Olifant Jonge Graanjenever
It had to happen sometime, as today is the first ever review of a Jonge Genever on Words of Whisky. To be more exact, of Olifant Jonge Graanjenever. This is one of the many Genever brands in The Netherlands that no longer have an actual distillery, but is actually sourced elsewhere.
De history of Olifant (Dutch for Elephant) actually goes back well over 175 years, when the J.J. Melchers Distillery was founded in Schiedam, which is the quintessential Genever city in The Netherlands. The current logo was designed in the 19th century, after the language barrier with export markets in Africa proved too much. From that moment on, casks of Olifant Genever were stamped with an image of an elephant.
The distillery is long gone, and nowadays the brand is owned by InSpirits, a Dutch distributor of (mainly) distilled spirits. It is said that the recipe used for Olifant Jonge Graanjenever is still the same as it was in 1841, when it was first produced. Also, the website talks of an authentic Olifant still, but that’s probably more marketing talk than anything else.
Just a quick refresher: a Jonge Genever does not refer to age (jonge means young), but to a newer type of recipe. This type of Genever gained a lot of traction in the 20th century, and contains less malt wine (triple distilled pot still grain spirit) than other types.
Olifant Jonge Graanjenever (35%)
Nose: Neutral spirit with a malty base, accompanied by hints of sweetness and a tiny bit of cilantro. And that’s about it.
Taste: Again, very neutral, with only a hint of licorice really standing out. Some soft spices also. Somewhat chemical.
Finish: The chemical note lingers for a little while.
It is not quite vodka, as it is too fragrant, but it is a very neutral drink nonetheless. Probably best served chilled. Or in this concoction thought up by the producer (in Dutch).
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.