- Jonathan Winters
Hardshore Gin Review
Updated: Aug 27, 2020
Review Hardshore Gin
The bottle certainly stands out as different and this gin from Maine certainly does too.
Made in: Portland, ME by Hardshore Distilling company
Base: Grain (locally sourced)
Waterbath Pot Still
46% alcohol/92 proof
Botanicals 5: Juniper, mint, rosemary, orris root, coriander.
Style: Modern gin.
Occasionally someone creates a product that is greater than the sum of its parts. Hardshore’s premier product is one of those rare creations. When you look at the botanical mix, it’s simple. Extremely simple and not at all out of line with the traditional botanicals used in many different gin. Hardshore gin excels, not because of it’s ingredients, but because of technique. In that it’s akin to the differences between Italian cooking and french cooking - Italian cooking is about the quality of ingredients, French cooking is about technique. Both may use the same ingredients but the results are miles apart. Hardshore has elevated the technique to the point where they’ve produced something excellent from common ingredients.
As I never fail to mention, I love a gin you can sip straight. And Hardshore certainly fits that bill. It’s something completely different - where juniper is not in your face taste, but secondary to mint and orris root. This is one which poured over ice, and given 15 seconds to open up, is easy drinking, mellow, and quite pleasant.
It’s so different that it takes some real thought to figure out just what you don’t taste here, in other words, what’s missing from the flavor profile you expect to taste in a gin. Obviously the overwhelming taste of juniper has been minimized. And you’ll notice a lack of obvious citrus in the flavor profile, yet there is enough acidity to suggest that it’s there. it’s not the lemon/lime/ or orange we’d expect, but more like a hint of yuzu.. It’s unexpected, but refreshing.
But you’ll also find some flavors present that don’t actually show up in the botanical mix, but somehow feel like they are there. There’s a hint of the warmth of eucalyptus, a hint of asian pear, and just a whiff of Japanese sweet potato. it’s certainly an interesting mix.
There is not a lot of bite here, but more than a hint of heat, and a velvety mouthfeel. Mint is the predominant flavor here, followed by orris root, while the other flavors dance around the periphery of your taste buds. The rosemary is just barely distinguishable, the jumper is a secondary if not tertiary flavor, and to be fair the coriander is a background base.
This is a very atypical gin, but a worthy addition to just about any liquor cabinet, especially for people who do not think they enjoy gin - as this is so far different from other gins that it may open some minds.
This is one of the growing number of gins that do not need to be mixed to be enjoyed - but it’s an excellent drinking gin with quality mixers. With low quality mixers you’d be far better off with a lower quality gin.
This is best for drinks where the gin, rather than the mixers are the main flavors. That said it makes a good martini, but quite a different one.
Overall rating: 92. Something different, but pleasant, and remarkably easy to drink.
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.