As one of the oldest distilleries still in existence today, a mix of heritage and progressive attitude has combined into a potent mix in this bottling. Re-released in 2008, Bols Genever is an essential addition to any gin shelf, especially if you are seeking to make authentic historic cocktails. It provides a unique opportunity to taste the maltier style of gin’s original form – Genever – using a Lucas Bols’ original recipe dating back to 1820.
To write anything about Bols Genever however, is to attempt to tackle the history behind the origins of gin as a whole, as well as the legacy of not only the oldest distillery brands in the world, but one of the oldest Dutch companies still active today. We’ve included an abridged history below for those looking for more insight into the brand as well as the gin, but for those wanting to know more about Genever – have a look in the features section for more insight.
At 42% ABV, Bols Genever is triple distilled using over 50% maltwine (made from triple-distilled rye, corn and wheat) and neutral grain spirits. The use of a maltwine base is what sets genever spirits apart from London Dry styles generally, as the more aromatic base spirit provides more malty and sugary notes. Without sidetracking too much into the history of Genever (also known as Jenever), the original Bols Genever recipe of 1664 would bare more resemblance to Cornwine, most likely containing an over 70% maltwine base and maybe even matured for a few years in oak casks.
The balanced approach of maltwine, grain spirit and carefully chosen botanicals used in the creation of today’s Bols Genever, however, is in keeping with the revolutionary Lucas Bols recipe from the 1820’s. The result is a spirit that combines the maltwine base sweetness with the smooth qualities that neutral grain spirit distillation brings.
The original release of Bols Genever became a hit in the US in the late 1800’s (with the growing cocktail movement that was rising there) and was the base to many classic concoctions of that era. The 21st century version proved to do the exact same, mirroring history and has become the most prominent Genever internationally in the 8 or so years since it’s relaunch.
On the nose Bols Genever has strong grain and malt tones, complemented by sweet subdued juniper, honeysuckle and citrus notes. Rich and smooth on the palate, the liquid is a vibrant, younger type of genever, complex and full of depth. The 50-50(ish)-production process makes it lighter in body and more versatile than an Oude Genevers and it is easy to see how it could be used in classic cocktails like a Martinez.
The bottle is reminiscent of the traditional cylindrical clay jug shapes of previous genever incarnations too, with a short history on the rear label. In itself the bottle is the perfect summary for what Lucas Bols has tried to do here – re-release an old classic but modernise it so that it is accessible and versatile enough to meet modern tastes and industry demands.ginfoundry.com