Brand: Dingle Original Pot Still Gin
Style: London Dry
Distillery: Dingle Distillery, County Kerry, Ireland
ALC: 42.5% – 85 Proof
Average US Retail Price: $30-$35
(All photos in this review by Jim Trotman)
Time and place.
Sure, circumstances can color our appreciation of certain things in life.
One of my top five favorite meals was a simply fried whole red snapper in a garlic chili sauce. You may know this by its Mexican name, Huachinango al mojo de ajo.
Granted, Laura and I had spent a blissful day lolling in the Pacific and hanging out on the crescent of sandy beach below the verdant hills of Zihuatanejo, had sipped our share of cocktails, and our feet were in the sand under a thatched hut on that beach, the day growing cool as the sun raced for the horizon. But still, that dish would be just as wonderful even taken in less than idyllic circumstances. And when I am able to have that dish again, surely it will take me back to that sweet memory.
Can a gin do that?
For me, Dingle does. Dingle has all the aspects I seek in a gin of choice. And I happened on it quite by accident. Long story short, we ended up in Ireland. This part of the trip we landed in Galway. The hotel we had picked was quite unique. It was as if Austin Powers himself had decorated it and added a cat fetish. It was, as he might say, “Darling, baby.”
Importantly, the House Hotel had a fine restaurant. More importantly, this nifty hotel restaurant had an even niftier bar. Now, I know Ireland isn’t known for gin and so for the better part of this trip, I was ordering gins from that bigger, British Kingdom across the small sea. But this night I spied a bottle in the classic gin shape on the bar and made out the label, “Dingle.” Yeah, it makes you smile when you say it. Give it a shot, right?
This was for me a “wow” gin.
The juniper was there on the nose, the sip, and solidly in the crisp finish. But also there was that clean taste of what we had been smelling in the perfumed air. It was the pleasing grassiness of the heather, the mountain ash tree berries, and bog myrtle. These botanicals, plus chervil, angelica and coriander and the others they stay mum about, combine to deliver a fine, well crafted example of how gin can be done right.
Back in Dublin, toward the end of our stay, Elissa, my adult daughter, and I parked the rent-a-car and strolled the grounds of St. Stephen’s Green and made our way to the Celtic Whiskey Shop on Dawson Street. I just followed her as she had done her homework. There I nabbed a bottle of Dingle for my allowed liter to take home on the flight. She opted for a bottle of Writers Tears Whiskey.
The name derives from the location of the distillery. The tip of the Dingle Peninsula is mainland Ireland’s westernmost point. It is located on the southwest coast in the scenic County Kerry. Yes, the dingle berry vs. juniper berry jokes are fun.
Fortunately for GinGents, I had Russ sample some at a get together but we weren’t in a note-taking mode. That rascal somehow managed to lay his hands on bottle of it here, stateside.
We took some notes then I think his cat ate his.
Maybe he can scare up another bottle, or I’ll have to go back to Ireland.
Not a bad thought.
As our regular readers may remember, the tie that binds the three GinGents is Boodles Gin.
How three folks ended up on the same small barrier island in a state that doesn’t even sell the stuff, became friends and started an ad hoc gin tasting group is begging the odds.
Unlike Jim, my first taste of Boodles was not the magical Emerald Isle, but at Jim’s house and whilst I love the dude, his countenance is not one to link imagery and a gin forever in my mind. Beyonce he ain’t…
In spite of those hurdles, Dingle, to borrow a phrase from southern writer/humorist Lewis Grizzard, Dingle “tore out my heart and stomped that sucker flat!”
Is it a clone of Boodles?
Absolutely not. Blind taste test it and you’ll know they are different gins.
But damned if these Irish lads didn’t stay true to the London Dry tradition, placing our beloved juniper front and center, while avoiding the scent and probable taste of a Christmas tree shaped car air freshener.
Smooth on the nose, smooth on the palate–perfect on the rocks, shaken or stirred into a martini–even mixed with tonic water, there was no denying this gin’s near perfection.
As Jim noted, they keep their botanical mix close to the vest, but the angelica and coriander are definite contributors to the overall success of this gin–and I’m not sure there isn’t the slightest hint of citrus zest in there to kick up the refreshment quotient.
Through hook and crook, I’ve been able, over twelve months to grab hold of three bottles of the stuff.
Each time the verdict is the same–a must have gin–if you can find it!
In honor of Winston Churchill, who was reputed to claim my two favorite gins, Boodles and Plymouth, as his two favorite, I rate Dingle 4.5 Churchill’s!
OK, just up front let me confess that it was my favorite of the night’s tastings.
It wouldn’t last long in my liquor cabinet!
Dingle is distilled in Ireland, in a classic London Dry Style, but with a twist.
I’m not sure what the twist is, but it works.
Of course I have Scot and Irish roots, so telling me it’s a rare find from Ireland starts me with a good attitude, but it has a blend of pure grain spirits and a secret mix of botanicals to create quite a prize in a bottle.
Maybe you can tell, but I loved the aroma, which is juniper, but subtle, complemented by the usual scents and then some I couldn’t name.
I loved it taste on the tongue. It was one of the few gins that I think I could drink straight up, but maybe not for long.
On the rocks, it was like a sweet wild Irish rose — smooth, sweet, soft and subtle.
There was no alcohol bite, and no aftertaste. It was just plain good! Great, in fact. I couldn’t bring myself to add tonic to it, but I did have several on the rocks. Each was better than the one before.
If you can find it, get it, and enjoy. Whatever it costs you, it’s worth it!