Otenba – Gin x Jenever

Otenba: A sorta gin, a kinda genever. A spirit that cannot be defined by a single label, but is sure to wow fans of both respective categories. When I first found out Monique ten Kortenaar was releasing her very own fusion of gin and genever, I instantly got excited. Anyone who knows Monique is aware of her skill around a still, and knows she has a palate capable of creating some of the best spirits out there. Let’s just say there’s very good reason she’s the Master Distiller at Wynand Fockink. The fact that she’s behind Otenba instantly means it’s a product with great promise.

When Bart’s Bottles send me an invite to an event with Monique as host, to introduce Otenba to us, I rsvp’d immediately. I knew I had to be there. But a few days before the event my dad passed away, and my emotional state wouldn’t mix with drinking alcohol for a while. A few week laters I met Monique again at Hielander Festival though, and she brought me a bottle of Otenba so I could try it at a better time. It’s these kind of warm gestures that warmed my heart in a difficult time and I will appreciate that forever. Thank you Monique!

For the creation of this sorta gin, sorta genever, Monique uses the stills from The Stillery in Amsterdam and she distributes the product through Bart’s Bottles. The product contains pandan, sencha tea, lemongrass, sansho pepper, juniper berries, and malt spirit. It comes in a stunning stone bottle, with stunning art on the label. Let’s find out in my tasting notes below if it’s as nice to have in the glass as it is to have on the shelves!

Tasting Notes – Otenba

ABV: 40%
Bottled by: The Link Spirits
Distilled at: The Stillery
Category: …..

Steaming hot rosewood, freshly picked juniper berries, warm baked lemon tartelletes, kardemom, kurkuma and hints of aniseed. There’s a whole world of aroma’s to explore here, like stepping from a sauna straight into a French Bakery / Indonesion Herbs fusion shop. Wonderfully complex!

Lemon sherbert, shortbread cookies, wild peaches, quenepas (spanish limes) and just a hint of liquorice root. Far less herbal on the palate than it was on the nose, but all the more ‘dangerously drinkable’ at the same time. It has a slightly oily mouthfeel with just a touch of spice. Some pepper does show up from time to time, but it doesn’t contract at all from the pleasantly soft mouthfeel.

The finish of Otenba has a medium long length, with some sparks of pleasant bitterness on the sides of the tongue. Juniper berries, sage, kardemom, hints of cloves and the indonesion delicacy “spekkoek” come to mind will savouring this dram.

I went into this review already excited for what Otenba had in store for me, and the fact that I was still very pleasantly surprised says it all. The complexity and depth of flavours is just amazing. It’s an easy sipper and a dram to savour at the same time and I’m left more than impressed. This sorta gin, kinda genever, is undoubtedly amazing!

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