Distillery No. 209 really begins when William Scheffler bought a patent for a new design of pot still in New York in 1870. He decided to make the journey west, where the fading glitter of the Gold Rush had brought together a clash of cultures struggling for survival in a country still mending from a civil war. In time Scheffler set up a distillery at Krug winery in St. Helena, California. In 1880 he purchased his own winery in St. Helena called Edge Hill. It was one of the most impressive of its time but Scheffler made his real mark in Napa Valley by building his new distillery on the Edge Hill property. During Sheffler’s time the Federal Government licensed distillery registration by number only and in 1882 his distillery was given the number ‘209’. Flash forward a century to entrepreneur Leslie Rudd’s purchase of his own winery in St. Helena called Edge Hill, also looking to leave his own mark in Napa Valley. A few weeks after his purchase, Leslie found a curious hay barn with the faded words and emblem that read “Registered Distillery 209” still legible across the front. Sometimes fate has a way of finding you.
No. 209 opens with a beautifully aromatic nose of predominately citrus and floral notes with a hint of spiciness. First across the palate are the citrus high notes, with lemon predominate followed by a hint of orange. As the spirit warms in the mouth, delicate floral notes are liberated from the bergamot and coriander. Mid palate, there is a pepper-like warmth from the emerging cardamom and juniper with a wonderful counterpoint from the mint-like components of the cardamom. As the gin passes the palate, the cassia and other warm spice notes become prominent. The cassia in particular will linger in the aftertaste, encouraging another sip.