Rutte Cask Strength Genever, made for Michiel Wigman

A little while ago Michiel Wigman sent over a couple of samples of his latest bottlings, and in that package were these two samples of Dutch Genever. Myriam Hendrickx, the distillery manager at Rutte Distillery created these two different Genevers especially for Michiel, and even though Covid got in the way of a more timely release, this year finally saw them available.

Both are released at a cask strength of 52% and are made with different botanicals, to create two very different experiences. Both Genevers are 14 years old, but aging works a little different for this distillate.

The 14 years old is shown on the label, but there are grain spirits in each bottle that are significantly younger. Apart from the grain spirits Genever is infused with botanicals and this makes it different again, and gives a lot more room to get desired flavors in a spirit by macerating fruits, herbs, spices and sometimes other things (there are gins with lobster, and gin is rather closely related to genever).

I have to admit that I have very little experience with Genever, apart from a random sample I tried from Zuidam years ago, I never really experiment with the drink. But, let’s just dive in!

Image from Dutch Whisky Connection

Rutte Cask Strength Old Dutch Genever, 52% – Michiel Wigman

This is the bottling with lemon, cardemom and cassis.

On top of the to-be-expected juniper, which isn’t overly prominent, there’s quite a lot of lemon. The cassis is there after a minute or two. Slightly spicy, but not with heat.

The palate is less fruity, and more spicy. Some red chilis, juniper and a whiff of lemon.

The finish sits in the middle, a bit more fruity again. Less lemon, more cassis.

There’s juniper everywhere, but the waxing and waning of fruitiness happens inversed from the spices. So when there’s a lot of juniper, there’s not that much other fruit to be found, but a second later that’s completely flipped. A very interesting drink.

Rutte Cask Strength Old Dutch Genever, 52% – Michiel Wigman

This is the other bottling, with fenugreek, carob and juniper extract.

Interestingly, I have no idea what carob would smell or taste like. But, knowing fenugreek and juniper, it must be ‘that other thing’. It adds a bit of a rich backdrop but doesn’t overpower the fenugreek. I guess fenugreek is hard to overpower. With juniper extract being mentioned specifically, it must be added more than normal, but I’m not getting that.

The palate, again, is a bit more spicy than the nose. The chilli heat is held in check by the carob, which adds a bit of a cocoa like richness. It reminds me of some thick tonka bean stouts. It’s a bit coarse, with an almost powdery texture.

The finish is a bit of a weird mix between light and crisp juniper, some fenugreek bite and that cocoa richness of the carob

I have never consciously had carob before, ever. But as said, it must be that flavor that is rather prominent, but not dominant. And interesting combination of sensations is happening and the first thing that this reminded me of (on the palate, that is) is Lervig’s Three Bean Stout, which must be the richness of the carob as well.

So, I won’t be giving these an actual score. I’m too blue to rate them, especially in a category of their own. Compared to Michiel’s whisky releases, I must say that I am much more a whisky fanatic than I am a genever enthusiast, and I do not think that’s going to change anytime soon.

Still, it was a very interesting experience to try these samples and I’m glad someone with Michiel’s reputation is creating an entrypoint into other spirits than you’d normally encounter. Kudos for that!

Both these Genevers seem to be available through the website of Dutch Whisky Connection for € 120 per set of two.


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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