Bols' relaunch of its traditional Genever recipe in 2008 has been one of the more successful liquor campaigns in recent years, capturing the imagination of both drinkers and bartenders, and doing more to introduce Americans to "Dutch gin" than any other brand. Now, the huge Dutch liquor outfit is coming out with a barrel-aged version, geared specifically toward the American market. Barrel-aging genever is not a new idea; it's common practice with Korenwijn, an expression of genever that contains more malt wine. But, says Bols, the new product has a higher alcohol content and a different mash recipe than do Korenwijns.
Here's my article from the Times:
Aged Genever: A Dutch Spirit With an American TouchBy ROBERT SIMONSON
Dutch genever is taking a tip from American Bourbon.
In September, Lucas Bols will introduce a barrel-aged specimen of the Dutch liquor known as genever, the company’s signature rendition.
The elixir is derived from a rye, wheat and corn distillate triple distilled in copper pot stills, which is then blended with a potpourri of botanicals including cloves, anise, licorice and juniper. From there, it’s aged in a mix of old and new French barrels for 18 months.
“In our archives we have found some recipes from the 19th century,” said Bols’s distiller Piet van Leijenhorst. “One of the recipes we have used for our Bols Genever already in the U.S. and another of these proved to be perfect for Bols barrel-aged genever.”
The barrel-aged genever will initially be available only in the United States, for $50, and Bols is being blunt in its appeal to American tastes, comparing the barrel-aged genever to bourbon and encouraging drinkers to enjoy it in the context of classic whiskey cocktails like the Old Fashioned. This is not altogether marketing spin. Many bartenders and cocktail experts have long contended that genever—a malty, sweetish, full-bodied beverage—has more in common with whiskey as it does with it lighter, London-based stepchild, gin.
“I think it’s great,” said Jim Meehan, who runs the East Village cocktail bar PDT, and who has tasted the new genever. “It’s another weapon in the arsenal. It has a very corny flavor. It would be good for someone who likes young bourbon or whiskies.”
Aging genever is not an altogether alien notion. Korenwijn, an expression of the liquor of more recent vintage which contains a higher percentage of malt wine, is traditionally aged in cask.