gin & Tonic I finally combined the Hoos Reserve Gin with a Goldberg Tonic Water and I was very satisfied. The woody notes are stepping a little more into the background here, but they add an interesting depth to the Gin & Tonic. Of course this is bought a bit at the expense of freshness (there is still enough left), but in exchange offers a completely different dimension. And if you really want a fresh and sparkling gin & tonic, you should anyway not choose a barrel-aged gin or – as in this case – a gin infused with wood chips.
Like when having a closer look on Sloe Gin we are not really dealing with a gin when it comes to at the Hoos Pink Grapefruit Gin, but with a gin-based liqueur. Even that it is gin-based is not always true with an eye towards some products on the market, but in the case of the Hoos Pink Grapefruit Gin the regular juniper distillate was used as the fundamental spirit. This one was then mixed with the juice and the skins of fresh pink grapefruits, some sugar and some additional lemon balm and everything was allowed to macerate. After filtration, the Hoos Pink Grapefruit Gin is than blended with regular Hoos London Gin until the drinking strength of 30.5% ABV is reached. Especially the Hoos Pink Grapefruit Gin makes me very curious about its usability in cocktails because there are many classic Sloe gin cocktails out there I’d really like to play around with. In the future I will definitely present one or the other experiment here. But now it’s time for tasting it neat.
Aroma: the citrus-golden liquid which forms sugary streaks in the glass and immediately releases the intense aroma of citrus fruits. After a short time the impression of grapefruit and grapefruit peels solidifies, but in the background there are also herbaceous and floral aspects to scent.
Taste: the grapefruit is surprisingly bitter on the palate, overall also this one is much less sweet than I expected (which surprised me in a positive way) and very nicely complex with herbs and a little juniper. Definitely a pleasing and multi-layered liqueur which I am eagerly looking forward to use in a cocktail.
Finish: slightly bitter and citrous