Oregon Gin Showcase 1

After giving a bunch of love to our Washington gins, we decided it was time to turn our palates to south of the border and showcase some of the lovely gins from Oregon. For this first round, we went with the Crater Lake from Bend Distillery, the No. 1 and No.3 (now rebranded as Portland Dry Gin No. 33) from New Deal Distillery, the Aria Portland Dry Gin from Bull Run Distillery and last, but definitely not least, the Aviation from House Distillery.

Now on to the gins!

oregon-gin-1-finalCrater Lake:

  • Nose: Juniper, dried sagebrush, faint green olive brininess.
  • Palate: Starts sweet and gets slightly briny as it goes on. Very clear juniper, but less fresh pine notes and more resin notes than is typical. Little bit of wintergreen to go along with that.

New Deal #1:

  • Nose: Juniper, cracked black pepper and lemon peel. Grain notes of the base spirit peek through.
  • Palate:  Juniper, with black pepper notes on the mid-palate. Lemon peel on the finish. Tastes a lot like it smells. Intensely flavored and a lingering finish.

New Deal #3: (Note this has been rebranded to Portland Dry Gin: Recipe 33, however we still had an old bottle that we’re working through :). From what we recall from the tasting room #1 and #3 both just use juniper berries and it’s just differences in the distillation process that gives them their unique characteristics. Though as per usual, we’d been drinking so we maybe misremembering.)

  • Nose: Cleaner lighter juniper than the #1, minty herbal smell kinda like catnip, faint musk.
  • Palate: Really nice crisp juniper throughout with a tiny bit of citrus and muskiness at the end.  Little bit of grainy sweetness at the beginning of the mid-palate along with a touch of grapefruit peel.


  • Nose: Big hit of herbal savoriness. Faint citrus peel. Touch of peatiness like a scotch. Coriander. Undercurrent of peppery notes.
  • Palate: Sweeter than expected. Juniper is bright and cassia and cardamom come through clearly. Pepper notes with a big hit starting at the mid-palate and then mellowing out through the finish. Peatiness really shows up relative to the other gins. But not the smoked peat a la a scotch, more like a pervasive earthiness.


  • Nose: Big savory hit of slightly woody herbal notes, anise and an undercurrent of dill.
  • Palate: Very light silky mouth feel. Juniper, little bit of savory and then lavender. Sweet perfume notes on the mid-palate. Pepper-y notes on the finish. Anise starts to speak more as it warms up.

As always, we love to mix with our booze. Who doesn’t? 🙂 So we chose a few cocktails to hopefully showcase each gin.

Crater Lake – Sorrento #1 (We had this at one of the many Drinking Lessons we attended at the Sorrento Hotel. Unfortunately time and booze have erased who exactly served it and what it was actually called. :-P)

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz apricot liqueur
  • Nose: Lemon, juniper, wine notes, apricot.
  • Palate: A little too sweet to begin with, but got a lot better as it warmed up. Juniper that comes across as dry, almost dusty or mineral-y. Wine from the vermouth. Little bit of orange, but mostly apricot on the finish.

No 1 – G & T because we’re curious how it compares to the No 3

  • 1 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz tonic
  • lime wedge squeezed

Build in the glass over ice.

  • Nose: Little bit of lime, musky melon, sharp green smell like watercress or sorrel.
  • Palate: Interesting take on a G & T. Little bit of lime to start, followed by a funky green/musky flavor and a little bit of juniper. Big bitter kick at the end of the mid-palate into the finish. Not a favorite, but definitely worth the experiment. To be clear, this is an excellent gin that works well in Negronis, Martinis, and other spirit forward drinks where it can be the star of the show, and can be balanced against ingredients that can stand on their own. Definitely worth trying in a Gimlet to see how it turns out.

No 3 – G & T because it’s Christa’s usual G & T gin

  • 1 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz tonic
  • lime wedge squeezed

Build in the glass over ice.

  • Nose: Juniper, lime, quinine, pretty classic G & T smell.
  • Palate: Little bit of cucumber at the front of the palate, then lime, juniper and a nice quinine bite at the end. Bitter and sweet on the mid-palate. Crisp clean, very refreshing. Long pleasantly astringent finish.

Aria – Mamie Taylor Redux

  • 2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • 1 1/2 oz ginger beer

Shake first two ingredients with ice. Strain over ice, top with ginger beer.

  • Nose: Little bit of juniper and that peaty smell again, plus molasses or ginger snap cookies.
  • Palate: Molasses and ginger right on the front, with a little bit of earthiness underpinning them. Perfume-y lime and juniper on the mid-palate. Long ginger finish with a bit of bite. Finish is also very clean and dry. Quite nice.

Aviation – Penultimate Word

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 1/2 oz Maraschino
  • 1 oz lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a glass and garnish with an orange peel.

  • Nose: Bitter orange and bitter almond. Interesting woody, herbal notes and a little bit of lavender.
  • Palate: Interesting chocolaty notes at the front. Unexpected! Slightly bitter peppery green like arugula at the mid-palate followed by really nice orange, cardamom and juniper. Bitter orange and almond notes at the end. A very nicely balanced expression of this particular drink.

As you can see, our Pacific NW neighbor is no slouch either when it comes to gin. These are all very unique and lovingly made spirits that can be used to great effect in your bar. We hope you seek them out, and enjoy them as much as we do.

This entry was posted in apricot liqueur, Cointreau, gin, Gin, lillet blanc, Oregon, Showcase, Tasting Notes, tonic and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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