Damnation Alley Gin
Damnation Alley Distillery
Last week, I told you about my visit to Damnation Alley, an ultra-small distillery in Belmont, MA. If you haven’t already, read that first here. This week, I will focus on their gin which is, of course, what brought me there in the first place.
Damnation Alley makes an attempt to use Massachusetts grown grains whenever possible. Unfortunately, their gin isn’t one of the sprits they are doing this with, at least not at the moment. They use barley as their base material and then distill it with a variety of botanicals. This base is really significant. When tasted neat, the barley gives it a finish reminiscent of graham crackers.
For such a small distillery, all of their spirits are big on flavor. Damnation Alley Gin is no exception. Despite a rather low ABV, it’s best in a 1:4 ratio with tonic. This is a result of the power flavor of the botanicals. With less tonic, it was a little over powering. In addition to juniper, the most noticeable tastes are grapefruit and cardamom. I’m actually not sure what blend they use. I have reached out twice, but haven’t heard back. If they follow up, I will add an update.
Damnation Alley Gin is made in very small batches. I have a bottle of batch “3e”, as best I can read it, and bottle #15 of that batch. The bottling date is also listed on the back label, but I really can’t read that. Though this is the only one I have tried, I expect that the flavor is not as consistent from batch to batch as it is in larger distilleries. The ABV varies with each batch, so at the very least that creates a distinction. In this bottle, it’s 44.1% which is on the low side for gin.
Overall, Damnation Alley makes good a gin. I hope that as some point they can expand their suppliers to gather their barley so that it can be sourced from Massachusetts. The strong flavor and low proof mean that I can enjoy a few G&Ts without drinking too much. It is an decent sipping gin with a really unique finish. The biggest challenge is that it is only available at the distillery, but that makes it special. If you have a bottle of this, you worked a little for it, and that alone is a reason to grab a bottle if you can. Recommended
Gin # 009
Proof varies, current batch – 88.2
G&T Ratio 1:4
Distillers notes: “Combining traditional and whimsical botanicals, we’ll give your tonic something to talk about”