Vastly different from the juniper-heavy gins of the past, No. 209 opens with a beautifully aromatic nose of predominately citrus and floral notes with a hint of spiciness. First across the palate are the citrus high notes, with lemon followed by a hint of orange. As the spirit warms in the mouth, delicate floral notes are liberated from the bergamot and coriander. Mid-palate, there is a pepper-like warmth from the emerging cardamom and juniper. As the cardamom continues to bloom across the palate mint-like components further emerge. The cassia and other warm spice notes become prominent on the finish. The cassia in particular lingers, encouraging another sip.
About the Distillery:
The No. 209 story begins in New York in 1870, when William Scheffler purchased the patent for California rights to a new design of a pot still. He journeyed west and eventually became a distiller at Krug in St. Helena, Napa Valley. In 1880, Scheffler bought Edge Hill Estate in St. Helena, at the time one of the most impressive wineries in the Napa Valley. A distiller at heart, in 1882 Scheffler added a stone and brick distillery to the winemaking facilities at Edge Hill. He registered the distillery with the Federal Government and was given distillery license number 209 which he proudly painted above the front door of his new distillery building. His distilled spirits were very high quality and won numerous awards, including a medal at the Universal Exposition of 1889 in Paris, France. The long lost medal came up for auction just as we were opening the distillery and is on display at the original distillery building in St Helena.In 1999 Leslie Rudd became the new steward of the Edge Hill property. One day while he was surveying the property, he noticed the faintly visible words “Registered Distillery No. 209” painted above the iron doors of what was being used as a hay barn. Unearthing the rest of the story was the point of inspiration for No. 209 Gin and the historical restoration of Edge Hill. The restoration of the original Distillery No. 209 received preservationist awards from both Napa County and the State of California. However, the size and location of the original distillery building were not conducive to our plans for the revival of Distillery No. 209. Therefore, we built a new distillery on Pier 50 in San Francisco – coincidentally, the birthplace of the gin martini. True to our initial goals, we have taken the best of traditional Old World distilling techniques and married them with a passion for excellence, innovative thinking, and a willingness to take risks to create No. 209 Gin, a drink for the connoisseur in all of us - after all, even a flawed person can aspire to greatness.
The distillation process uses a pot still to extract flavors and alcohol in vapor form which is then captured and condensed into gin. It is both an art and a science, but most experts agree that the finest gin is produced using single-shot distillation in a copper alembic pot still. Each distillation takes nearly 11 hours, not including the overnight maceration process.No. 209 Gin’s base spirit is four-times column-distilled from Midwestern corn and has a smooth, almost sweet finish. The water used is pure snowmelt from the Sierra-Nevada Mountains. After letting our botanicals macerate slowly in our Forsythe’s copper alembic still overnight – gently coaxing out the natural flavors so our gin always taste bright, never bitter, we distill the product a fifth time. Then we discard the heads (beginning) and tails (end) of the distillation. Only the heart (middle) of the distillation is pure enough to be bottled as No. 209 Gin.
After traveling across the globe to research best practices in the distilling of gin, we based the design of our 1000-gallon copper alembic pot still on the renowned Scottish Glenmorangie whisky stills. And we selected Forsyth’s, the best still manufacturer in the world, to create (including hand-hammering the copper pot to our specifications) our still. At nearly 25 feet tall, the still’s distinctively long swan’s neck imparts No. 209’s very modern flavor profile.
Juniper, which by law is required to be the dominant flavor in any gin, is only one of dozens of different spices, roots, herbs and berries that can be used to flavor gin. Each combination creates a unique flavor. In addition to juniper, the recipe for No. 209 Gin includes somewhere between eight and eleven different botanicals – vague, yes, secretive, absolutely – our Master Distiller can be a conspiracy theorist at times. The delicious complexity of No. 209’s citrus spice flavor profile is primarily a result of bergamot orange, lemon peel, cardamom pods, cassia bark, angelica root and coriander seeds. We purchase our botanicals from the best producers around the globe. Although our suppliers span four continents, whenever possible, we attempt to source locally.