We reviewed Procera Blue Dot Gin in January and liked it so much that it found its way onto our list of top 10 gins of the year. Now, half a year later, Procera has released two new, very different follow-ups. One is made exclusively from botanicals drawn from the juniper tree, and the other is a high proof gin designed to shine in cocktails. As with Blue Dot Gin, both are made using exclusively African ingredients and make use of the fresh, not dried, juniper procera berry. Let’s consider the composition of each as we give them a try.
Procera Green Dot Gin – While many gins today use literally dozens of botanicals, marrying a range of disparate flavors into harmonious union, Procera Green Dot Gin takes the opposite approach. It is made exclusively with botanicals drawn from the juniper tree: young foliage tips, fresh juniper berries, toasted heartwood, and dried berries. On the nose, as expected, juniper come to the fore, but it is gentle and joins with other elements well. Coupled with soft pine, it shows light lemon and orange citrus, as well as a floral note. The palate is more assertive than the nose suggests, bursting with pine and citrus, followed by an earthy note along with black pepper that fades in a long finish. The beautiful oily mouthfeel of the Blue Dot is here as well, helping to give the gin a big, rounded character that I really enjoy. In a gin and tonic, it does very well, as the citrus, pine, earthiness, and pepper play nicely with the bitterness of the tonic. There are more complex gins around, but this is delightful. 88 proof. A- / $120
Procera Red Dot Gin – Unlike Procera Green Dot Gin, Red Dot uses a wide range of botanicals, even more than Blue Dot Gin, and they all come from Africa. From Morocco: coriander and orris root. From Nigeria: locust bean, alligator pepper, ashanti pepper, and selim pepper. From Kenya: African juniper, elephant pepper, oyster shells, pixie orange, mukombero, green tea, myrrh, honey, and seaweed. From Zanzibar: mace and black pepper. From South Africa: lemon. This gin is intended for cocktails, but let’s see what it brings to the table on its own.
At first, the nose is almost maritime in character with oyster saltiness dominating the experience, followed by savory umami earthiness. It is quite a different experience than the Blue Dot and Green Dot gins. After the gin sits in the glass for a bit, piney, peppery notes of the juniper start to appear. The palate is quite different than the nose suggests. Bright pine and pepper leap forward along with green olive, umami, and green pepper. Some citrus follows, providing a welcome brightness to the experience. Again we find that lovely, oily mouthfeel that distinguishes Procera gins. This is a bold, complex gin. The makers of Procera recommend this gin in a Negroni with a ratio of 4 parts gin, 2 parts sweet vermouth, 1 part Campari. I love Negronis, so I decided to try their version, and it makes for an excellent cocktail. The Procera Red Dot Gin gives it a savory, salty character that is distinctive while still blending nicely with the herbal sweetness of the vermouth and the bitterness of the Campari. This distinctive gin is not for everyone, but it should find a devoted following among cocktail enthusiasts thanks to its unique character. 102 proof. A / $100