Utah's French Oak Aged Beehive Gin
The distillery's Barrel Reserve stuns with botanicals, vanilla and smoke
When Beehive Distilling opened its doors in August 2013, it became the first gin distillery in the state of Utah since 1870. After nearly a year of tweaking the recipe these first time spirit-makers released their inaugural batch in June 2014. Since, their Jack Rabbit iteration has reached much acclaim for a rich botanical blend inspired by the Utah deserts. It's their Barrel Reserve, however, that really wowed our palates.
The team at Beehive hand-chars French Oak barrels that previously housed chardonnay in California. Much like the process with bourbon whiskey, the barrel is ignited on the inside and when doused, a fresh layer of char exists that will allow the sugars in the wood to seep into the gin, all the while removing anything unwanted. The seven botanical strong gin adopts plenty of flavorful properties from the wood: cinnamon, vanilla and smokey notes. In fact, the gin noses of the creamiest vanilla, a direct product of the aging, but tastes like an exceptional balance of botanicals and barrel. Rose and sage elevate the spirit's blend during distillation, but the French Oak truly makes it something unique during aging.
While this dynamic tipple could lend an unexpected edge to cocktail making, it's really worth sipping neat. The florals do not overwhelm, but work in conjunction with the overall profile of the spirit making it smooth and enjoyable. Not only is this gin the first of its kind to be produced in Salt Lake City, it's also a first for this type of process developed by a bunch of first time spirit-makers.
You can purchase Beehive Reserve Barrel Gin at select retailers across the United States for $40.
Images by David Graver