Good evening. Thanks for joining me for part one of a new 5 part series in which I report on the spirits I brought back from Amsterdam and Berlin. The first edition focuses on a brand of jenever that is local to the very heart of Amsterdam, Wynand Fockink, and this particular variety is known as Rogge, or ‘rye’ – though it is flavoured with juniper and has been distilled from both rye and barley. You can read a bit more about it in the earlier post that I linked to a couple of lines further up, there. This post is for the evaluation; I don’t want to get all bogged down with facts, so I’m not gonna.
This product was 18 euros 99 for 50cl, and it clocks up 38 ABVs. It comes in a nice shaped bottle – the Bruichladdich style that I’m so fond of, but the label looks like it might have been produced by a teenager on a bedroom printer. It is sealed with a small cork stopper.
In the glass, there is no denying it has a tinge of urine, in terms of colour. I’m not sure what it is that makes the appearance of some spirits better than others, but not looking like urine, you would think would figure quite highly.
I thought it was a little uninteresting on the nose at first, but it really opened up to be luxurious and fragrant after the bottle had been open a few days. It might have helped also that I chose to drink from a brandy glass that second time instead of from the glencairn.
In terms of flavour, it’s a bit tart but I’m also detecting vanilla – no doubt from the short ageing process - and buttery crumpets.
Given that jenever was the spirit that gave us gin, I have to say it is surprising that there isn’t much of a gin-like element in this bottle. It was described to me as ‘more like bourbon’ at the original tasting and, while I don’t think that is particularly accurate either, it does suggest that the distiller is clearly trying a few different things out, and not limiting itself to more traditional styles.
All in all, I never really got to enjoying this all that much. I’d say it was more pleasant than its descendant, gin, but this variety had a not entirely pleasant bite, that in whisky I would put down to youthfulness. In jenever that might be a good thing, and it isn’t really fair to judge spirits from other cultures against ones of our own (despite having done so before), but in the end I can only represent my own opinions and on this one… it’s worth a try. Would I buy this brand and variety again? Probably not. But if I were in Belgium or Holland, then would I buy another bottle of jenever? Absolutely. It’s another genre of the spirit world to explore… and it’s not entirely unpleasant.