While watching the development of the amazing range of new gins that have been produced in recent years, I have been particularly excited to try ones that closely highlight the specific region from which the botanicals are drawn. How fantastic that Freeland Spirits has released a new gin, its third, made with locally sourced botanicals drawn from Oregon farms. The name for Freeland Spirits’ new gin derives from Forest Park, one of the largest urban forest reserves in the country, which is located a few scant blocks from Freeland distillery. The ten botanicals include some unusual choices along with gin staples: juniper, coriander, angelica, oxalis, chanterelle mushrooms, salal berries, wild bergamot, fresh elderflower, nettle, and Douglas fir tips. Other than the juniper, coriander, and angelica root, everything is sourced locally. Let’s give it a try.
On first pour, the gin immediately offers an unusual and not entirely pleasant aroma: juniper and umami notes jump out of the glass with pine, pepper, and earthy mushroom fighting for dominance. After giving the glass a bit of time to sit, the notes settle down and start to play nice. Now the pine laces around the mushroom and a deep savory, briny note emerges.
Taking a sip, the gin remains unusual, but the flavors get along well. The juniper comes first offering lightly sweet pine. Piquant umami notes come next, followed by a pleasant black pepper bite. The slightly higher proof works well as it ramps up the flavor. Forest Gin did not work particularly well in a G&T but there is definitely a place for this bottle on your shelf in other uses. The gin has a lovely, oily mouthfeel that is most enjoyable when sipped neat, and I recommend trying it that way, but I found that it reaches its absolute best in a Gibson or a dirty martini where the earthy notes can take center stage and really shine: deep, savory, and delicious.
A- / $40