As everyone knows, first impressions are very important.  When I first laid my eyes on this bottle of gin, my first impression was – are these people crazy or kidding or both?  Who in their right mind would name their gin Death’s Door Gin?  They might just have gone ahead and called it Nazi Death Camp Gin or Liver Failure Gin.  Yeow, I’ve been a marketing guy throughout my entire career and branded a good number of products and services but never, even in my over the top, totally insane brain, would I have come up with that one.

Well, it turns out that they had quite a logical reason for naming it Death’s Door.  They are located on Washington Island in Wisconsin, which is nearby a treacherous stretch of water that bears the name Death’s Door Passage.  Still, I might have gone in a different direction with that branding campaign, but hey who knows; it might actually be a stroke of genius if it garners attention and gets folks talking about it.

Putting aside my trepidations about the name, I discovered that it only has three botanicals, and for Gin, that’s about as few as I’ve ever seen.  Many gins will have over a dozen botanicals to give their hooch that over the top taste.  These folks just use the traditional juniper berries along with coriander and fennel.  The base spirit is distilled from organic, hard red winter wheat from Washington Island Wisconsin.


Let’s take a stroll through Death’s Door.  The nose is ripe with juniper berries and has a citrusy yet sweet back mixed with the coriander and fennel.  It’s simple and to the point and smells inviting.  There is a slight sharpness provided by the alcohol that quickly dissipates.  On the palate, the wheat seems to come forward followed by a very mellow and understated juniper that gives way to lightly spicy coriander.  All of this is accompanied by sweet citrusy notes that provide a bit of sharpness and definition to the taste.  The finish is fairly smooth and fruity and long in length with just a bit of tingle at the back of the mouth.  The taste of juniper and the citrus notes along with the tingling sensation last a nice long time.

On the rocks, everything seems to homogenize and all the distinct notes of the ingredients are gone and have blended into a subtle gin taste highlighted by the juniper.  Death’s Door gin makes a very nice traditional gin and tonic.  Everything blends and plays together well.  As a matter of fact, it was so tasty we had another one.  I do believe that straight up is my favorite way to go with this gin in order to get all the nuances of the flavors.  Everything seems to become vague on ice and in a martini but the gin and tonic rocks.  I do believe there’s something here for everyone.

This gin normally sells for around $29.99 per 750 ml but can be found on sale for $26.99 or sometimes even a bit less.  Get it when it’s on sale and you’ll enjoy it even more. (Check out a special cocktail with Death’s Door Gin here.)


By George Brozowski