From the looks of it, this isn’t a very special genever. De Notaris Malt Wine Genever‘s packaging is fairly generic, with it’s square bottle and cream label. I’m guessing that if you don’t know much about genever, you’re not quick to pick this up.
However, the genevers from Notaris are made at Distillery de Tweelingh. Now, if you’ve been keeping up with my posts on genever, that might ring a bell. Indeed, I’ve reviewed another genever from this exact distillery: the Old Duff Genever.
Distillery de Tweelingh is one of the very few operations in The Netherlands that still produces genever from grain to glass. Nevermind the quality of their products, but that in itself is worth a round of applause.
The distillery is owned by Herman Jansen, a company known for producing a variety of distilled drinks. Herman Jansen (the person) is the great-grandson of Pieter Jansen, who founded the company almost 250 years ago, in 1777.
Herman Jansen (again, the person, not the company) played a huge role in the Dutch genever history. To illustrate, he was called up as a witness for the Royal Commission on Whiskey and Other Potable Spirits, which was established to once and for all determine what exactly constituted whisky. Herman Jansen, being an expert distiller, was asked to explain the virtues of pot still spirits over column still distillates.
At one point, he even tried to establish a geographical indication for genever, much like Scotch whisky or cognac. Among other things, he wanted genever to be made from 100 percent malt wine distilled in pot stills, as he loathed the neutral spirit that was made in column stills. Obviously he didn’t succeed, since 95 percent of all modern genevers are at least partially distilled in columns.
Herman Jansen (the company), didn’t cave. To this day, they refuse to use column stills for their genever. Notaris Genever then, is made according to ancient genever values. The mash consists of equal parts corn, malted barley and rye, and is triple distilled. This is the good stuff.
Notaris Malt Wine Genever (35%)
Nose: This is simply grain galore. Lots of malt, like, really a lot. There’s hints of cacao, and it also has something farmyard-y, with some notes of straw. Finally just a light fruity touch (melon). Taste: More straw and malt, with a bit of chocolate and some green apples as well. Slightly peppery, with hints of ginger too. Finish: Lingering spices, medium in length.
As malty as a malt wine gets, this is a classic example of how most genever tasted in the old days. Not that I (or anyone else) have tasted actual genever from the mid 19th century, but this might come pretty close.