“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.” - William Blake
Article and photos by Stephen Miller
- The Capitol Hill Times -
With the closing day of auctions for Seattle’s state-run liquor stores as a backdrop, local gin distillers, critics and enthusiasts gathered Friday and Saturday at Seattle’s first Ginvitational to decide which juniper-infused spirit gave them the most balanced, original and efficient buzz.
Friday’s expert panel, held at Belltown’s Local 360, included 10 judges who swigged their way through a blind tasting of 13 primarily Northwest craft gins. At the Cal Anderson Shelterhouse Saturday, about 80 Seattle Gin Society members and new converts completed the final round of judging and solidified the victor.
Capitol Hill was well-represented with three combined entries from Sun Liquor and Oola Distillery. Both did well. Oola Gin received rave reviews for its bold, classic and eye-catching label and branding. It was also largely considered to be the most accessible gin on the table, making it great for those just starting to get interested in the spirit.
Sun Liquor’s Gun Club stood strong in the final four during Friday’s panel judging, and took fourth overall. Its unique bottle design set it apart visually, and its high-proof, complex and well-balanced taste made it a favorite.
First: Martin Miller’s Westborne Strength
Second: Captive Spirits’ Big Gin
Third: Martin Miller’s 80 Proof
Fourth: Sun Liquor’s Gun Club
Batch 206′s Counter Gin was named best of Washington (though Oola Gin led after the judges’ vote). Small’s Gin took best of Oregon.
Sound Spirits: Ebb + Flow
Sound Spirits: Old Tom
Sun Liquor: Gun Club
Sun Liquor: Hedge Trimmer
Batch 206: Counter Gin
Captive Spirits: Big Gin
Oola Distillery: Oola Gin (Judged Only)
Organic Nation: ON Gin
Bend Distillery: Crater Lake Gin
Martin Millers 80 proof
Martin Millers Westbourne Strength