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  1. #1
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    De Kuyper Genievre Geneva

    On his recent Chicago visit, Gary Gillman gifted me with a bottle of De Kuyper Genievre Geneva, a blended gin from Montreal. He knew I was recently doing gin research. Thanks, Gary.

    I don't know what the term "blended gin" means. One source I found said it is gin mixed with redistilled alcohol. I'm not sure that clears it up.

    This is much more in the Dutch gin tradition than any English gin, but based on my limited experience with Dutch gin, this seems like yet another thing altogether. It has that raw, green, white-dog flavor I associate with Dutch gin, as well as pomace brandy (e.g., grappa) and other spirits that are innocent of oak, but it also tastes kind of malty. It doesn't appear to be sweetened and while I do get juniper I don't get citrus, which is a signature note of most English gin.

    How is it normally consumed? neat? rocks? In the standard gin cocktails?

  2. #2
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    Re: De Kuyper Genievre Geneva

    Chuck, as discussed during Sampler just passed, I believe blended means that moutwijn is blended with a grain-derived but neutral spirit. Moutwijn is the original jenever. It is essentially a rye white dog (a rye-dominant distillate distilled at a low proof in which malted barley makes a telling appearance), flavored with juniper.

    I believe de Kuyper supplies a moutwijn-heavy version of its jenever for the Quebec market. Jenever (or genever) has been drunk for hundreds of years in Quebec and when it was first imported the product would have been all-moutwijn, so possibly de Kuyper is still catering to that historic taste there.

    In Quebec it is consumed on the rocks or neat and in winter, warm water and honey are added to make a ponche blanc (white punch). In Holland generally it is conumed neat but I have heard that some young genever (which has just a little moutwijn in it) is mixed often with Coke.

    It goes well with a beer too.

    Gary

  3. #3
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    Re: De Kuyper Genievre Geneva

    I Googled "moutwijn" and got some interesting hits, including the blog of Dr. Alex R. "Lax" Kraaijeveld. Scroll down to his entry for November 1, 2003, in which he describes an encounter with moutwijn and declares it "whiskey."

    This is something we get into from time to time, the threads of the more ancient and less well known European distilling traditions. It interests many of us because it supports the theory that the American whiskey tradition is derived from several European sources, not just Scotland and Ireland. I believe it is equally indebted to the moutwijn tradition of Holland, the brandy tradition of France, and possibly the Korn tradition of Germany.

  4. #4
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    Re: De Kuyper Genievre Geneva

    Interesting, thanks. My understanding is that genevers in which "moutwijn" makes a telling appearance are called "oude" (old), not necessarily because they are aged, but because they are in the old, or original, style (distilled to a low proof in pot stills, originally).

    The later styles used molasses or sugar beet as the base for the mash and were highly rectified. What differentiates these jenevers from, say, London gin in my view is their production method (a less complex and less intensively imparted mixture of "botanicals") and use in most cases of some moutwijn (be it ever so little) which gives the characteristic taste. Still, it must be said some modern genevers are quite neutral-tasting, using little if any juniper and little if any moutwijn - so there is a broad range out there.

    It remains true that some oude genever is aged in wood and this tends to approach more the modern whiskey model. It is sort of a cross between Scots practice using reused wood and American practice using corn and rye as the base and the end result often is like Canadian whisky, which is exactly that. Filliers, a Belgian brand of genever aged in wood which happens not to use juniper, tastes a lot like Canadian whisky in my view.

    Juniper was an alternative to barrel aging (alternative rectification agent) - yet some wood-aged genevers have a potent juniper taste - as always, people made what they wanted or liked and it is hard to classify these genevers (in the same way there is no one Belgian style of beer - the Belgian style is to be unrestrained stylistically).

    De Kuyper's regular genever as sold in Quebec (and Holland) is not aged in wood and represents the unaged side of the "whiskey" equation.

    I agree most people today would associate whiskey with an aging process but of course orginally whiskey could be unaged or little aged. Whether aged or not, the relationship to both Scots, Irish and U.S. whiskey seems clear. We have discussed earlier how a vodka still made in Poland, Starka, is a low-proof distillate (off the still) made mainly from rye and long aged in wood, so that is another kind of European whiskey.

    New artisanal makers of whiskey in Europe really are drawing on their own older traditions and are not copying as such American or Scots whisky.

    I agree that American practice seems an amalgam or to have been influenced by various European traditions. In New Amsterdam, genever in the late 1600's and 1700's would have been well-known. Rum may have overtaken some of that tradition but when rum declined in the Revolutionary era, it was natural for that city and the other big centres to "return" to a low-proof cereal distillate - the Pennsylvanian whiskey, which originally was not long aged, would have resembled that genever. This is why in my view New York always was a stronghold until the mid-1900's of rye whiskey, and the tradition slowly is returning there.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 05-01-2007 at 03:32.

  5. #5
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    Re: De Kuyper Genievre Geneva

    Just a footnote that sadly traditional Quebec genever - which is really transplanted Dutch genever - has almost disappeared. De Kuyper's brand, still made in Quebec under license I believe, is the last surviving one. Even 20 years ago there were about 10 different brands (Bols had one in that market - again made locally, there was one called Croix Rouge, and others). In Holland too the taste for traditional genever (as opposed to brands that are essentially like vodka) has declined greatly altough all the traditional types are still made there. The market for genever in Quebec was the old British stock population and the French-speaking part of the Province. In time, I think the former group switched to London gin as did many French Quebeckers, and so the market for the old heavy-flavoured "gros gin" started to wither. But geneva still remained a favourite in the Quebec countryside and parts of some cities until recently. Now, people drink everything under the sun in Quebec (wine, brandies, malt and other whiskies, beer, cider) and the Province has almost forgotten its earlier tradition of Dutch-style gin.

    Gary

  6. #6
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    Re: De Kuyper Genievre Geneva

    In case people are wondering why a Dutch drink would achieve popularity in French Quebec, the reasons are many and varied. First, Dutch gin became well-known in Britain early on through the influence of King William of Orange ("Dutch Billy"). When the British took Quebec in the late 1700's, Dutch-style gin and the Dutch original production would have come in with the maritime trade launched, or re-launched, under British auspices. There were many names for genever gin in Britain and areas influenced by Britain such as "Hollands" (origin evident) and "Old Square Face" (named after the distinctive square bottle shape, a shape chosen to facilitate distant shipment).

    So the mere availability of the drink in Quebec would have meant the "Canadiens" would take to it especially since importation of French drinks would have been affected by the Conquest.

    Second, the French themselves drank geneva gin in France, at least on the northern coasts of France and the drink was established early on in local maritime commerce. E.g. in what is now French Flanders, an area, then and now, of Flemish influence and culture, numerous genever distilleries were established in the later 1600's. Thus, areas not so far to the south, such as Normandy and Brittany, from which most French Canadians came or sailed to Canada, would have been markets for this drink as were the sailors who sailed those boats across the Atlantic and subsequently settled (many of them) in Old Quebec.

    So even in the French era in Canada, the drink may have had currency in what is now Quebec. Michael Jackson, in his 1987 World Guide to Whisky, states that geneva gin was brought early to Canada as ship's ballast, although I do not recall if Jackson stated under which regime this occurred.

    Then too, the link between Holland and France was (formerly) close in matters of drink. The Dutch supplied much of the early distilling technology for brandy to the Cognac region of Bordeaux. They did the early work to design and fashion the copper vessels. They acquired a taste for the French brandy and wine sent back in grateful exchange. (Once the vessels were in place they sent good Dutch cheese to keep the flow of brandy and wine going). It stands to reason that the Dutch would send some of their native specialty in hard drink, genever gin, to the French and as I say, it became and still is (although in attenuated form) a regional drink both in the littoral and inland areas of French Flanders, e.g., around Lille, Somme Valley, Boulogne. I myself sought out and enjoyed surviving French examples of genever gin in these areas some 10 years ago, so the fact that it was also popular at one time in Quebec was no surprise.

    So this is a bit of background to a drink with an interesting social and economic history and which has many connections to American, Scots and Irish whiskeys although this is not always apparent at first blush.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 05-01-2007 at 13:00.

  7. #7
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    Re: De Kuyper Genievre Geneva

    Well i wanted to reply but you`ve said it all (almost),if anyone is interested in more info about jenever (young,old,corenwijn,dubbelgebeide of enkel)just let me know via pm,also if you are looking for a special type i`m willing to help you in anyway,greetings mier.

  8. #8
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    Re: De Kuyper Genievre Geneva

    Thanks, just one question. Is any product today marketed which is 100% moutwijn? If so, it is always flavored with juniper? And finally, is it aged?

    A 100% moutwijn would I think taste quite pungent and strong-tasting.

    Perhaps a last query: what is the strength at which moutwijn is distilled? In America, bourbon mash must come out at not over 80% ABV and often is distilled at much less, say 70% or less, to preserve the flavor of the grain.

    Is this so with moutwijn?

    Gary

  9. #9
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    Re: De Kuyper Genievre Geneva

    There are two ways of making dutch gin, #1 let all the herbs and spices in the still and distill that or #2 put herbs and/or spices in the spirit.To be called jenever the alcohol level must be at least 38% but standard is 40%,(berry and lemon gin have other criteria)most distillers bring their product back to the desired level.Moutwijn or corenwijn is only given that name if the amount of barley is minimum of 51% and are mostley matured for some months or years.The city i live in has a young one that is very good but also a corenwijn aged 3 yrs.The older folks drinking the young one with sugar and the corenwijn out of the freezer in a frozen glass both a waste of a good drink!The young one i prefer cooled and the corenwijn you should drink it one time as a digestive on roomtemperature,a very complex taste you get.The only reason that you can`t call it a whisky is that there are herbs and spices being added(thanks EEC)strange as you think that Canadian whisky may contain brandy.The differance between Belgian and Dutch jenever is that the belgians mostly have a alcohollevel between 35 and (40 standard 38%).Also they have more jenevers with fruits like pear or melon added.The jenevers from French-Flanders again have mostly only young or old and fruitflavoured ones are rare.

  10. #10
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    Re: De Kuyper Genievre Geneva

    Thanks, corenwijn would suggest all-grain, the ones I have had were good but quite spicy (from the kinds of additions you mentioned) and not whisky-like, and I would think they are distilled at a high proof (which would reduce the amount of taste coming from the grain).

    I understand moutwijn to be a combination of barley malt, rye, maize and/or wheat and distilled to a low proof to preserve the grain flavor, ot at least, it used to be.

    Then too I recall the very knowledgeable owner of Noord, the genever specialty store in Amsterdam, telling me that the legal rules to make genever are few and flexible and every maker tends to offer his own style and interpretation.

    My information about moutwijn came from an early 1990's article in a Wallonian trade magazine for the licensed and restaurant trades, I'll try to dig it out.

    Gary

 

 

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