UPDATE: Forget bourbon -- this Kentucky distiller is making gin
By Charles Passy
Newcomer brand starts with clear spirits, but plans bourbon release in 2021
The bottle: Castle & Key Restoration Release Gin (https://castleandkey.com/spirits/), $25
The back story: When we think Kentucky and booze, there is usually just one spirit that comes to mind: bourbon. So here's something out of left field: a Kentucky gin.
First, a little on the company behind it: Castle & Key is a newcomer, but it's situated in the former Old Taylor Distillery, a one-time powerhouse in the state, located in Frankfort, that traces its roots back to 1887 (https://www.distillerytrail.com/blog/castle-key-distillery-rising-ruins-old-taylor-distillery-narrowly-escaped-wrecking-ball/). After years of neglect, the property was purchased in 2014 by entrepreneurs Will Arvin and Wes Murry with the goal of once again producing "the best bourbon in the world," as Colonel E.H. Taylor of Old Taylor Distillery described his product.
The rub is that it takes time to make a great bourbon -- you need to age the spirit, after all. Castle & Key anticipates its bourbon -- it's making four different recipes, actually -- won't be ready until 2021. In the meanwhile, it's doing what many new distillers do and concentrating on products that can be quickly produced for sale (meaning no aging required) -- namely, gin and vodka, the classic clear spirits. It's also offering tours of its new distillery for those who happen to be in the area.
The company insists that it's not taking the task of producing gin or vodka lightly. In particular, it's making its gin using ingredients grown in Kentucky. Eight botanicals go into the mix, with the company saying it puts special emphasis on three: chamomile, ginger and rosemary. Of course, this being a gin -- and a London-style dry gin at that -- it has to contain juniper as well.
What we think about it: While purists might protest this is not truly a classic gin, it has an appealing, slightly sweet taste. That's likely because of the chamomile, which a company representative says gives "a sweet floral start to the experience." But the rosemary adds some balance in terms of the piney notes it brings to mix.
How to enjoy it: The company suggests this gin will work especially well in a gin and tonic. And we wouldn't hesitate to use it in a martini, either. A final note: The product has limited availability nationwide, but the company hopes to bring it to more markets in the future. Or go to Kentucky and try it at the distillery.
-Charles Passy; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 09, 2018 05:33 ET (10:33 GMT)
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