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The Most Underrated Gins To Drink This Summer: Blind Tasted And Ranked

When it comes to summery spirits, gin is definitely in. The base for iconic cocktails like the gin gimlet, gin & tonic, and negroni, gin is a must-have for warm-weather mixology. This clear spirit gets its unique flavor from the infusion of juniper berries and various other herbs and botanicals. It’s fresh, clean, and adds a refreshing, flavorful base to your favorite summertime drinks.

As with most spirits, the gin marketplace is dominated by a few seemingly ancient, mass-produced household names — like Tanqueray, Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, and a few others. But also just as with other spirits, there are myriad lesser-known, well-made gins on the market just waiting to be discovered.

To help you on your sunny day gin journey, we picked eight of our favorite underrated, undervalued gins and blindly nosed, tasted, and ranked them for you. We picked some from the US and others from around the globe to get a nice grasp on what the gin world has to offer. Keep reading to see them all and learn how they stacked up.

Today’s Lineup:

  • Gray Whale Gin
  • Esme Gin
  • Ginarte Dry Gin
  • Tuck Gin
  • Ki No Bi Gin
  • Gin Di Fiori
  • Seersucker Southern Style Gin
  • Akori Gin

Part 1: The Taste

Taste 1

Taste 1 Gin
Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

The nose is heavy on juniper and lemon peel. It’s definitely an inviting fragrant start. The palate continues this trend with a healthy dose of juniper tempered by grapefruit, lemon, slight spice, and earthy herbal notes. Overall, a decent gin, but is a little juniper-heavy for some drinkers.

Taste 2

Taste 2 Gin
Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

Resinous pine needles, lemon zest, mint, and juniper are prevalent on the nose. On the palate, I found notes of pine, juniper berries, lime zest, lemon, and just a hint of spice. The finish was warming, sweet, and piney. All in all, a very complex, flavorful gin perfect for fans of pine.

Taste 3

Taste 3 Gin
Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

A lot going on with this gin’s nose. It’s filled with tropical fruit aromas as well as citrus, pine, juniper, and an herbal, almost tea aroma. The palate continues this trend with more orange peel, lemon, lime, grapefruit, mint, pine, and a nice kick of juniper and slightly peppery spice at the very end. This is a surprisingly bold, complex gin that begs to be mixed with.

Taste 4

Taste 4 Gin
Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

Menthol, lemon, and lime, and not much else on the nose. The palate is all juniper and mint with some hints of citrus. It’s not a horrible gin, but a little one-dimensional for my liking. If you enjoy herbal gins, this will appeal to you. It just needs a little more oomph.

Taste 5

Taste 5 Gin
Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

Right away, I was struck by the floral aromas paired well with bright juniper, slight pine, and citrus. Sipping it only heightened the experience with more earthy juniper, pine needles, citrus zest, and a slightly fruity, sweet finish. Overall, this is a very unique, well-rounded gin.

Taste 6

Taste 6 Gin
Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

Complex aromas of juniper, cucumber, rose, and citrus dominate the nose. The palate follows suit with more juniper, orange peel, citrus zest, slight fruitiness, and cucumber freshness throughout. All in all, a flavorful, balanced, fresh-tasting gin.

Taste 7

Taste 7 Gin
Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

This gin has a hard-to-place herbal aroma that’s reminiscent of rosemary or dill along with lemon zest and the expected juniper. Sadly, the flavor isn’t as bold as the nose. There’s juniper, citrus, cinnamon, and an herbal backbone, but I expected much more from the fragrant start to this tasting. A decent gin, but a bit of a disappointment when you compare the nose and palate.

Taste 8

Taste 8 Gin
Christopher Osburn

Tasting Notes:

This gin is surprisingly sweet on the nose with aromas of ginger and some fruity notes. Not much juniper or assumed gin scents. The flavor follows suit with surprising sweetness along with orange zest, floral notes, and some spice. All in all, not a terrible spirit, it just wasn’t enough like the gins I’m used to.

Part 2: The Rankings

8) Seersucker Southern Style Gin (Taste 4)

Seersucker Southern Style Gin
Seersucker

ABV: 42%

Average Price: $25

The Gin:

While there’s no definition of what a “southern style” gin is, Seersucker’s original gin is made from 100% American corn and was crafted to be used as a base for a summery, fresh cocktail. Flavored with juniper, coriander, lemon, mint, honey, and other herbs and botanicals, as a bonus, the distillery is family-owned and operated.

Bottom Line:

Herbal, juniper and slight citrus are the prevailing flavors in this gin. They’re fine, but this gin would be a lot better if there were more noticeable flavors. It’s a bit of a one-trick pony.

7) Akori Gin (Taste 8)

Akori Gin
Akori

ABV: 42%

Average Price: $27.99

The Gin:

If you didn’t know better, you’d assume that Akori Gin is a Japanese product. In fact, it’s simply a Japanese-inspired gin that’s produced outside of Barcelona, Spain by Amadeo Campeny. It’s so named because it’s a rice-based gin flavor with juniper and Asian botanicals like ginger, kumquat, and dragon fruit.

Bottom Line:

If you prefer your gin to be sweeter due to it being a rice-based spirit that’s flavored with more fruit than usual gins, this is your jam. Otherwise, You probably won’t like it.

6) TUCK Gin (Taste 1)

TUCK Gin
TUCK Gin

ABV: 47%

Average Price: $39.99

The Gin:

This award-winning gin from Connecticut began with experimentation in a basement. What emerged was a flavorful gin infused with two types of juniper berries, grapefruit peel, jasmine flowers, and various other herbs and botanicals.

Bottom Line:

TUCK Gin is definitely a spirit for juniper heads, the type of gin fans who prefer the more juniper the better. If you crave a more well-rounded gin, take a walk down the gin aisle and find something else.

5) Gin Di Fiori (Taste 7)

Gin Di Fiori
Gin Di Fiori

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $21.99

The Gin:

This gin is like Italy in a bottle. It gets its flavor from the addition of Tuscan juniper berries, lemons from the southern Italian coast, rose petals, cinnamon, rosemary, and various botanicals found throughout the Italian countryside.

Bottom Line:

Gin Di Fori is definitely a unique gin. It’s loaded with locally sourced ingredients and has a nice juniper and citrus base, but it’s not as flavorful as it could be. It would still make a great base for a negroni.

4) Esme Gin (Taste 6)

Esme Gin
Esme Gin

ABV: 40%

Average Price: $22.99

The Gin:

This French gin is known for its simple, elegant flavor profile. It starts with a neutral grain spirit made from French wheat. This results in a soft spirit that’s only heightened with the infusion of juniper citrus peel, orange blossom, cucumber, rose petals, and other herbs and botanicals.

Bottom Line:

Esme Gin is smart. With a very similar flavor profile to the wildly popular Hendrick’s Gin, this balanced gin gets a ton of flavor from juniper and citrus as well as cucumber and rose petals.

3) Ginarte Dry Gin (Taste 5)

Ginarte Dry Gin
Ginarte Dry Gin

ABV: 43.5%

Average Price: $37.99

The Gin:

Another gin proving the Italians know how to make flavorful gins, Ginarte starts as pure wheat alcohol that’s infused with juniper berries and various unique herbs and botanicals including calamint, safflower, mignonette, rubia, and indigo.

Bottom Line:

Sometimes simple is better, but if you’re on board for a bold, flavorful gin with so many ingredients it might take a few samplings to find them all, Ginarte is for you.

2) Gray Whale Gin (Taste 2)

Gray Whale Gin
Gray Whale Gin

ABV: 43%

Average Price: $34.99

The Gin:

This award-winning gin was created to pay tribute to the 12,000-mile migratory journey of the gray whale along the California coastline. It features various herbs and botanicals found along the way, including juniper, lime, fir tree needles, mint, almonds, and even sea kelp.

Bottom Line:

This is definitely a pine and juniper-driven gin. But, even with those bold flavors, there are enough other ingredients to temper them and give this gin a well-rounded flavor profile.

1) Ki No Bi Gin (Taste 3)

Ki No Bi Gin
Kyoto Distillery

ABV: 45.7%

Average Price: $76.99

The Gin:

No, this gin has nothing to do with Jedis. The name is Japanese for “the beauty of the seasons”. This “Kyoto Dry Gin” is flavored with many traditional Japanese ingredients, including yellow yuzu, hinoki wood chips, bamboo, gyokuro tea, and even Japanese peppercorns.

Bottom Line:

Ki No Bi Gin is a really unique gin and that’s not a bad thing. While it has the gin staple flavors like juniper and pine, it also has a nice kick of citrus and tropical fruit that makes it memorable.

Part 3: Final Thoughts

It’s clear based on this blind taste test that complexity is key when it comes to gin. Gins that relied on one-dimensional juniper-heavy recipes without anything to temper them didn’t fare as well as those with complex flavor profiles. It’s also clear that I’m drawn to exotic flavors.

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