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Review

Damrak Amsterdam
Original Gin

Distillery

Lucas Bols, Amsterdam, Holland (production at Oborniki distillery in Zoetermeer, Holland) and offices in New York.

Website

Damrak Amsterdam Original Gin and Lucas Bols.

History

Lucas Bols founded the company in 1575, just outside Amsterdam, and it is the oldest distillery in Holland and the oldest surviving brand in the world. He made spirits using the spices and flavourings brought back from the far flung corners of the world by Dutch sailors. Their storage shack (called ‘t Lootsje) was soon too small and a stone building replaced it – it is still to be seen on Rose Canal (Rozengracht) in Amsterdam.

In 1816 the Bols male family line ceased but the company has continued as Lucas Bols. The 1960’s meant the company had to relocate, due to size restrictions from continued growth, and is now in Zoetermeer (which means “Sweet Lake”) - about 10 miles North of Rotterdam/35 miles SSW of Amsterdam. In 2006, following a management buy out from Rémy Cointreau, former board member Huub van Doorne became CEO and brought Bols back to Amsterdam.

House of Bols is a visitor’s attraction in Amsterdam, you can even have a go at “flair” bartending. For pure tourist information, it is next door to the Coster Diamond Museum and across the road from The Van Gogh Museum.

Production

This is made from grain and malt, the base spirit being redistilled four times. The botanicals are individually incorporated using copper pot stills during the 5th and final distillation.

The Gin is bottled with a distinctive swing top, metal catch loop (as used with a few beers - e.g. Grolsch), but has since been replaced for the USA market with a simple traditional twist top cap.

Category

London Dry Gin (from the grain) and Genever Gin (from the malt).

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

41.8% (84 Proof).

Price Range

$$.

Botanicals

Contains 17 botanicals (including juniper, citrus and unusually honeysuckle), which are individually distilled.

Name

The gin is named after the main inner harbor in Amsterdam where merchant ships would dock and unload their cargo of spices etc. from around the world. The Damrak is also the name of a central canal and street, which runs through Amsterdam. It is close to the Amsterdam Central railway station and key tram routes, and where the old stock exchange used to be – this gave rise to the reference to the Dutch stock exchange being called the “Damrak”.

Tasting Notes

On the nose are strong citrus (especially orange), followed by spice (coriander and liquorice) and light juniper with floral (honeysuckle) tones. Medium bodied, the palate picks up the orange and mild juniper, finishing with a peppery after taste. This smooth, creamy, crystal clear liquor works well in a Martini, less so in a Gin & Tonic and is perhaps best with Gin based citrus drinks. It is good as a sipping Gin, either neat or on the rocks.

The light touch of the Juniper has traditional purists downgrading this Gin (see Wine Enthusiast score below), which is a shame because it is a good quality drink, albeit less "Gin like".

Awards & Accolades

94 Points, Beverage Tasting Institute.

87 points, Wine Enthusiast.

Gold Medal, The Fifty Best (New York), 2012.

Bronze Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2008.

Silver Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2005.

Silver Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2004.

Silver Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2003.

Double Gold Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2001.



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