Death’s Door Gin Reviewed by Honest Tom
From the off, let the record show, this gin has massively pissed me off. I tried Devil’s Door for the first time whilst on a boozy night out. Tanked up me proclaimed that it was an abomination against gin and that it was one of the nastiest things that I had put my taste buds through. Whilst deep in my shame-well the following morning, the question of whether Death’s Door Gin was any good kept rattling around my head. It was reminiscent of my confusion upon first watching David Lynch’s Eraserhead. Eraserhead is possibly the single weirdest feature film in existence. To put it in perspective, I could only remember the opening ten minutes in which a man vomits up a giant sperm. In order to come up with a comprehensive analogy on the matter I took to Wikipedia in order to brush up on the plot and was actually was more confused about Eraserhead than when I started. The take away point from all of this is that, in the following 6 months after my initial watch, I genuinely lost sleep trying to work out whether the film was actually any good or not. Well this is exactly what I have been doing with Death’s Door Gin. The most irksome of points is that I still have no real idea what the fuck to think.
I will start with the basics. Death’s Door Gin is American – bad start.
I will start with the basics. Death’s Door Gin is American – bad start. No.209 is poor and Aviation was hideous, so previous experience has taught me to steer clear of “Freedom spirits”. As far as I can tell, Death’s Door consists of a mere 3 botanicals: juniper (because it is a fucking gin), coriander (because it is a fucking gin), and fennel seeds. The base is made from a mix of barley and malted barley. Now here’s the issue, why not add some more botanicals? Death’s Door has great flavour intensity with a smashing 47% abv. The issue manifests itself in the absolute lack of complexity.
Gin requires numerous botanicals to give it aroma, body and sustain. There is some bold spice from the juniper but this is quickly lost to the bite of liquorice that comes from the fennel seeds. Now don’t get me wrong, the flavour is not bad, but there is nothing in between or after. The coriander does little in the mix. There is no floral sweetness, black pepper body or zingy citrus perfume. Would it really have been too much to ask to put a bit of lemon peel and a couple of lavender petals into the mix? Death’s Door has started off so well, it instantly captures me but then bores me to tears 2 seconds later. The best simile I could construct is that it would be like watching a “bluey” in which the money shot happened after 10 seconds and you then had to sit through preceding 20 minutes which you would normally fast forward, wherein dull-eyed nymphomaniacs joylessly go at it.
Death’s door is not without merit, if you were making cured meats, then I can think of no better to use, but at its core, it is more of a grown up Sambuca. It would go beautifully with some coffee beans but it just isn’t what I want or expect from gin. The gin has a beautiful mouthfeel which is full bodied and creamy thanks to the base spirit, but when I am praising the base spirit I know that I am scraping the barrel in terms of reviewing gin.
Tommy Steggs’ top tip is that if you like an aniseed led gin then try Lidl’s Hempstead or Spreewald Berlin Dry Gin. These hit the spot and have intense complexity. Death’s Door is Backdoor Sluts 9 on DVD: not unrewarding, but you have to question how they got so far into it without telling them to stop.
You can buy Death’s Door Gin at The Whisky Exchange, DrinkSupermarket.com or on Amazon.