Kyro Dark Gin Review (Formerly Koskue Gin)
A good sipping gin from Finland
Review Kyro Dark Gin (Formerly Koskue Gin)
Made in: Isokyro, Finland by Kyro Distillery
Method: Extraction Still
42.6% alcohol/85.2 proof
Botanicals 12 : Juniper, angelica, lime peel, lemon peel, sea buckthorn, birch leaves, cranberry, meadowsweet, cardamom, coriander, orris root, 1 more.
Style: Barrel aged gin
This review is for batch 23/10/18A
Kyro Distillers have a thing for name changes. This gin was formerly known as Koskue gin, whose base gin was formerly known as Napue gin, but is now Kyro Gin. And now this gin is known simply as Kyro Dark Gin. However the bottle I have is from just before the name change (confusing isn’t it?). I reviewed Kyro (link) just over a year ago, and greatly enjoyed it so I’m looking forward to tasting this one.
Now Kyro came by it’s fame by winning the inaugural IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) Gin and Tonic award as the best gin in the world for a gin and tonic, but that was with their standard Kyro gin, not the dark one we are reviewing today. And to be fair gin and tonics are not the first drink that leaps to mind with barrel aged gins.
The gin itself is made from locally sourced Finnish rye and has an intrinsic spice from the base spirit itself as well as the four locally foraged botanicals, and the 12 traditional botanicals used to create this unique spirit. The rye of course adds a bit of spiciness, and the charred barrel of American oak should add some notes of their own too.
So what’s in the bottle? Let’s find out.
Barrel aged gins are generally made for sipping and Kyro dark is no exception. It certainly has some whiskey-like qualities, although the flavor profile has a lot of differences. It’s nice ice cold either from the freezer, or over ice (I’ve always found that barrel aged gins like whiskey, tend to open up somewhat with a little bit of dilution).
On the nose we get caramel, dry grass, juniper and hints of spearmint.
That is not at all what you taste as juniper is certainly the big hitter on the palate with a nice backbone of charred wood. I’d say here if you really try you can taste a bit of birch, as well as oak. Behind that are some spicy notes, that automatically make me think of ginger and cinnamon which flash before ending with a citrus note or two
Mouthfeel is thin but intense with some pleasantly sharp notes. When chilled it becomes a wee bit syrupy, adding to the intensity. The flavors linger fairly well on the palate.
This is a bit of an oddball when it comes to mixing. It’s not as intense and whiskey like other barrel aged gins like Barr Hill Tomcat (link) or Rabbit Hole (link). In fact I’d say it more like a whiskey and soda, in terms of intensity than whiskey like.
Ok, I'm not going to lie. I enjoyed the martini I made with this, but I don’t feel the need to make it again. It’s not traditional, and I didn’t feel the flavors really meshed beautifully with a high quality tonic (I used Astrobiza), but it was a workmanlike martini, albeit a flavored one with plenty of juniper, but also char and hints of citrus and caramel.
I can’t say I found this a “great” gin and tonic gin. It is a far cry from their regular gin which is excellent in a G &T. The dark definitely requires a judicious choice of tonic. I tried it with three different tonics, Fever Tree’s light Indian style, Q’s elderflower, and San Pelligrino’s Oakwood. In each drink it was very different. I personally found it best with the elderflower tonic, and weakest with the traditional indian style tonic. I think the notes of the charred wood just didn’t play as nicely with the more bitter tonics.
There is potential in mixing this gin. Unlike many other barrel aged gins, Kyro dark isn’t quite as overwhelming flavorwise that you aren’t going to be able to mix it. I found it worked better in more traditional gin cocktails that tend to use a fair bit of citrus. I actually liked it a lot in a gin basil smash, and thought it added a few nice notes to gimlets and collins. That said I tended not to think it great in simpler cocktails as noted above.
This is a far cry from Kyro’s other gin, and unfortunately I think it’s also a big step down. It’s not as mixable, and as a sipper it is good, but not wow good. It definitely could find a niche in a personal bar, especially in drinks like a gin and soda, and in things like a gin basil smash, but again, the wow factor just isn’t there.
Rating (Sipping): 85 - While not for everyone this is a very good sipping gin.
Rating (Mixing) 79 - It’s definitely not a classic mixing gin, and it can certainly find a place in certain cocktails, but even in those it’s not remarkable enough to earn any elite credits.
Overall rating: 82 - definitely worth tasting, and enjoyable but I don’t see this as one I’d bother to keep in my personal bar.
What you need to know about my 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.