From the bartender’s corner: Gin #29 – Ungava
I had seen this gin first at the duty free shop in Aruba airport. It said it was from Canada. I was not sure how a Canadian gin would be like – so never picked it up. Came home and studied it up. And boy, did I regret it! Turns out this is a very unique gin. Made from very unique botanicals and herbs from north of Canada (North of Canada? Isn’t the whole country in the north?), it had great reviews and some fantastic feedback.
I looked for the usual places in Atlanta for this, unsuccessfully. Found one store in DC that could send a bottle to me but the delivery would cost me twice the price of the bottle. Filed that away under the “When I am in DC next, need to pick up a bottle” section of my mind.
The other day, I swung by a liquor store in Cumming after finishing my hospice time. I think I was there to pick up some wine to gift at a party that evening. As is my wont, I strolled over the gin section to see if there was anything interesting. I expected nothing. Guess what? There was a bottle of Ungava!
I think I forgot to buy the wine in the excitement but I certainly got a bottle of Ungava.
Opened it up last night.
First, the gin is made in northern part of Quebec. In that frigid environment, on the banks of the Ungava bay you get some unique botanicals. Six of theme are used in Ungava – Wild Rose Hips, Crowberry, Labrador Tea, Cloudberry, Arctic Blend and of course the mandatory Juniper is Nordic Juniper. Frankly, other than the Rose Hips (which is the fruit in a rose plant), I do not think I had ever heard of the rest.
Now the process is somewhat unique. The base alcohol is derived from local corn. Then the six botanicals are used in the distillation process like every other gin. The twist is that these botanicals are again used to do an infusion (like you get infused vodkas, for example). Among other things, this infusion gives it the unique yellow color.
The nose is very juniper-y and if you give it a few more seconds, you start getting the citrus in the drink. The palate is very complex. To be sure, not knowing most of the herbs, I could not identify much other than there was the juniper and the citrus. There was a hint of floral taste too.
The finish was not as prolonged as I expect from gins and was again a very juniper-y finish.