by Treve Ring | In my line of work I get to
drink taste a boatload of wines, many good, most average, a lot of plonk, and a slight few, awesome…
STUMP Coastal Forest Gin | Fermentorium | Victoria, BC | $49.95
That’s right. I’m stumping for STUMP Gin. The most recent member of the small but potent artisan distilling community in BC, STUMP is produced at the Fermentorium, the new distilling arm of Victoria’s Phillips Brewery.
Well, new as in eight years in the making new. Matt Phillips hatched the distilling dream back in 2006 with the approval of a distilling license. But the mad success of the brewery (maybe you’ve heard of Blue Buck, Hop Circle IPA, Bottle Rocket ISA and a range of other colorfully monikered and labeled brews) delayed the distillery project until last year.
Wanting a truly BC gin from the start, Phillips and team sorted through a huge number of local botanicals, taste testing them through their paces and working to find the ones most interesting and complimentary to hone the final recipe.
One key piece is the base: barley. Not only is it the basis for the brewery, but plans have been sewn for island grown grains, and a malt plant is being constructed at the brewery. Circle, closed.
The packaging, as expected, is stellar. A trusted, weighty, apothecarian-formed bottle with STUMP GIN blocked on the lip and rim is topped with a cork stopper and tactile labels made of wood. The whole is tucked neatly in a tube illustrating the story of this small batch, hand-foraged, “natural, unique and precision-crafted gin.”
At first sniff, I thought ‘this smells like home’. Not that the Trevehouse is a secret moonshine operation neighbours, but my west coast home. Majestic grand fir. Earthy cascade hops. Fragrant lavender. Familiar gin-soused juniper is present, of course, spiced up with notes of white pepper, herbal bay laurel, fresh citrus, heady thyme.
The coastline. The rainforest. The palate glides smooth and finishes spicy, with pin-pricks of peppery fir and licks of mint and coriander.
It’s easy to lose yourself in, but equally as interesting to partner with four new tonics created by the cast and crew at Phillips as well. These all-natural artisan tonics are addictive to sip solo, lightly sweetened and delicately potent. But when mixed and matched with the layers of flavours in STUMP Gin, magic happens.
Choose your spell with Classic Dry (citrus kissed), Cucumber Mint (cool and true to form), Philosopher’s Brew (herbal and perfumed, in collaboration with Silk Road Tea) or Botanical Brew (floral, blossoms).
Another winning recipe from Phillips is another reason to be proud of our special home. Awesome, indeed.