What exactly is an “American Dry Gin?” I can’t tell you, but maybe Bently Heritage Juniper Grove American Dry Gin can. The self-classified spirit comes to us from Nevada’s Bently Heritage Estate Distillery, which produced it by triple-distilling grains grown on their own ranch with five botanicals including juniper, coriander, angelica, lime zest, and lemon zest.
There is, of course, juniper on the nose, but it feels fairly temperate and is tamped down by fresh lemon, lime, and a certain herbaceousness that had me thinking of lemon verbena. It’s soft on the palate, with a medium temperature, and immediate flavors of juniper that reach “Christmas tree” level without quite hitting the in-your-face juniperness of your typical London Dry gin.
And much like in the experience of the nose, that strong juniper bolt is tethered to lemon and lime, which grow fresher, juicier, and all around more prominent at the center. The back of the palate puts fresh lemon zest into the driver’s seat, before we finish with light licorice and moderate spice.
While I’ve enjoyed many spirits labeled “American Gin,” I found Juniper Grove’s paired-back approach refreshing. Its sparser selection of just five botanicals didn’t make me feel like I was inhaling potpourri, as is the case with some American gins, but rather getting a thoroughly American take on the London Dry: a gin that still packed a worthy juniper wallop, but wasn’t afraid to play around with alternate flavors–in this case fresh lime and lemon zest.
For that reason, I found that it performed excellently in a Gin & Tonic and a Martini—an impressive dual-purpose utility that can’t be said of every American gin. In the end, I found myself wishing that American gins broadly might take a page from Juniper Grove.
— 46% ABV