Gin - Bols Genever
Lucas Bols BV, Amsterdam, Holland
Importer: Cattani Imports, San Francisco, California
PROOF: 84 (42%)
TYPE: Dutch Genever (more or less)
AGE: Not applicable
PRICE: $38.95 - 750ML
Notes: One of the few genever style gins available in the US market.
Appearance: Crystal clear, thick, scalloped edges develop on swirling, changing to long legs on the side of the glass. Slightly oily / thickness to body (sign of quality and lots of flavor).
First Impression: Actually smells like genever malt wijn! Malty/bready smell like a spiced bread with cardamom,angelica and a hint of juniper (not the first and defining characteristic unlike many London dry gins). Deep, round earthy smells of ghee, spices, honeysuckle, citrus, with cassia and orris root lingering around the edges.
Taste: Medium body, bready/malt like entry with lots of spice and some weight and mouthfeel. Interesting, appropriately muted floral followed by spice,pepper and some citrus. Mild tingling on the lips and tongue. Very clean distillation and wonderful blending.
Drinks: Finally you can use to make all those recipes from those old drinks books. Most pre prohibition books did not use London Dry Gin. They called for either Old Tom (a sweetened gin almost virtually extinct, except for Haymans Old Tom) or they specified Holland or Dutch Gin to make a less aromatic and much more malty drink - using the wrong variety was like using the wrong type of vermouth in a drink - vastly different (and possibly undrinkable) result. A Holland House was later changed into an Aviation by using a London Dry Gin instead It even makes a interesting, if slightly sacrilegious, Lassi.
Bottle: Smoked clear glass, not frosted,colored or in any other way obscuring the contents. Traditional cylindrical shape (even if glass rather than clay) with black neck wrap and cork . Florid antique style script silkscreened on front on front and a short history of Bols Genever on back
Final Thoughts: An excellent start. While not a full-on genever (a bit too light and closer to a London Dry for me to fully embrace), it is a praiseworthy attempt in the right direction. Highly recommended for a new gin addition to your bar and very necessary for a lot of classic drinks. While it is not a full blown genever, it certainly is close enough is for most people to try to get used to and develop a taste for. If you think of it in terms of a scotch it would by closer to a Highland than an Islay - lighter in body, fruitier/more aromatic which makes it more versatile than a Oude Genever (old process/style Gin using potstills) and much better than the new/process style using column styles and going for something closer to a vodka or schnapps).
Website has some useful information but a bit terse compared to some. More pictures and an expanded history would be useful.