This gin from Michigan’s New Holland Brewing boasts a dozen herbs and spices, but it’s the juniper and some orange peel that will hit you at the start and don’t let go til you reach for a glass of water to smooth it out. At 85 proof, it’s not particularly hot, but it comes across as pretty fiery: Perhaps it’s the “generous” amounts of juniper berries which New Holland refers to in its marketing that make it such a barnstormer. Long and lasting, things do open up with a little time in the glass, revealing some sweetness, black pepper, and a curious note of something akin to celery. Fine and good, but I expect most drinkers of Knickerbocker will use it with tonic or other tall drink mixers. Decent price and quality on the whole.
Update: Re-reviewed in January 2013. Liking this considerably more today, with a distinct licorice note on the front of the palate, plus that black pepper on the finish. Not too much juniper on this batch, instead it’s more of a burly, vaguely earthy gin. I wouldn’t call it celery this time around, but I did find its smoldering character more enjoyable this time around. 2013 rating: B+
B / $25 / newhollandbrew.com