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Durham Distillery releases barrel-aged gin.
It’s been more than five years since Durham Distillery last released one of its award-winning Conniption gins. The distillery’s Conniption Navy Strength gin and Conniption American Dry gin have held fans over, but we’ve all been eager to see what the esteemed, state-of-the-art distillery comes up with next. Now, the wait is over—just last month, Durham Distillery released an exciting new Conniption Barrel Aged gin, the first in its new annual series of barrel aged Conniption gins, and boy is it good.
Durham Distillery president Melissa Katrincic says that both she and her husband and head distiller, Lee, started thinking about aged gins in 2016, just a few months after they released their first two Conniption bottles. They spent the last few years researching other barrel aged gins, seeking advice from fellow great gin minds and thinking about what botanicals they really wanted to hone in on for the final product. Durham Distillery’s Navy Strength gin served as an inspiration for them, along with a beloved cocktail of theirs, the Martinez, which Melissa describes as essentially a gin-based Manhattan.
Lee, who took charge of the first of the distillery’s barrel aged gin release, played with the botanicals in the Navy Strength gin, adding in and removing flavor notes he thought would work best with the remnant bourbon leftover in the barrels they sourced from High West Distillery in Park City, Utah. The resulting Conniption Barrel Aged gin—which they aged for 10 months—delivers a botanical makeup of plum-iness from dried mission figs they sourced from California and cold distilled at their distillery, lemon, juniper, caraway, cardamom and an oakiness from the barrel itself.
“What you get is this luxurious mouth feel,” Melissa explains. “I’m really proud of it. I feel like it was just such a long thought process to figure out what to do, and then to have it come out and be everything we hoped for… it just feels really good.”
Durham Distillery will release a new barrel aged gin annually, and Melissa, who’s taking the lead on the second release, already has a few ideas up her sleeve. She’s currently looking at using a sherry or port barrel, honing in on flavors of juniper, orange, dried cherry and rosemary. Melissa also wants to look at potentially venturing into rum barrels and tequila barrels for future releases.
“The most exciting thing for Lee and me is really about those flavor combinations,” says Melissa. “You know you’ve hedged your bets—you’re doing what you think is going to work well with that barrel and what used to be in that barrel, but at the end of the day, it’s going to do what it’s going to do.”
When it comes to drinking Durham Distillery’s new barrel aged gin, Melissa recommends first trying it neat—no ice—and to take at least two sips, as she says you can never judge a gin on your first sip because your palette has to get accumulated first. Then, try mixing it into a cocktail. Cheers!
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