Our lineup was—in alphabetical order: Barr Hill (VT), Bluecoat (PA), Cold River (ME), Death's Door (WI), New Amsterdam, St. George - Terroir (CA), Tanqueray, and Tanqueray Rangpur.
Here are a few notes from our tasters.
Last year's winner makes another appearance in 2012. Bluecoat - American Dry Gin from Philadelphia Distilling in Pennsylvania is a nice, traditional gin. One taster found the flavors "very nice and juniper-heavy"
Cold River traditional gin from Maine Distilleries was new on the scene. Some tasters found it good and smooth.
I, personally, was not its biggest fan. For me, the nose had an odd odor to it that I couldn't quite get past. For a moment, I imagined it was crème de menthe.
It was, incidentally, my addition to the lineup, so I have it back at the house for plenty of follow-up tasting. If my mind changes, I'll let you know.
Death's Door gin from Death's Door Spirits in Middleton, Wisconsin was a nice find. My initial reaction was "hints of black pepper!"and thought that spicy subtlety was great.
St. George — Terroir gin was also a favorite. I wrote "delicious" on my little sheet. Also: "warm spices, cardamom." Jeffrey said this one, to him, was the most unique with a "woody/anise/herbal thing going on."
One change to this year's tasting was that we took a second taste of each gin with tonic. While most of our gins did not seem to change all that much with or without, I though St. George's citrusy flavors were brought forward with the tonic.
I won't bother discussing the others on the list; I'm sure you've all had them before. Anyway, after all that tasting, we took a vote for favorite gin of the night. With the most hands raised, our winner was...
St. George—Terroir gin took 2nd place.
Can't wait until next year!