The newest flavor in local spirits is a unique one. Watershed Distillery announced today the upcoming launch of their new Bourbon Barrel Gin, which is unlike any other gin produced in the US.
“There are distilleries that age their gin in sherry barrels and I think another that ages in Rum barrels,” says Dave Rigo, Owner and Distiller at Watershed. “I believe we are the first microdistillery in the country doing an aged gin in bourbon barrels.”
Watershed has been producing and aging bourbon ever since they started the local distillery back in 2010. By law, the bourbon aging process says that you can only use individual barrels once, which means that leftover barrels are a byproduct.
“Since bourbon and gin are two of our favorite things, we naturally wondered what would result if our Four Peel Gin was influenced by a tasty bourbon barrel,” explains Rigo.
Rigo and his business partner Greg Lehman put away several bourbon barrels filled with gin as an experiment.
“We got antsy and tried it out after six weeks,” says Rigo. “It had picked up some color but not much flavor. So we kind of forgot about it and didn’t try it again until the end of 2011, and were surprised at the transformation.”
Watershed’s original Four Peel Gin is heavy on grapefruit and orange peel notes in addition to the spicy juniper. Rigo says that the bourbon barrel treatment mutes those flavors and provides a subtle sweetness from the caramel and vanilla.
“The end result was surprising and delicious,” he says. “We knew we were on to something, so we have been filling barrels every month.”
The Bourbon Barrel Gin launches at Watershed Distillery (located at 1145 Chesapeake Ave) on the night of August 31st at midnight. An open house begins that night at 11pm and a limited quantity of Bourbon Barrel Gin will go on sale at midnight. It will also be available the first week in September at local liquor stores including Weilands, Huffman’s, Europia, Hills Market, Kroger (German Village, Short North, and Worthington Square), Giant Eagle (Dublin, and Sawmill Rd), Village Carryout, and Campus Liquor.
More information can be found online at www.watersheddistillery.com.