Tag Archives: Knickerbocker Gin

The Final Gin of my Final Four

I’ve been sitting on this decision for two weeks, when I first compared Knickerbocker Gin to Leopold Bros. The problem? They were both quite excellent, and choosing one meant not giving the other its fair due.

Let me be clear, these are two very different types of gin, with Knickerbocker eschewing the traditional London Dry recipes, trying (and succeeding) to do something different. Leopold goes the opposite route, instead focusing on paying attention to the details of a traditional distillation. Knickerbocker is heavy on the botanicals, Leopold Bros. focused on perfecting the process of a classic recipe.

That’s not to say that Knickerbocker is not as well distilled as Leopold Bros. It sits very smoothly on the palate, and has no rough edges to the spirit that other gins have shown themselves to have in previous head-to-head.

So why did I choose Knickerbocker? It was that same bugaboo I came across in a previous tasting – Knickerbocker was interesting. Or, at least, it was one smidgen more interesting the Leopolds, which was also quite interesting.  The flavor profile of Knickerbocker provided something new and different. Yes, yes, the juniper was there, but it played with its citrus notes a little more, and the other botanicals, including cardamon, coriander,  were more assertive, but balanced quite nicely.

I have a feeling that if Knickerbocker ends up being my number one gin, then Leopold’s will be the second best gin in this exercise. Had it gone head to head with a different gin, I suspect Leopold’s would be in the final four as well.

But they didn’t, so they’re not. It’s Knickerbocker by a hair.

Leopold’s Small Batch vs. Knickerbocker Gin – You Decide

It’s a battle of unknowns, as you, the reader, gets to decide which of these smaller brands gets to make it into the final four of the Reader’s Bracket.

Is it Leopold’s Small Batch out of San Francisco? Or will it be the upstarts from Michigan, with their Knickerbocker gin?

You decide!

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The poll closes in a week.

In related news,  Hendrick’s make it into the final four in the Reader’s Bracket.

Gin Fight #5: Who won between Seagram’s and Knickerbocker


I suppose, upon reflection, that the outcome to this head-to-head taste test was predictable. Neither you, the reader, nor I, the writer, found Seagram’s to be all that compelling of a gin. In all honesty, I wanted to be surprised by Seagram’s. I wanted to find out that secretly, Seagram’s was one of the better gins on the planet.

What I found was that their gin was little more than vodka with just enough aromatics around to make it gin.

Seagram’s Gin has a strong lemon aroma, with junipers floating around in the background. But when tasted, there was nothing there. Or rather, what was there was weak flavored, and uninspiring. This wasn’t like Plymouth, where restraint was intent. Here was a gin whose flavor felt as if it had simply given up. There was no “there” there.

Knickerbocker was the opposite. The aromatics were limited, with a hint of citrus. That made the flavor all that more surprising when it was tasted. Definitive lemon flavors popped on the palate, along with cardamon, coriander, and juniper. When compared one on one with Seagram’s, there was no doubt. Knickerbocker was the better gin, partly because it had been clearly made better, but also because Seagram’s was so empty in its approach to gin. For only the second time in these head to head fights, we agreed with one another. Both the reader’s bracket, and my bracket, have been updated.

Reader’s Poll: Better Gin – Seagram’s or Knickerbocker

What we have here is a battle of one of the world’s most popular gins going up against a rare and difficult to find gin.

Seagram’s has a long, involved history, and in their role as one of the world’s majors distillers, gin is just another item in their catalog that’s reported every year to the stockholder’s of Pernod Ricard, who now owns the brand.

Meanwhile, there’s New Holland Artisan Spirits, makers of Knickerbocker Gin. If Seagram’s is the K-Mart of the liquor world, New Holland is the small, independently owned shop that’s part of the revitalization effort downtown.  If New Holland is on Pernod Ricard’s radar at all, it’s likely only by accident.

So, taste test between the two, and then tell the rest of us – which is the better gin?

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The Poll will be up for a week and then I’ll announce the winner.

And yes, Knickerbocker gin is quite difficult to locate. Sorry.