Spirits leap in from Hornby Island
By Jurgen Gothe
Phrog Gin. The finish is silky and sexy; a tiny splash of spring water does work—mellows it even more, not that it isn’t mellow already. Phrog Gin is one of the loveliest new gins to arrive in the decade since all those high-end gins have really come into their own.
Then, the Phrog Premium Vodka: bracing and sharp, velvety (but not oily, there’s a big difference), sweet-edged (just try it over premium vanilla ice cream!); a fabulous new premium vodka that easily keeps pace with any and all others in the $50-plus category.
The graphics are clean and elegant, just like the clear spirit inside the tall, architectural bottles. The taste is intense and rich. The Phrogs are here; time to introduce them to your palate.
What's in it? Fourteen berries,roots,seeds and spices.
Tasting notes: Silky smooth with lightly distributed botanicals giving the Gin a lovely aromatic character.
Tidings - July- August issue
by joanne will
Before teaming up seven years ago, Kimmerly and partner Dr. Naz Abdurahman, a professor of Organic Chemistry, were hobby distilling for decades. “Dr. Naz did it in the interest of science, and I did it in the interest of having something good to drink!” laughs Kimmerly, and adds that Dr. Naz helped him focus on the laboratory aspect of distilling. They produce two superior spirits — Phrog Vodka and Phrog Gin.
In the case of Phrog Gin, something about the unique blend of 15 botanicals, including fresh juniper berries, sets it apart. “It took us three years and about 40 different versions before settling on this. We raised each botanical until it was prevalent within the allowable load, then dropped it down.”
A peek in Kimmerly’s ‘recipe book’ for infused spirits, and his cupboards full of every imaginable ingredient (like saffron, syrup of hibiscus flower, rooibos blueberry tea), and you’re into the test kitchen aspect of the distillery. His Black Jelly Bean Sichuan vodka was top for me (infused with star anise and Sichuan pepper), and Aquavit (with anise, fennel and cumin) was a close second. “There’s no limit — only your imagination, to what you can create,” says Kimmerly.
“We must do everything in small batches to keep this quality. We can’t compete with the conglomerates in terms of volume, but we can in terms of quality”
North Shore News
Tim Pawsey, Special edition.
The idea behind Phrog (the name salutes the local spring pond chorus), is to develop premium sipping spirits. That is: make tipples of character and quality that will appeal to drinkers of, say, single malt.
Our own first sip, of sleekly packaged Phrog Premium Vodka, yields an unexpectedly silky smooth drop, with none of the harshness that can typify big brand liquors. It's not too likely you'll be mixing this with your Caesar.
More to the point, say Phrog's founders, is that the ultra pure spirits are better for you. And while we haven't sipped sufficiently to confirm the fact, they suggest that moderate consumption will not result in the common hangover -- a significant selling point if ever there was one.
The gin (a recipe four years in development, made of 14 different herbs and berries) is a hands-down winner. It may have definite juniper on the nose but its beguiling and complex palate reveals hints of cardamom, fennel and cumin, along with a host of other herbs and berries that go into the blend. If you let it sit long enough in the glass (we'd suggest a snifter) the components evolve considerably. And here again, there's not even a hint of harshness.
Island Spirits on Hornby Island
So, you can sip Phrog Gin and Phrog Vodkas at room temperature, neat, or perhaps with a bit of pure water to them. The Phrog Name comes from the multitudes of singing frogs on the Hornby property, changed to ph at the beginning to reflect the scientific nature of the product, pH being the measure used to describe how acidic a compound is.
Science aside, the proof is in the tasting. I sat at the comfortable tasting counter, wondered at the complex curves of the still, marvelled at the number of aromatic botanicals added into the Phrog gin such as juniper, coriander, cinnamon and eleven more, and then sipped, and relaxed. Smooth is the first word that comes to mind, especially with the vodka. The gin changes with every sip, more of the aromatics being released as you swirl it in your mouth and expose it to air.
Island Spirits has also gone a fun step further with the creation of its Black Jelly Bean Szechuan, a liquor that tastes just as it sounds….dark liquorice flavour with a jolt of spice as it clears your palate on its way to your belly.
Toasting success of new distillery
Premium gin and vodka from Hornby Island goes on sale in B.C.
By Philip Round
Forget the traditional martini mix - a new gin distilled on Hornby Island is so pure it’s best served either neat or with just a splash of spring water.
In fact, the company making it hopes people will abandon the idea of cocktails and instead savour their spirit in the same way they might enjoy a single malt whisky.
The gin’s distinctive flavour comes from the careful mix of botanicals infused in the spirit.
There are basically 14 berries, seeds, roots and spices in the secret mix, including juniper berries that are traditional to all gins.
The others used in the Phrog brand are coriander, cardamom, caraway, fennel and cumin seeds, licorice root, cinnamon, cloves, angelica root, lemongrass, star anise, and the zest from the peel of both lemons and limes.
"Being introduced to Island Spirits Distillery and their Phrog Vodka and Phrog Gin - painstakingly crafted on a still of their own creation (20 years in the making!) on Hornby Island. Their goal - purity - so much so that their ultra premium spirits are said to cause no hangovers or trigger allergens. Part science, part art, part skill and part patience. Great labels and name.