Review of Elg Oak Gin
Peter Lyngberg was the lucky winner of an Oak Gin from Elg Spirits. What we did not know was that Peter would give his honest opinion along the way.
We have been allowed by Peter to reproduce his assessment of Elg's Oak Gin here:
I have won the bottle, but the intention is my own
When these lines are read, there are no or at best only quite a few bottles of Elk Oak Gin left from the first batch of only 496 bottles - but maybe you are already one of the lucky owners and otherwise we have to cross our fingers for a batch 2 to come , it deserves both it and you namely.
Gin is good, and has deservedly become increasingly popular in recent years, but cask-aged gin can do just a little more than the pure classic product - if you have not tried it, then you have definitely something to look forward to.
I myself first spotted (and taste for) aged gin relatively recently, and the collection therefore only counts three pieces, but more are certainly on the way.
Elk Oak Gin differs from the other cask-aged gin I have tasted in a number of areas - partly it holds (almost) navy strength (56.7%) and then it is aged for a full 18 months on an Oloroso sherry cask, which is up to twice what one normally encounters.
The raw gin itself is of course Elg's own navygin (Elk No 3), which as always is distilled on the three ingredients; juniper (of course), coriander and carrots, the latter is, to my knowledge, quite unique and definitely adds some glorious sweetness to the taste.
Usually it does not make much sense to look at the color of a gin, as they are usually crystal clear, the exceptions are if they are either infused or barrel aged.
Elk Oak Gin has no added color other than the one the dish has added, it appears beautiful light amber, almost whiskey-like and definitely deserves to be poured into your nicest glass - it also adds a little extra to the experience.
Feel free to take the time to look at it a little in the glass before you move on.
Before you throw yourself into the taste, also give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the scent, feel free to spend a minute or more, and feel free to change your nostrils, because you experience (probably) scents differently with resp. right and left side.
The scent impressions you sense will always be subjective, but I sense notes of fresh mild herbs, coriander, freshly grated carrot, a little mint and a bit of vanilla - but there is also a lot of alcohol present, which of course is due to the nice high percentage.
The taste is well balanced and the navy strength suits it incredibly nicely, it is strong, but not too strong at all. The carrot comes through nicely and gives a pleasant sweetness and the long aftertaste gives me a lot of white pepper and maybe horseradish, despite the long time on the dish, the dish taste is not dominant.
Elk Oak Gin deserves to be enjoyed clean, you can easily give it a few ice cubes if you prefer a slightly milder flavor profile, but I personally prefer it without. A slice of lime or lemon (always remember organic) can also be easily added, it of course adds a little freshness and acidity.
Another option is to put Elg Oak Gin on the lunch table as a replacement (or supplement) to the classic schnapps, it is excellent for the good Danish open sandwich kitchen.
Do not do that at all drinks on his Elk Oak Gin?
Yes, of course you have to - my rule of thumb says that if you use high quality spirits in your drinks, and otherwise think a little about when you mix, then you also get high quality drinks, so simple it is
I belong to those who always just taste my liquor clean, even if it's for cocktails, it's a matter of taste if you are into it, but if you get the chance you simply must not cheat yourself to taste Elk Oak Gin in it pure edition.
Text: Peter Lyngberg
Photo: Thomas Heie Nielsen