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Bols Genever, an attempt at bridging the malt whisky and vodka gap

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Bols Genever


Today we'll be returning to the ancient come hip new cocktail spirit, genever. You may remember my review of Boomsma Oude Genever in which the pungent aroma of the pour was not at all indicative of the final sip's burst of wonderful malt flavor. Spoiler alert: this particular article will result in no such manner.


To begin with, Bols has the unfortunate perception of being a low-quality well drink flavoring here in the states. And although this brand is truly one of the first ever quality made malt spirits, and this recipe is definitely a malt base, this is not the spirit that the elders of Holland were imbibing. The aroma is very subdued, boring even, moving into cheap vodka territory even. I'm nearly certain the low-key quality of the waft is intended to draw comparisons to the vodka market. Definitely some faint but lovely barley malt notes, but entirely too difficult to detect.

The flavor lends to no further surprises either. A bit of honey, clove, and honeysuckle hit for a nanosecond, and then it fades into a malty, watery, puddle of liquid on the tongue, finishing again with nearly no detectable flavors at all just as the redolence had denoted. Now, if you are getting the perception though that I dislike this spirit, that's not entirely true. It does make some brilliant cocktails. I would even go further and say that I prefer it in a few gin cocktails. It is well-suited for that application alone, again most likely intentionally. You can pick up a 750 ML bottle at your local Spec's for slightly over 30 dollars.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Suggested Tasting Method: Tom Collins, Negroni, or Martinez