Genever is a spirit that has lately been wrapped up with gin, but its original recipe was actually closer to a whiskey than a neutral spirit. For the first time in hundreds of years, Lucas Bols is bringing that recipe back. Designed “for collectors and cocktail enthusiasts,” the awkwardly-named Bols Genever 100% Malt Spirit is “distilled from long fermented corn, rye, and wheat with juniper berries” — and is intended to taste the way “real genever” did back when it was first distilled some 350 years ago.
It’s the third expression of Bols Genever on the market, following the original Bols Genever 1820 and Bols Genever Barrel Aged.
Let’s give this unique product a try and see what they were getting into in the mid-1600s.
Surprisingly gentle, this is actually closer to gin than I expected. Though the malt underbelly definitely makes itself felt, the gentle juniper is omnipresent. I’d have no trouble using this as a mixer in any gin-based cocktail. Lightly sweet on the nose, with notes of honey and molasses, there are gentle leather and green pepper notes that add some savory notes to the mix. The palate is similar, but leaning more to the savory side, with additional notes of sesame seed, celery, and tobacco emerging. The finish is quiet but focus on granary notes, plus a lingering warmth owing to the alcohol.
Though it may not be something I gravitate to daily, it’s certainly very interesting stuff.
94 proof. “Limited preliminary shipment of 200 cases available in the U.S.”
B+ / $70 / bols.com