Gale Force Gin Review
Updated: Aug 29, 2021
This one is a 10 - at least on the Beaufort Scale.
Review Gale Force Gin
Made in: Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA, by Triple Eight Distillery
Method: Distilled in a hybrid Holstein pot /column still.
45% alcohol/90 proof
Botanicals (9): Juniper, orris root, angelica, grains of paradise, lemon peel, orange peel, cardamom, cinnamon, corriander
Style: London Dry
Personal note: Perhaps, it’s fitting that today, the day we publish this, that of course Nantucket, where Triple 8 Distilery who makes Gale Force, was just glanced by tropical storm Henri - with winds at real gale force. We hope all of those in the storm path weathered it well and neither winds, nor storm surge, did little real damage.
When Gale Force gin made it’s debut in 2005, it was part of a boxed set of spirits, with a box decorated to look like a treasure chest. It was part of their “Storm Series” of spirits and the included Gale Force Gin, Hurricane Rum, and Nor”Easter Bourbon, and Riptide Tequilla.
While not all of those original spirits are still being made, Gale Force gin, still is and it has evolved into a very good gin. While the ingredients are very classic the making of this gin is complex with different ingredients macerated, at different times, and added to the mix before redistilation of the GNS to produce a balanced gin, that probably doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves.
Sipped (on the rocks) this gin is quite unique, and remarkably balanced without excess heat, but plenty of taste. Remarkably on this one, I’d say you can clearly taste the faintest hint of salt air on the palate of the gin. It certainly made me think of New England seaside fog the moment I had it in a blind tasting.
Gale Force brings an aroma of sweet citrus, and juniper to the senses.
When it comes to flavor, Gale Force certainly has all the classic flavors although not in quite the expected balance. That is not to say this is not a balanced gin, because this one is exceptionally balanced. What struck me here is a certain very subtle briny nature here, reminiscent of a hint of a dirty martin, or sea fog, which helps pull all the flavors together balancing them in a way you can’t help but like.
And while the gin has all the classic ingredients, and classic flavors, the juniper is not a bomb here, it’s still dominant but plays nicely with strong levels of lemon, orange zest, and cardamom, with notes of black pepper, and a touch of cinnamon heat in the finish.
On the tongue there is a slightly oily, plush finish that leaves lingering hints flavor on the palate.
With its not quite, but almost classic flavor profile with juniper and a cardamom, black pepper, and citrus background, this gin reminds me deeply of the original formulation of Tanqueray Malacca - a gin that became a bartender favorite and one that originally substituted for old tom gin, before the recreation of true old tom gins.
The London dry profile of Gale Force just screams martini gin, and it certainly does not disappoint in a very dry martini. The martini is juniper and cardamom forward, with nice hints of black pepper and citrus providing a very fulfilling backbone to an extremely classic martini.
Mixed with Fever Tree light tonic water, Gale Force gets a full 10 on the Beaufort Scale, by which I mean it is an ideal gin for a G & T. I don’t know that it will stand up against all tonics, but with a classic tonic it is a standout.
In looking for a classic cocktail, but one more complex than the martini and G &T, I found the gin stood out very well in both Southsides, and Aviations. I suspect it will do nicely with almost any cocktail that is best served with a classic gin flavor profile. I even tried it in a Caruso (as I had a batch of homemade creme de mente to try) and liked it there.
(Sadly as I finished my bottle by the time the distillery sent me a few recipes I did miss trying their suggested signature cocktails with it. But since they sent me the recipe ideas it seems unfair not to share them - so you’ll find them at the bottom of the review)
This not quite classic London dry profile is classic enough for just about anyone who likes to sip and savor a clean gin, be it on the rocks, or in a more classic martini. It’s one of the few gins I’ve tasted where the gin successfully evokes the place where it’s made. That’s a real tribute to the distillers. That said, a handful of gin drinkers I’m sure will complain it’s not quite juniper forward enough for them, but I suspect they will be a very small minority.
Gale Force stood up very well to classic cocktails, and a few oddball ones as well. It’s a very good mixer that won’t disappoint. It’s balance that stops the juniper from being overly dominant is very appealing to, even for non gin drinkers.
Rating (Sipping): 91 - an excellent sipping gin that is one of the rare gins that I’ve found truely evokes the locale where it is made.
Rating (Mixing) 93 - I didn’t find a drink that this gin didn’t do well with. It mixes as well you can expect from just about any gin.
Overall rating: 92 - An excellent gin which highlights some of the best American craft distilling. I would not be surprised to see it on a lot more store shelves in the future.
A couple of recipes suggested by the distiller are below:
'cute as a coolcumber' is a drink we make with our estate grown cukes, juiced and and stacked on ice with gale force gin & topped with a lime slice.
add a few leaves of kale to your juicer and 1.5 oz homemade lemonade to that drink above and we call the resulting beverage the 'kale force 1'.
What you need to know about reviews: All my reviews are my honest opinions based upon my own personal tasting. I am NOT a paid reviewer, and no compensation was given, or expected. I may from time to time choose to do a second review and amend my opinion of a product, should I feel like it and find my review criteria has evolved, or that I’ve found it different at a later date. That said, as I’m unlikely to repurchase anything I thought was less than very good to excellent, it would be by chance or at the request of a distiller who thought I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.