Leave it to the creative types at Watershed Distillery to not just wonder what gin aged in bourbon barrels would be like, but to bottle and sell the result. Bourbon Barrel Gin from Watershed should hit liquor store shelves in early September, but we’re all invited to a party at the distillery first to get a look at the new spirit.
What does a barrel-aged gin taste like? Watershed co-founder Greg Lehman (that's him at the distillery in a 2011 Alive photograph) says it has characteristics of both Watershed’s Four Peel Gin, which is fragrant with aromatics and citrus, and the vanilla, caramel, wood and smoke flavors of bourbon. So will it take the place of gin in your Negroni or bourbon in your Manhattan?
“We’re not sure which direction it’ll go. I think people should try it in their favorite gin cocktails and their favorite bourbon cocktails and see what they like,” Watershed co-founder Greg Lehman said. “We’re waiting to see what bartenders around Columbus and Ohio will do, too. It has nice elements of both spirits. I don’t know which one will prove to be more dominant.”
Watershed is working on its own bourbon and hopes to use its own spent barrels for this gin. For this first batch, though, the distillery bought barrels from a handful of Kentucky distilleries, then aged Watershed Four Peel Gin nine to 12 months before bottling it.
“You can really pick up some of the bourbon notes, the vanilla, the oak, from the gin. And there’s a smokier note from the char. They all play together nicely,” Lehman said.
Back to that party for a moment: The public is invited over to the distillery, 1145 Chesapeake Ave., Grandview, at 11 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31, for an open house. At midnight, the limited-edition gin will be revealed at last and will be available for tasting and purchase. The Cheesy Truck will be there, too.
750ml bottles of Bourbon Barrel Gin will retail for $39.95. Columbus and Cleveland area restaurants and liquor stores will stock it.