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Distillery No. 209 crafts Barrel Reserve gins

San Francisco craft gin specialist Distillery No. 209 is introducing its complete lineup of No. 209 Barrel Reserve Gins to key markets across the US in June. Three limited-production expressions—aged in used Napa Valley wine barrels that formerly housed Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon—are now available.

The No. 209 Barrel Reserve gins start off as the flagship, unaged No. 209 gin and possess its same modern botanical profile. The flagship gin is light on juniper and heavier on citrus and spices like bergamot orange, cassia bark lemon, coriander and cardamom. It is then aged for three to six months in hand-selected oak barrels, formerly used in the production of Napa Valley’s finest wines. The barrels are sourced primarily from Distillery No. 209’s sister wineries, Rudd Oakville Estate and Edge Hill Estate.

The finished No. 209 Barrel Reserve gins gain color and complexity from not only the oak but the grape varietal itself: tropical fruits from the Sauvignon Blanc, butterscotch from the Chardonnay and notes of tanned leather from the Cabernet Sauvignon. The lineup is highly versatile in cocktails, standing in not just for traditional gins but for aperitif-style fortified wines and liqueurs or even whisky. Purists will want to enjoy the range neat or poured over a single ice cube, however.

“We first began experimenting with barrel-aged gin nearly five years ago. It’s taken us this long to arrive at a portfolio that we feel fully captures the range of what our No. 209 gin can be,” says Arne Hillesland, master distiller for Distillery No. 209.

Gradually increasing the availability of these limited-production spirits is now the focus with an eye toward top gin-consuming markets in the US and abroad. Beginning this month, No. 209 Barrel Reserve gins will see distribution in top restaurants, cocktail bars, and specialty wine and spirits shops in the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, New York City, Chicago and South Florida. Other markets will join soon after. The No. 209 Barrel Reserve gins will also be available online soon through e-commerce specialist Passion Spirits.

9 June 2016 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor