Gin Gents

Tag Archive: gin

MONKEY 47 GIN: It’s just wrong!

Brand: Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin

Style: Dry (they say)

Distillery: Black Forest Distillery

Imported by: Sidney Frank Importing Co. Inc., New Rochelle, NY

ALC: 47%

Average US Retail Price: Expensive as all get out, especially for just 375 measly ML



Review and Photos by Jim Trotman


“Monkey 47 is the greatest gin I have ever tasted. It’s as good as it gets. If ever a gin deserves 100 points it’s this.”

These are the words of Robert M. Parker Jr, one of the world’s leading wine critics, famous for his 100-point scale and his newsletter, The Wine Advocate.

Mr. Parker, I beg to differ. Even better, I beg to face palm. facepalmThere, I did it.

The quote is used on a full page ad for Monkey 47 and having tasted it, I think Mr. Parker needs to stick to wine.

Folks, what we have here may have a winner for the strangest tasting gin of all time.

It is absurdly complex, it is nose-bleed expensive and I found it horrid.handcomparison

This stuff gave me a severe Jägermeister face. Not that it tasted exactly like it, but I tell you this, it comes close. There is this herbal assault that grabs your mouth, vapors of a whole greenhouse so strong you think it would knock the taste buds out of your mouth. That would be merciful. Instead, it lingers. I just took a sip now just to make sure and now I have to drive to the 7-11 to get an Icee to wash this all away.

And we thought Uncle Val’s was rough.

It is fun, once one samples for themselves and draws their own conclusions, to look around at what others have to say about a particular gin. Many review sites are not honest.

You can tell by how they talk all around the taste and never really tell you their honest opinion. They do this because they do not want to suffer advertiser backlash. Perhaps they get their samples for free and don’t want to upset the apple cart.

But I tell you this for real, Russ and I (okay, mostly Russ) buy the gins we drink with our (his) own money. If it is a skunk, we will tell you it is a skunk.

This Monkey is a skunk. To me. Personally, anyway.

On the plus side, the container is rather handsome, a medicinal looking brown bottle, short and squat with an amusing, highly detailed label with scrolls, an English crown, the Black Forest of Germany, and a not particularly cute monkey. In fact, on closer inspection, the poor little fella is clutching what appears to be a branch that is no longer attached to anything.

labelHe has no visible means of support. [Label pic]

I have this recurring pain in my right elbow from repetitive motion that comes from retouching with a graphics tablet. Seeing as how Monkey 47 resembled an ointment of sorts I rubbed a little on the painful area. It actually made it feel better! I’m not fooling.

Monkey 47 is marketed to the hipster niche, and I’m sure they will hit their mark. If not, they can maybe try pharmaceuticals

But it just does not taste good.

Now I’m sure, just as some people like escargot and some would never think of eating snails, someone out there probably likes this. Thinking this might be the case, at a recent dinner party we invited guests to taste it. Two people out of eight, said they found no fault with it. So there you go.

But, and this is just one 375 ML bottle, and after seven tastings by five people, it still remains half full.

I rest my case.

Other than it’s medicinal value, the saving grace of this whole experience is that at least I didn’t buy it.

Russ did.

And if Mr. Robert M. Parker Jr. is reading this, I hope you got paid well, son.


Russ’s Review

You can pay $10 to gain admission into a zoo, stand in front of the monkey exhibit, and have them fling poo at you.

Or, you can plunk down $50-$70, depending upon where you buy gin and drink something that tastes like monkey poo.

If you choose the latter, you probably took the bait from all the cool advertisements in wine and spirits magazines extolling the virtues of Monkey 47, a German gin previously unavailable in the United States.

The fact that it is now available here is perhaps one of the few arguments this libertarian can come up with against the concept of free trade.

And for that $50-$70 you are rewarded not only with a drink that doesn’t even come close to tasting like gin, you only get half a bottle (375 ml), or as Jim and I like to say, “Hey, there’s only half a bottle left, we’re out of gin. Crack another bottle open, please!”

From my perspective, Monkey 47 (named so because it has 47 botanicals in it, although we’re not sure about the monkey part of the name) tasted, as Jim said, like medicine. Or bad licorice. Or perhaps they share a factory with Jaegermeister and the stuff accidentally got mixed together–kind of like peanut butter and chocolate in Reese’s cups, but with the opposite tasting result–monkey poo instead of a perfect marriage.

It is simply impossible to describe the taste of this stuff. The only truth in the advertising they publish is Monkey 47 is indeed complex.

But so is the process of decomposition and I don’t bottle that and peddle it as something worth buying.

wholebottleOh yeah, as for juniper. It ain’t there.

Their web site claims a “pure scent of juniper.”

That’s a load of M.S. (Monkey Shit).

Nothing, and I mean nothing, could save this gin.

Except to chase it with an old Southern USA standby-RC Cola.

Straight out the bottle–medicine. On the rocks-medicine. As a gin and tonic, medicine and tonic.

And of course, no one but Robert Parker, the guy who apparently can taste the difference between  wine rated 97 and one rated 96 could possibly appreciate 47 botanical tastes vying for attention on your palate.

To be fair, we passed this around to other gin drinkers.

Not a single one was willing to call it a gin and among the four other tasters, only two liked the taste.

But they thought of it as more of a liqueur type concoction than the subject of this blog–gin.

So, there’s our $50 worth.

Wish it been two cents worth–because that’s our rating….

PS: Last time I checked with Jim, to whom I gladly bequeathed the remainder after our taste testing, the bottle was still not empty.

That’s never happened in our tastings before. Even Uncle Val’s was eventually consumed!






Plymouth–It’s not your father’s car, but it might be his gin!

Plymouth Gin


Style: Plymouth

Distillery: Black Friar’s Distillery, Plymouth, England

Producer: Coates and Company, Plymouth, England, UK (distributed by Pernod Ricard)


ABV: 41.2%

Price: $28-$35. Widely available in most states, high-end bars and online

Russ’s Review

Plymouth. It’s been around since 1793 and for good reason.

It’s damn good gin.

There was a time when Plymouth and Boodles were right up there on the shelves of good bars and liquor stores with Tanqueray and Bombay.


Photo by Jim Trotman

But Plymouth was left behind when huge conglomerates purchased Tanqueray and Bombay, literally saturating the market with their main gins and all their new variations.

But that fact doesn’t deter me from keeping Bombay on my shelf.

Until this month, I could only buy it up in Virginia, a 90-minute drive from the Outer Banks.

But now, the North Carolina ABC store in Nags Head is carrying it again. For how long, who knows? It’s been an on again, off again thing here for two decades.

Part of why I love Plymouth is its history.

There was a time when England boasted three styles of gin—London, Liverpool and Plymouth.

London was not just juniper forward, many brands were and are juniper heavy.

Liverpool style disappeared long ago so I never got to try it.

But Plymouth, a huge port home to the Royal Navy and British merchant ships boasted several distilleries and being so close to port, Plymouth style became the gin of choice for seafaring men—and subsequently spread throughout the British Empire.

There is no defined standard for Plymouth-style, but most histories of gin note the spirits produced in that town had more detectible citrus notes than their London cousins.

Now, only one Plymouth style gin remains and, of course, it is eponymously branded “Plymouth.”

So why do I love it so much?

Pour some in a shot glass and waft it under your nose.

Oh yeah, there’s juniper. But wait, the alcohol scent, while present, doesn’t singe your nose hairs. It’s actually pleasant.

And there’s some lemony thing going on, as well as a hint of spice.

Now throw that shot glass back.

Smooth. Baby-butt smooth. Kenny G smooth. A right-wing politician with slicked-back hair smooth.

OK—maybe the last one was a stretch.

You’ll love the subdued alcohol burn while the juniper dances around with some citrus notes.

And then it comes to you.

You can bring this gin to any gunfight you want and it will keep right on being smooth, but with enough backbone in flavor to survive even an onslaught of WalMart brand tonic water.

Shake it up in a martini and it slides right down.

Pour it over some ice—even those cubes that have been in the icemaker for a month and reek of plastic and it retains it’s gin like character without an overwhelming essence of Pine Sol.

Personally, I think Plymouth, like Boodles, puts Tanqueray and even Bombay to shame. Neither of them are this slick.

Smooth, juniper-y, lemon like, and still some spice.

You will also detect notes of cardamom and coriander.

Cardamom is most likely what drives Plymouth’s citrusy, even lemony notes.

Cardamom is a common traditional gin botanical and when used correctly, it also serves to reduce the alcohol burn and take juniper down a notch without relegating it to the background.

And the coriander adds to the citrus sensation and perhaps provides a pinch of sweetness.

Juniper is still the star, but it doesn’t dominate like LeBron James.

Plymouth’s juniper plays more like Steph Curry—allowing it’s other botanical teammates to shine.

In a gin and tonic, Plymouth continues to shine and this is why I like it so much.

It will hold its own against tonic water, rising above the quinine and even a fresh lime squirt, still retaining it’s flavor profile, including those citrus notes and the delightful juniper presence.

Unlike other “gins” we’ve reviewed, I’m not drinking “flowers and tonic” or “apple and tonic” or a gin so lacking in character (Bristol Bay) that I’m thinking “Wow, I’ve got a freaking glass of tonic and tonic.”

Oh yeah. It’s good.

And who the hell am I to argue with 222 years of history and the Royal Navy?

Give it a shot. Or a double shot.

Hell, break those AMA binge drinking guidelines and drink a few doubles!

Jim’s Review

Ahoy! It is safe to say that, like the British Empire at one time, the sun never sets on a bottle of Plymouth Gin.

Plymouth, as with many a sailor’s DNA, was spread all across the globe by wind and sail.

From their own website: “Thanks to the British Royal Navy taking it on ships all over the world, it was to become the world’s largest volume brand of gin with 1000 cases a week going to New York alone by the 1900’s.” Thanks indeed.

It may have much more competition these days but this is still a widely available gin.Plymouth_Gin_Distillery

Hey, I can even get a bottle here in the gin dessert of Dare County, North Carolina!

The even better news is that it is good, really good. It is at once bold and smooth with a complex citrus sensation that rides on the back of warm juniper notes. The mouth-feel is rich but not cloying, and I found the finish crisp and clean. Exactly what I look for in gin.

Naturally one is tempted to compare Plymouth, which is its own style, to the venerable London Dry kings such as Boodles, Beefeater and the like.

In my mind, Plymouth is less dry than it’s London neighbors but I don’t notice a great deal of difference as to amount of juniper in the equation. It could be the mix of the other botanicals that make the juniper a sharper part of the whole. The London Dry gins share many characteristics of this taste profile, but I discern a sharper edge on the Plymouth.

Am I making sense?

Harold’s Review

I am a guy who drinks gin usually on the rocks with nothing added except a LOT of ice and sometimes a splash of tonic…splash being defined as less than a tablespoon.

That drives me toward the really smooth gins, Boodles being my favorite since it can be commonly found (except in Dare County, NC). 

Regular strength Plymouth reminds me of Boodles. 

It has no perceptible “burn” on the lips or tongue and none of the pine/juniper scent that comes to the front in so many gins, especially the cheaper brands of the London Dry variety.

Having said that, my everyday gin has been Tanqueray, and I like a little juniper presence and even enjoy a taste of alcohol, especially in a G &T. 

Plymouth is the best of both worlds.

Plymouth3It is reasonably priced in most places and pleasant consumed in almost any drink. 

Over ice it is very smooth, and while I ordinarily add some lime to my drinks, with Plymouth it really wasn’t necessary, since it has some hint of citrus in its scent and taste. 

I’ve read that in part that may be due to the cardamom, the world’s 3rd most expensive spice, which can have a lemon or lime hint.  It is used in some medicines as an anti-irritant for the digestive tract as well as for adding a subtle zing.  Whatever it is, it earns its keep in Plymouth Gin.

The Plymouth folks have used the right touch with their recipe of ingredients and have succeeded in creating a wholly enjoyable gin that is cooling and smooth over the lips and past the tongue.

Flight 69 Gin

Brand: Flight 69

Style: Reformed Hippie?

Distillery: Treasure Island Distillery, San Francisco, California

ALC: 40% 80 Proof

Average US Retail Price: $30 per .75 Litre



Jim’s Review



Photo by Jim Trotman: The logo is a nice design, clean and elegant and the bottle is long and lean, low drag. The glass is frosted, except for the blink and you’ll miss it detail near the bottom. (See next photo)

First things, first. I liked this. I liked it just fine. I’d have another.

Second, I shudder at calling it a gin.

If I read another sentence that includes the phrase, “perfect for those who find the pine scented aspect of gin off-putting,” I’m going to hunt that guy down and dump a bucket of cold sesame noodles on his fat little head.

People, if you don’t like gin, drink vodka or tequila or rum or bourbon or Pepsi or pineapple juice or lemonade or Rumple Minze or Jägermeister or Bénédictine or any other beverage that make me use the option key. Leave my gin alone.

Here’s the deal. The term ‘gin’ has an appeal attached to it the way vodka does not. We gin drinkers happen to like the pine-juniper taste. We wear its taste like a badge of courage. We have our own little club and our own little tent.

Drinkers, listen up. You don’t get to say you are a gin drinker if one cannot taste the juniper in the gin you’re drinking. Go to the vodka tent. You have a big old huge tent to drink under. You’ll be happier there.

Distillers, listen up. You don’t get to wear the gin moniker just because you add a tiny drop of juniper essence to a thousand gallons of vodka. That is vodka.

Off of soapbox.

For now.

Don’t push it.

I’m a little edgy at the moment.
I just completed three weeks of photographing and editing a bunch of little dancers for a local school. I love the work but I need to get out to the range and shoot something.

Now this wasn’t the first wine we tasted that… (Freudian slip, but I’m leaving it in) …it wasn’t the first gin we tasted that used a distillate of grapes as its base. But that’s another review. This was however the first one we tried in which the grape notes were so plainly evident. But I like grapes so I wasn’t unduly bummed.

To hear them tell it, the makers of Flight 69 Gin intended for the juniper notes to be a “gentle breeze” background note. I missed that note completely.

But what it lacks in juniper it makes up with a rounded out, creamy and complex mouthful with vanilla accents, a warm wash of lavender, and some things I just couldn’t pick out. But it tasted really nice. Hey, California grapes make everything good.
Then there is that smell. I’m walking a tightrope here but when I took my first whiff to check the nose of this gin, a bright orange tube shape appeared in my mind. The word “Testors” appeared as well.

Now, I am not saying this gin smells like airplane glue, it does not. It just has a certain quality in it’s smell that kind of shares a scent profile that I immediately related to the countless hours I spent building plastic model airplanes in the 60s and early 70s, at least until girls got my attention.

As anyone who will spend six minutes around me knows I’m an aviation buff. And I just tipped you guys off to it in that sentence above, but I was intrigued with Flight 69 from the get go.

The bottle is sleek, the label depicting a high-flying four-engine prop job, likely a DC-7 from the looks of it, heading Northeast on an extension of the ‘6’ in 69. As to why the makers chose that particular flight number, well, let’s just say attempting to form a consensus could make for an interesting conversation.

The makers write something about the revolutionary spirit of 1969 being the basis, but I think that is just to cover their butts.

Don’t go putting an olive in this stuff. Maybe a grape stuffed with cream cheese would be good. This is a fun beverage. Hard to acquire in these parts but we all do a little traveling.

Russ’s Review

I went back over our video recording of this tasting and the first word mentioned was “lovely”!

So, we have a winner!

Too bad it’s hard to classify this product as a gin. But it tastes good, so it’s a winner in some category TBD at a later date.

In a separate article following this one, we’ll go over what has become a conundrum for this new site, and recap what is going on in the industry as whole over these so-called “New Western” or “New American” style “gins.”

As mentioned in Jim’s review, the nose of Flight 69 is harsh. In my case it was pure alcohol, but both Jim and Harold found that airplane glue scent.

All of us detected a grape-like essence in Flight 69, which in theory should be absent.


Photo by Jim Trotman: The graphic device, only depicted in frostless relief, depicts and airmail stamp for November 10, 1969 and two boarding passes. They pay good money for this sort of thing and I want them to know I appreciate it.

All traditional gin is distilled from grains such as barley and maize, but any agricultural product can be used as the base in distilling gin. In the case of Flight 69, it was grapes.

As a rule, once distilled into a neutral spirit, that spirt should be tasteless-but in this case the grapes left a residual flavor.

Moving on to the real taste tests–martini style, on the rocks and in gin and tonics we were very impressed with how awesome Flight 69 tasted in all of these forms.

On the palate, in spite of the harsh alcohol scent, Flight 69 is quite smooth.

There is a very distinct vanilla note on the mid-palate, along with  the aforementioned grapes and a heavy floral note–lavender once again, which appears to be the flavor-of-choice among many American distilleries seeking to distance themselves from the traditional juniper-led gins.

In that context, Flight 69 succeeds without question.

It does indeed produce a “lovely” cocktail that is simultaneously light (even breezy) and refreshing.

The botanicals are able to assert their presence even when combined with a mass-produced quinine heavy tonic water,

However, the juniper is barely detectible and I suspect, only by those looking for it (and contemplating carefully what they are tasting) or imbibers possessed of a long association with gin and it’s juniper presence.

If you’re a gin drinker and order one up in a bar, you’ll probably be tempted to ask the bartender something like “Hey, I thought I ordered a gin martini, not a bouquet of flowers! What is this stuff?”

If you unlucky enough to have a new breed, “well-educated” bartender (now called mixologists to differentiate themselves from the “pedestrian” men and women who work in places with names like “Joe’s Tavern” or “The Thirsty Clam”) you’ll be regaled with t vague and undefinable terms like “American” or “Western” style gins and how groundbreaking they are.

Go back to the Thirsty Clam….you’ll get better gin drinks.

So, if you hate gin and want to continue hating gin, yet still have a burning desire to call yourself a gin-drinker, especially if you’ve succumbed to drinking so-called vodka martinis–by all means find a bottle of Flight 69 and join the New American Gin Club (TM).

You can then convince yourself that you have graduated to the level of a real martini drinker, and most of the New Wave drink magazines and judging panels will back you up in your claim.

For the rest of you who still love gin–take a pass.

There are plenty of other boutique gins out there being made in America, Canada and the British Isles that still keep juniper where it belongs-up front and leading the charge.


Harold’s Review


Harold Gracey is back and here’s his take:

Flight 69 is one of “those gins” that isn’t a traditional gin.

It has subtle yet evident grape, almost like vermouth, and when served neat has a strong odor of alcohol or other ester like scents (airplane glue).

Over ice it is very smooth, and would probably almost disappear into a gin & tonic, making it another possibility for G&T drinkers who don’t like the taste of a traditional London Dry Gin.

Then there is their closing line on the bottle label..”…where will I have my next 69?”, maybe one of the riskier conversation starters imaginable.




Waterloo Gin

Brand: Waterloo Gin
Style: London Dry (with a twist)
Distillery: Treaty Oak Distilling, Austin, Texas
ALC: 47% 94 Proof
Average US Retail Price: Russ?

Russ’s Review



Photo by Jim Trotman. The Ferguson rifle was among the first breech loaded weapons to see active service. They were an experiment of sorts and were used by a elite British unit during the American War of Independence. Conventional muskets of the time involved loading at the muzzle, with a good soldier being able to fire 3 times per minute. With the Ferguson, one turn of the trigger guard opened the breech at the rear of the barrel. A round bullet would be dropped in followed with a measured charge of gunpowder. One twist in the other direction closed the breech and on charging the flash pan, the weapon was ready to fire. Though crazy expensive to manufacture, a soldier armed with a Ferguson could double the muzzle loaded musket rate of fire. Not only that, but it could fire sixty shots before the action had to be cleaned. Though a breakthrough in engineering in its day, the Ferg floundered as it was just too expensive to produce and the wooden stock had a tendency to break in combat. Hand crafted, bold and ahead of its time… no wonder they picked it! And you thought all we knew was gins.


It’s not just about Napoleon’s great defeat at the hands of a guy who may or may not have a beef dish named after him.

Nor are we speaking of one of the worst songs ever to grace the airwaves; the annoying tune performed by the Swedish group ABBA.

Instead we are talking about a gin made in Austin, Texas.

Texas is not a locale one would even remotely link with the word “gin.”

But thank your Lone Stars the folks at Treaty Oak Distilling conjured up a gin recipe that while not traditional is in all respects a damn good gin.

As our readers are by now aware, we tried the gin straight from a shot glass.

And this time there was a trio of tasters in attendance, with the addition of neighbor and gin aficionado, Harold Gracey.

I passed the shot glass under my nose and immediately sensed this was not a harsh gin. The alcohol was muted.

And then came the taste test.

My response was “Wow!” as the video shows. And I didn’t even grimace.

Gin is not a “shot drink”, but man was Waterloo smooth going down. I knew I was in for a treat.

Juniper was certainly there and with enough of a note to place Waterloo in the London Dry category that the distillers wanted to emulate.

But something was softening the juniper as I sipped it from the shot glass and my suspicions were those notes would be uncovered as we moved to a more traditional tastings.

With my rocks glass at the ready and my anticipation rising I poured about a shot’s worth into the container.

The ice immediately brought to the front more notes—something nutty (turned out to be pecans), a little citrus (grapefruit) and another something that complimented the juniper while the same time, softening its effect.

Turns out there were two botanicals at work here—lavender and rosemary.

We’ve spoken of lavender with other gins we’ve reviewed.

Some distillers give this botanical too much of a heavy hand, turning a perfectly good into something that tastes as I imagine a flower bouquet might taste if I took a big bite out of the blossoms.

In Waterloo the lavender provided a softening effect on the juniper, but more importantly, its note had more effect on the nose.

Waterloo, to put it simply, is nice and inviting on the nose. Wine lovers will recognize this technique, where lesser-known grapes serve the dual function of softening tannins and imparting a pleasant nose.

Don’t forget smell has a profound impact on how we perceive taste.

But it turns out the rosemary (and I admit we had to look it up on the internet to determine what it was) is key here.

Many gins utilize rosemary, but so far, none have mastered the botanical as successfully as Waterloo.

Like juniper, rosemary has a “pine” taste and smell, but many also detect a hint of tea, and it is that hint that allows the rosemary to balance the juniper while the lavender softens the entire mix.

The pecan adds a bit of complexity, perhaps even the ingredient that ultimately defines this gin.

To complete the tasting I used a gin and tonic with a squirt of lime juice.

This time I chose a mass-produced tonic-Seagram’s, and the result was a super refreshing beverage where the gin stood up to the tonic and revealed all its notes-juniper, rosemary, lavender, grapefruit and even that nutty pecan.

Just a bit more subdued.

And delicious.

I can see myself drinking this (and perhaps, having it sneak up at me) poolside on any hot Southern summer day and scoffing at my beer-drinking or mint-julep tasting companions.

As far as I am concerned this gin, while quite different from my favorite, Boodles, is truly top shelf and if I had the means to acquire it regularly, would be in my top ten gin rotations.

I rate it as many queenie olives as one can hold in the palm of their hand.

Jim’s Review


Okay, I dawdled long enough on this. Time to put aside work that actually pays so I can get down to brass tacks here on this gin tasting. You want to know what I think about this Waterloo Gin? I love it.
Here’s a gin that one can easily sip, straight out of the bottle into the shot glass, no chill needed. I’m serious. You can do it repeatedly, at that.

After a quick sniff that rendered warmth and “juniper” goodness, I took a sip. Wow. Not like fireworks, but like a smooth, warm “greeting” is the best way I can describe it. Mouth-feel might be the word I’m looking for here.

Normally, a sip of gin plays around on your tongue and you feel a need to draw a breath as the alcohol impacts the taste buds. Not here. It’s more like a welcoming envelopment with the accents giving up their notes in close order, and all the shoulders are smooth. It comes on smooth but with a mellow strength. This is one of the best gins I’ve tasted!

Being a Tex-patriate, it doesn’t take a lot to tempt this old cowpoke to want to hop the next flight into DFW. Well, maybe not in July. But stumbling across this gem from the town in which I invested so much of my parent’s money as a University of Texas student, had me falling deeply into a homesick mode for my home state.

But what was it in this elixir to bring forth such a profound response?

What could they put in there to make a longtime London Dry style guy go topsy-turvy?

Maybe pecans?

I might be going out on a limb here, but I’m betting most Waterloo Gin will be consumed by Texans or at least in or near the great state of Texas. I’m betting it will be huge.

Waterloo Gin has that factor; that intangible quality found in the food and drink of Texas that somehow reinforces itself. You actually taste Texas! Let me explain it this way…

Sip a Shiner in Luckenbach and you flash on a memory of the brisket at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor. Bite into a Puffed Picadillo Taco at Dallas’s El Fenix and summon a cooling memory of Blue Bell ice cream in Brenham. I took that sip of Waterloo Gin, and I was transported straight to a Brats Plate at Scholz Garten in Austin. It is a cosmic connection; all taste and place. It goes around and around.


Photo by Jim Trotman:Tasting Waterloo Gin put me in the mind of pouring over a favorite book in my collection, Texas Flags, by Robert Maberry, Jr. It seemed a suitable background. In the close-up, you can note the distinctive firearms chosen for the label.

For this tasting we have a friend of mine to thank. Whit Martin-Whitaker, from my hometown of Garland, follows this page and tipped Russ off to this gin. It is Whit’s favorite. By the way, when you are in Central Texas you can listen to Whit spin classical music tracks on KMFA 89.9 FM. And you can listen in on the internets too at

Holy cattle guard! I’ve been a-rambling like the Rio Grande.

Back to the gin.

As Russ points out, Waterloo Gin has nothing to do with Napoleon’s defeat (or Wellington’s win, if you look on the bright side, like me.) Instead, Waterloo was the name chosen for the site on the Colorado River where the seventh and final Republic of Texas capital would be built. Not long after, the site and resulting town was renamed in honor of the Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin and Waterloo went the way of the dodo.

Treaty Oak Distillery takes its name from a 500 year-old live oak in Austin and was one of a grove of trees known as the Council Oaks. This area under the trees was a meeting place for the local Comanche and Tonkawa tribes. Stephen F. Austin met with the Indians there and negotiated a boundary treaty. Austin now of course is the beverage and culinary crossroads of the country, with big time music habit.

This gin seems the successful result of crafting a London Dry style gin then injecting it with Texas character.

Beyond the juniper, the classic botanicals but are present yet buttressed with the addition of pecans and grapefruit, all Texas grown. What the pecans lend is not a stand out taste of nuts. To my mind they do impart a slight nuttiness but bring more of a balancing agent to the combinations of licorice root, ginger root and rosemary and lavender.

Indeed, it may be the pecans that add so much of that extraordinary mouth-feel. I’m convinced it was the pecans.
This is not a meek, mild wallflower gin or another vodka posing as a gin. This is a big, bold and yes, brave gin.
On the web you can find an interesting graphic supporting Waterloo Gin. It is a highly stylized “battle” design based on the iconic Lone Star Flag with the motto, “Don’t just drink it because it’s from Texas, drink it because it’s not from England.”

Couldn’t say it better myself.

Waterloo3Harold’s Review


Let me start by introducing myself: I’m a rare person in that my drink of choice is Gin which tastes like Gin, and maybe even burns a little. I generally drink it on the rocks, unadulterated except by a small slice of lime…no vermouth, no tonic, no nothing except for lots of ice and that small slice of lime.

My go-to gin is generally Tanqueray, if that gives you a notion of what I prefer. Having said that, Waterloo was a nice surprise. I was surprised, given its “gentleness” on the tongue and lips even straight up, that it is 94 proof, at the high end for most smooth tasting gins. It was also a little different from most, in that it had almost no detectable pine/juniper scent or taste, but did have a nuttiness or woodiness that we surmised was probably from the pecans which are listed on the bottle as one of the botanicals it includes.

Over ice, it glides over the lips and tongue with almost no alcohol sensation, and with a good tonic which Russ provided it was like a soft drink.

My guess is this will prove to be a great gin especially for that summer gin and tonic drinker that really doesn’t like the traditional gin, taste but likes the look feel and taste of a tall G&T when it is HOT in the summer.

For some it will be a dangerous gin, at 47% alcohol, sneaking up on them and leading to embarrassing summer pool party experiences.