Check out that picture. This easily wins the award for the strangest packaging of a spirit ever reviewed in Words of Whisky. That packaging however, worked out great for Kever Genever, as it gave them the desired result when this product was launched a few years ago. That result? Lots of media attention.
Found by a group of young entrepreneurs, Kever Genever aims to make genever hip again, taglining the product a Contemporary Style Old Genever. The maltwine content is 22 percent, and according to the company’s website, they used botanicals such as fabaceae, gentiana root and juniper.
So really what Kever Genever is, is an actual genever, marketed in a vastly different way from all other genever brands. The founders are young, and they make sure to communicate that to potential customers, which I’m sure helps to appeal to younger drinkers.
But as I mentioned before, their most unique selling point is the packaging. While there’s no accounting for taste, it at least stands out. There is something as basic as practicality though. And I’ll tell you, this packaging is the opposite of that.
Yes, for the producers it might be practical. I’ve read interviews in which they talk about how light it is, and the positive influence that has on the environment and costs of transportation. Which is all true, and laudable even.
None of that really matter though when the packaging isn’t customer friendly. The small opening on top isn’t exactly easy to open or close, but it is manageable. Pouring yourself a measured glass? That is a bitch. It might be me (it isn’t, but I’m trying not to be too critical), but I just can’t pour from this tin without spilling all over the top part of it. It just doesn’t work.
Okay, so, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s just evaluate the genever itself. What does it taste like? How is the balance between grains and botanicals?
Kever Genever (38%, OB, Batch 1599/8)
Nose: Very soft, gentle and really sweet at first nosing. Warming baking spices (cinnamon), raspberry, and hints of caramel glazed apple. Where’s the juniper though? Taste: Smooth and oily mouthfeel. A big hit of cinnamon at first, before we move towards herbs and into a more bitter territory, which I quite like. Some ginger too. Finish: A lingering bitterness makes way for some final notes of orchard fruit.
It is quite sweet and could’ve done with an infusion of freshness. More juniper or citrus, maybe? I also would’ve liked a bit more room for the maltwine. To me, a good oude genever shows a perfect balance between the grainy maltwine and the botanicals. The scale tips more towards the latter.
However, I did like the bitterness on the palate quite a bit, and when I let go of my perceived notions of what genever should be like, this is actually a enjoyable, accessible spirit. I could see this work in a number of cocktails, although not necessarily the classics that ask for Hollands or Dutch Gin. No, this is a modern interpretation of genever, which asks for use in modern cocktails. Now I’m far from a mixologist, but I don’t find it hard to believe that one could have some fun experimenting with Kever Genever.