Drink Review: Death’s Door Gin

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Another arrival from the US, where specialist gins made in microdistilleries across the country have really invigorated what was a previously moribund category. Death’s Door is made with organic red winter wheat on Washington Island in Wisconsin, and has been bottled at a higher-than-usual strength, so use a bit less or add more tonic.

Deaths Door Gin Review:

Aroma (8/10): Embalming fluid. Ginger. Faint hints of vanilla, and some kind of vegetal note which I can’t quite pinpoint.

I’m quite taken with this gin’s nose, as bitter-green notes contrast with the all-pervasive sweet notes. I’m also getting the faintest impression of carrot (herbs!), though again, I’m not sure what it’s from.

Taste (8/10): Dry and bitter, with some wood notes, some tonic and a little bit of bitterness in each. A sensuous mouthfeel, very silky. A little bit of that vegetal note, which comes back at some point. Good body.

Both Death’s Door and Gin Lane have been bottled at 43% alcohol. I advise you to drink it neat. Or at least don’t shake.

Finish (7/10): Death’s Door finishes dry, with some sweet herbal notes. This is a lovely little drink, and one that I’d happily drink again. But I wouldn’t want it to be my only choice of drink.

Score: 85/100

Deaths Door Gin Review:

I’ve just finished my first properly blind tasting, or “unbalanced” tasting, and it was fucking great. A buddy and I got together, grabbed some gins, and went through all four Martinis Mad Scientist had brought.

Come on. It was a blast.

So why did I enjoy it so much? Simply because it was delicious. Our pairings were good, our table was fun, and this type of event is all about enjoying yourself. If you mess up a pairing, no sweat, just grab another as your next choice, and try another as you close out the palate.

It’s great to connect with a bunch of mates, have a few beers, and get off on the same wavelength. I’ve really enjoyed my recent little series. Now, I’ve got to settle down, and get on with writing reviews. Hopefully by the end of the year, I’ll be able to provide you with my own review series.

Deaths Door Gin Review:

If there’s one thing you need to know about this gin and a lot of others on this list, it’s that you need to take the juniper-forward route with gins like Death’s Door. This is cold, clean, and extremely refreshing. The citrus fruit notes are bright and crisp, but then build up to a core of piney bitterness that never gets too harsh.

A great dram, and a fantastic introducer to gins that aren’t just juniper-forward.

Deaths Door Gin Review:

This is one of the better gins that I’ve had in recent memory. The base here is still London Dry, but the cinchona bitters are the real highlight. There’s a pleasant spiciness here that gives a texture to this otherwise simply-distilled gin that I’ve rarely tasted in any other gin I’ve drunk.

It’s a fairly sweet and heavy-bodied entry, but that’s a good thing. I can see myself settling down with a few and enjoying these seasonal gins.

Deaths Door Gin Review:

It gives them a much smokier, dark taste than what you get from a copper pan. Lots of notes of juniper, with a little bit of spice on the finish. A good gin, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miller’s in this post again as the micro gin category continues to expand.

Death’s Door Gin Review:

Hit the spot, and hit it hard. This gin hits hard because it’s a great example of the kind of gin that I love, and that I’m enamored with.

Very clean, extremely slick. Citrus notes, though it’s surprisingly full-bodied and smooth, giving you a silky, honeyed taste that is in no way plastic or artificial. This is a beautifully mixed, very well-textured gin that has a ton of character. Don’t turn up your nose at this.

Deaths Door Gin Review:

On the nose, I’m getting some fruity notes (orange and cherry, though there’s also that distinctly vegetal green note that I saw on the nose of Death’s Door). The floral notes are a little more pronounced, though I get some spice here as well. This is certainly a well-made, complex gin that I’d love to have sitting in the back of my cabinet if I had the chance to make a really good selection of gins.

Deaths Door Gin Review

This is a luxury spirit, and it’s also well-made. The juniper is balanced out by some pleasant touches of menthol and something that smells more savory than what I’d expect from a juniper-forward gin (though I might be exaggerating). It’s smooth, but with enough bite that it doesn’t become too easy.

I don’t know what it is about Death’s Door; in some way or other, it just stands out amongst the crowd. I really enjoy its mix of juniper and botanicals.

This is a fantastic gin for this setting, and the etching on the bottle is incredibly tasteful. What I’m tasting here is a very well-crafted pastis that is crisp and clean, and has some nice spiciness to it. It’s more bitter than sweet, and very well-balanced. A lot of pastis I find to be too sweet, but I really like this one.

Deaths Door Gin Review:

I really enjoy the image on the packaging. I’m not a fan of the label, but I do like all the other consumer-friendly touches that Gettling offers, such as a good number of mixes and the fact that each bottle comes with its own martini glass and two pairs of julep straws.

On the nose, Death’s Door is very pleasant. It’s warm, with some sweetness. The berries are pretty prominent, though they are botanically correct. Noise is a slight problem, but I can’t fault this at this price. This drink is cheap, but the quality is there.


Written by Mark Adams


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