A Dutch master comes to the States

William M. Dowd photo

When the Lucas Bols distillery was created 433 years ago, it produced a variety of liquors. But it hit its stride when the drink makers came up with the recipe for genever, that quintessentially Dutch spirit.

Now, the world's oldest distilled spirits brand is re-launching its genever to markets in the United States, United Kingdom and the Netherlands itself.

The product being pushed has been "inspired" by the Bols genever recipe from 1820, according to master distiller Piet van Leijenhorst. And the new bottle also was "inspired" by the traditional, cylindrical Bols clay jug.

The combination may create some stir in a field always on the lookout for The Next Big Thing or just Something New.

The beauty of genever is that it is anything but new. In fact, it is the precursor to gin. Drinks historians say that when genever was introduced to England in the 17th Century -- when the Dutch-born King William III took the throne, the lack of English grain distilling expertise led to creation of gin, a simpler spirit made from neutral alcohol and a heavy juniper berry infusion.

Genever, on the other hand, is a quality malt wine. The distillate of corn, rye and wheat that provides a smooth, malty taste is created through column distilling in copper pot stills. It is a separate spirit category that was given Appellation d'Origine Controlée (AOC) status in 2007.

Suggested retail price for the 750ml bottle: $38.95.

[Go here for my genever tasting notes.]

Earlier this year, Lucas Bols re-launced its Galliano liqueur line as well. As Huub van Doorne, CEO of Lucas Bols B.V., explains the business model:

"The re-launch of Bols Genever in key international markets continues the global rejuvenation of the Lucas Bols Co. brands. Following the successful re-launch of Galliano L'Autentico and the continued focus on the Bols Liqueurs portfolio, we are now turning our attention to Bols Genever as part of our ongoing commitment to innovation and excellence. Our goal is to introduce bartenders across the world to the genever category, thus consolidating Bols as an innovator and leading authority in cocktail-making."

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