Bokma Oude Friesche Genever
We’ve already looked at Filliers and Bols. Next up: Bokma! A Genever brand that has been around for ages. Its identity is inextricably linked to Friesland, a Dutch region in the northern parts of the country. However, it’s been three decades since Bokma was actually produced in Friesland.
Nowadays, Bokma is no longer a distillery, but a brand. One that is owned by Lucas Bols, the Amsterdam-based company that also produces the liqueurs and genevers of Bols (among many other products). But once upon a time it was a distillery in the Frisian capital of Leeuwarden, founded by Freerk Klaaseszoon Bokma in 1894. Interestingly, Freerk was also a baker.
From the moment that Bokma distillery put its first product out, they chose to embrace the characteristic dumpy, square bottles. In part due to this packaging choice they were easily to distinguish from other producers, who often chose ceramic bottles.
At Bokma they were keen to emphasize a proper distribution, quickly getting the word out across all of The Netherlands about their products. As soon as 1898 they even started exporting to the Dutch East Indies. In the end, four generations of Bokma led the company, before selling it.
The Dutch slogan ‘Schat, staat de Bokma koud?’ loosely translates to ‘Honey, did you remember to put the Bokma in the freezer?’. It help popularize the brand decades ago through television ads, and surprisingly is still used today. Modern promotional pictures show Bokma bottles with ice flakes on them. That’s not a good sign to me. I believe that you only chill your spirit to numb the flavours. In other words, that means it’s too off-putting to drink at room temperature.
There’s only one way to find out, really. So let’s have a go at the Bokma Oude Friesche Genever. Just a quick reminder, if you want to know more about Genever classifications or Genever in general, read this.
Bokma Oude Friesche Genever (38%)
Nose: A very green and vegetal Oude Genever, with some room still for subtle juniper notes and aniseed. Not much malt, but some mild spices.
Taste: The palate shows soft grains and cloves, with a hint of cinnamon. The juniper makes an encore here, but is very distant.
Finish: Notes of green veggies and grains, but they disappear quickly.
Doesn’t sound too bad right? Well, the nose does have a strange off-note, which I can only describe as the smell of a wet towel that someone dumped in the corner of the bathroom and then forgot about. I don’t know about you, but I find that an unpleasant oder.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.