On the origin of botanicals - Part 4: Juniper camp
On the journey through Luftbremzer Gin taste we have past three aroma camps so far. Those are citrus, herbal/floral and roots. But none of those would be in the whole taste game if there weren’t for the juniper. Juniper is an essential part of every gin. Her faithful companion is coriander seed. You can find it in 99 % of all gins. Why are those so important and inseparable when it comes to gin? What’s our story about those two botanicals? You can find it all in the next few sentences where we discuss the last but definitely not the least important of Luftbremzer botanicals, the juniper camp.
The queen of gin taste, the absolute star of all botanicals! Behold her majesty, the Juniper. In gin everything starts and ends with it. For a spirit to be regarded as gin, its predominant flavour has to be juniper, according not only the industry profession, but also the European law. Gin as a term actually roots from Dutch word ‘jenever’ which stands for juniper. As a fun fact, did you know that the gin prototype, Jenever, was probably invented in Netherlands also, somewhere in 16th century?
Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50 and 67 species of junipers. However, only juniperus communis (common juniper) is used for gin production. Juniper is a small evergreen tree or a shrub extremely widely distributed across the Northern Hemisphere. It has needle-like leaves and berry-like fruit that we like to call berries... but they are not actually berries, they are little cones. Whatever, let’s call them juniper berries. Those little wonders of nature are what we use to produce gin.
Usage of juniper throughout the human history is vast and lasting. Romans and Egyptians used it for purification and stomach ailments. Greeks used it in their Olympic events due to belief that berries give one strength and fitness. It is used widely as a spice in gastronomy but its major usage has remained in gin industry. And why would we be an exception...
At Luftbremzer Distilley we source our juniper within the region, Lika, a Croatian wild mountain region and its adjacent territories. Here, the harsh winter and warm summer periods favour berries with the intense and distinct resinous and piney aromas that form the body of our Luftbremzer Gin. Local herb pickers put a considerable amount of effort to their work, as they push through the beautiful, but rugged land and gather the berries from thorny juniper branches. They tend to say: ‘’Harsher the terrain, finer the juniper.’’
The Robin to juniper’s Batman*, the coriander, is an ideal backer of juniper’s body and their get-along can be followed even to the molecular level. Namely, alpha-pinene, a chemical compound can be found in both botanicals. The flavour of coriander is rather dependable on the region in which it grew, and our coriander prevails in musky and peppery aromas that open towards the tail of the gin but also accent the top notes on the palate. Luftbremzer Gin gets a lot from its coriander, sourced from Balkan area. It blends nicely with our juniper and profounds the taste from the beginning to the very end of the sipping experience. It supports the citrus camp on the forward, it forms a backbone and the hearth of the gin and it gives a strong coriander kick in the aftertaste.
So now you have it, all the botanicals unfolded and at your display. Anyway, all the prattle isn’t worth much if you haven’t tried it yet, so hurry up and order yourself one.