A wild gin, named for a mountain, a mythical creature, with a unique taste.
Review Harahorn Gin
Made in: Grimstad, Norway by Det Norske Brenneri (The Norwegian Distillery).
46% alcohol/92 proof
Botanicals: Juniper berry, blueberry, rhubarb, angelica root, coriander, marjoram, bladderwrack, grains of paradise, orange peel, lemon, nectarine skin, anise, and 11 others.
Style: Modern gin.
The first thing you notice about Harahorn is its distinctive blue bottle adorned with a large, white, horned jackrabbit, counterpointed by a tiny Norwegian flag. It’s a gorgeous bottle, and distinctive. The jackrabbit is the Harahorn - the equivalence of the Jackalope in American culture - and who the gin is named after.
The flavors are true Norway too, with the main characteristics imparted by products of the country. There is juniper from Røros, blueberries from Nordmarka, rhubarb and bladderwrack (a type of seaweed) from Grimstad, angelica from Oppdal and wild marjoram from Sunndal.
Made by the first independent distillery in Norway, after the alcohol monopoly was finally given up by the state. They are a true micro-distillery who do everything in super small batches of 400 liters (about 105 gallons) per distillation. That means they only make about 550 bottles at a time - they do that to ensure high quality.
And the end product is good.
This is one of those rare gins that can be drunk neat although you’ll get a bit of heat that way, but like most gins, it’s better when opened with ice, water, or a mixer. With ice (and a minute or two) this makes a marvelous smooth sipping gin that really requires nothing else.
Juniper, rhubarb, citrus, and a hint of black licorice are all found in the nose,
But it’s the flavor that reaches out and grabs you. It’s a harmony between the pine sap bitterness of juniper, mellowed with blueberry, mustiness from the angelica root and a hint of pepper from the grains of paradise, with a slight bit of rhubarb and anise. It’s a very pleasant taste with a faint hint of mint and a trace of vanilla in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is silky and smooth.
This is a standout gin when straight. So how does it do in a cocktail? In general it does quite well, but like any gin, it needs to be mixed intelligently.
While I liked it very much with a twist in a martini, and with an olive too. It made a mellow happy gin and tonic with Fever Tree’s Mediterranean tonic water and a wedge of lemon - but it was far too mellow to stand up to their lemon flavored tonic (which honestly is rough with most gins).
And that was also my opinion when tried in a negroni. It stood up well though in a Ramos gin fizz, and even in a Tom Collins.
This is an elite level gin - and a worthy one in just about any gin drinker’s arsenal. I’ll certainly be buying more for my own.
Overall rating: 95 One of the best gins I’ve had this year.
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.