Watershed Distillery got its start in Columbus, Ohio back in 2010, and today the operation is pumping out vodka, gin, bourbon, nocino(!), and a bottled Old Fashioned. Today we look at the company’s two gins, an unaged version with modern styling, and a bourbon barrel aged expression.
Watershed Distillery Four Peel Gin – Distilled from “corn and fruit,” with a total of eight botanicals including juniper, citrus peel (four of them, though they aren’t specified), cassia, Jamaica pepper, and coriander. There’s lots of perfume on the nose, with aromas veering toward white flowers and lime, overpowering the juniper notes rather handily. The palate is light and equally floral, though here the juniper comes across as a bit harsh, clashing with some of the citrus peel notes, which arrive as somewhat bitter as the palate develops. The finish is effusive, but it’s a rather rough and tumble affair, battering the throat a bit, though I don’t think the slightly elevated alcohol level is to blame. Again, lime rind makes a reprise on the fade-out, ending the experience with less fruit, more drying peel. Just like it says on the label, I guess. 88 proof. Reviewed: Batch #127. B / $33
Watershed Distillery Bourbon Barrel Gin – This is the same Four Peel Gin as above, finished in ex-bourbon barrels for one year. You wouldn’t know it from the nose, which carries a near-identical aroma profile as the standard Four Peel, perhaps a bit sweeter, with just a hint of lumberyard to indicate the time in barrel. On the palate, the gin is a different animal, significantly sweeter, with pronounced vanilla notes and hints of cream soda, sassafras, and some chocolate. The citrus peel notes are tamped down here, as is the juniper, all of which is fine for a guy like me who’d usually rather be drinking whiskey than gin. Definitely one to try whichever side of the fence you’re on. 88 proof. Reviewed: Batch #35. B+ / $39