I had the pleasure of first tasting Greylock Gin, during the summer of 2009 at a visit to PDT in New York’s East Village. The first time I tasted it, I knew I was tasting something truly unique in the gin category.
After speaking with Chris Weld, the master distiller and owner of Berkshire Mountain Distilleries( otherwise known as BMD) he gave me the short but quaint story of how Berkshire Mountain Distillery came to be. The origins of which can be traced back to a nearly completed 8th grade project in which young Chris was attempting to build a working model of a still. Something he would have accomplished, had his mom not stopped him after finding out it was a bit of a federal offense.
Years later Chris went on to become a emergency room physician’s assistant and migrated from New England to the West Coast, a place he called home with his wife up until several years ago when the Weld family decided to move back to New England. During the search for a new home, they came across an old, slightly neglected apple farm that housed about 400-500 apple trees. After restoring the farm back to its original glory, the Welds had the idea of opening a distillery. Initially Chris had planned to create an apple brandy, until the realization that one cannot survive on apple brandy alone. This brings us to the year 2007 when Berkshire Mountain Distilleries came to be. With some assistance from fellow distillers who advised Chris, he began distilling Ragged Mountain Rum, Ice Glen Vodka and Berkshire’s first gin, Greylock, which was followed roughly a year later with Ethereal Release One.
During our conversation, Chris mentioned that Berkshire will be releasing both a corn whiskey and a bourbon later this year. For now we’ll be taking a look at both of Berkshire’s Gin offerings.
With Greylock Chris had a gin meant to be sipped on its own or to be used in classic cocktails such as a Gin and Tonic, Martini or Gimlet A year or so later, came Ethereal, a limited edition bottling whose botanicals change slightly with each new bottling and is targeted directly at the mixology community.
As with all of Berkshire Distilleries Spirits, both Greylock and Ethereal start off with natural spring water located on the same land as the distillery itself and is fed from a nearby mountain range.
This natural spring water along with botanicals including juniper, coriander, angelica, orris, cinnamon, orange peel and licorice give life to Greylock Gin a gin that upon that first introductory sip, greets you with notes of citrus teasing the forefront of your palate before leading the way into hints of vanilla, butterscotch(yep you heard that right), the occasional hint of orange, coriander and black pepper. Greylock finishes with hints of spice before leaving a final soft citrus sensation on your palate.
Taking the botanicals used in Greylock, Chris adds lemon, cubeb root, pepper, spearmint, nutmeg, rose hips and elderberry to produce the limited release Ethereal. A recipe that changes with each release, during our conversation Chris mentioned the third release of Ethereal will feature grapefruit.
The combination of these new botanicals to Greylock’s formula leads to a gin that opens with nutmeg, very forward notes of orange, fresh grass, and crÃ¨me de menthe. Light touches of lavender and nuances of sweet rye and harvest spice make an appearance before the spirit finishes with touches of floral, additional subtle characters of crÃ¨me de menthe and a final caresses of your palate by smooth hints of vanilla.
A Short Journey
1 Â¾ oz Greylock Gin
Bar Spoon Orange Marmalade
Â½ oz Vanilla Syrup
Â¾ oz Sombra Mezcal
2 Dashes West Indian Orange Bitters
A Short Journey. A combination of Greylock Gin, Sombra Mezcal, Orange Marmalade, Vanilla Syrup, and West Indian Orange Bitters.
The Gineva Convention
1 oz Greylock Gin
1 oz Bols Genever
Â¾ oz Maraschino
Â¾ oz Green Charteuse
Â¾ oz Cinnamon Syrup
2 Dashes West Indian Orange Bitters
The Gineva Convention. A combination of Greylock Gin, Bols Genever, Maraska Maraschino Liqueur,Green Chartreuse, Cinnamon Syrup, and West Indian Orange Bitters.
Breaking The Barrier
1 Â¾ oz Ethereal Gin
Bar spoon Vieux CarrÃ© Absinthe
Â½ oz CrÃ¨me Y’vette
Â½ oz Orange Juice
2 Dash Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters
Breaking the Barrier. A combination of Ethereal Gin, Vieux Carre Absinthe, Muddled Peppercorns, Creme Y'vette, Orange Juice and Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters.
Just Passing Through
1 Â½ oz Ethereal Gin
Â½ oz Lillet Rouge
Â½ oz Allspice
Â½ oz Demerara Syrup
2 Dash Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters
Just Passing Through. A combination of Ethereal Gin, Lillet Rouge, Allspice Dram, Demerara Syrup and The Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters.