First, let me say that I’m not a fan of a wine-style cork in a bottle of gin. I know that Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin Slate/Schiefer Riesling after distillation, which means it’s an intentional design decision to call to mind the process; but I’m not a fan. Unlike wine, you wont finish this in one sitting [probably] and therefore you need to seal it [oh, and a bottle opener to open it]. A weak seal though will allow evaporation, and aromatic volatiles to dissipate, reducing flavor upon further sips. Buy a good wine bottle sealer [you don’t need vacuum] or just grab yourself the plug from an empty.
All Gins containing: Almond
Featuring 30 (!) botanicals, Ferdinand Saar Gin is already something of a beast. It combines common botanicals (angelica, coriander, ginger), less common, but still regularly seen ones (lavender, rose) and then there’s those which are really unusual (sloe, rarely seen as a botanical, lemon thyme) – but wait! It’s then cut with Riesling wine (Germany, kind of known for that). And in the case of the Quince gin, it’s a Sloe gin homage, using the local quince grown right at the distillery, with a touch of sweetening. It’s a lovely golden hue.
On the nose, there’s ginger, wet, herbal notes, a touch of fruit, slight bits of rose and bobs of vanilla.
Not just any orange gin, the Seville Orange is worth a closer look as its not the orange you’re probably thinking of. But this kind of orange often does appear in gin.
Let’s begin: there’s a large class of oranges known as “bitter oranges.” These include the Chinotto [yes, the beverage], the Bergamot, and a famous variety known by its hybrid name which is also the signature orange/citrus flavor of Grand Marnier.
Aficionados of whiskey may be familiar with the name Svenska Eldvatten, who are well known for being both a bottler and producer of whiskey products. Gothenburg gin launched in April 2015 with a goal of being a local gin. We’ve seen some pretty good gins come out of Sweden in the past few years, so the arrival of Gothenburg gin is an exciting new arrival on our shelf. Let’s see how it tastes:
The sterling nose glimmers with classic gin notes: angelica, juniper and citrus. The top notes cry out “gin,” while the lower notes are a little bit more laden with fumes and ethanol.
If the retail price of spices by the ounce is any indication, there might be only two better than cardamom and one better than vanilla: Saffron. These extraordinary threads from the Saffron Crocus have been used as both a spice and colorant for centuries, hence given its bright hue it should come as no surprise that many gins which choose to add the priceless botanical do so post distillation via infusion.
Old St. Andrews’ Pink 47 Gin pushes the envelope in a couple of novel directions. Featuring 12 botanicals (including almond, cassia, nutmeg and juniper), I caught an interesting note about it which indicates that it features TWO(!) different kinds of coriander and angelica among its ingredients.
Yes, while garden angelica is the most common angelica in gin (Angelica archangelica), it’s far from the only edible kind of angelica- and the floral character can vary from species to species. Angelica Lucida is a coastal plant which is eaten as if a celery. Wild Angelica (Angelica sylvestris) is an edible, pernicious weed, run rampant in the Canadian maritimes. There’s others two, so clearly plenty of candidates for a second angelica ingredient….
Pink 47 is based on a neutral grain spirit and bottled in a faceted pink diamond bottle.
Nice, bright juniper nose, with a modicum of leafy herbs and a some clear coriander mixed in there as well. Very classic, with the herbs and minty notes a bit lower in the mix, coming through more clearly as the spirit warms.
Overall, the spirit feels thinner than expected on the palate. Lots of crisp, juniper reveling in its herbaceous side.
The story of Monkey 47 is attributed to an Indian born British Commander who was stationed in Germany after the second world war. Inspired by the Black Forest through the lens of his family’s heritage he combined British influence, Indian botanicals, and the natural flora of the German forest to create a complex gin he called Schwarzwald Dry Gin, along with the note Max the Monkey.
You see, this Commander also helped rebuild the world-famous Berlin zoo, and during the course of this he came to support Max, an egret monkey, who lived in the zoo. So it might seem natural that years after the fact in retirement, he retained an affection for the monkey he sponsored, and when he made his gin, he named it after him.
On botanicals alone, boasting an ostentatious 47, it might be the most complicated gin on the market, but to throw you one more curveball, it’s also built on a base spirit of molasses.
The nose is mentholated juniper, pineapple sage, lemon verbena, lavender, rose, hibiscus and lime. (!) This encyclopedic list merely reflects how incredibly complex and brightly aromatic this gin is.
My good friend and buddy David T. Smith recently hooked me up with a few minis/samples from his extensive collection when I was in London last month. One of those gaps in my gin notes was the Beefeater London Market variation, released right around the time Beefeater Winter and Beefeater Summer (warning, one of my earliest reviews on this site: ).
I realize this gin is probably quite difficult to find, as it was a limited edition, and it came out a couple of years ago. Sorry for being a few years late to the party.
In <100 Words
Part of a series of gins put out by Beefeater just as the gin renaissance was exploding, London Market adds Cardamom, Pomegranate Seeds, Kaffir/Makrut Lime leaves to the standard beefeater set of botanicals. Released in 2011 in European markets, it is no longer being produced or widely available.
The nose has a little bit of a floral lilt in the high notes, with lime coming through clearly, then lemon and orange, with a tinge of citric acid. Strong nose that ends on a more classic note. The palate is tart and citrus dominated, with a lemon/lime zest sharpness, likely given a sharper character by the addition of pomegranate which seems to fade into the background.
Perhaps the best part of doing this new series of impressions is that I no longer have to hold back on sharing some tasting notes, just because I don’t have a full bottle of the gin. While I’d love to spend some time tasting Bombay Amber in a series of cocktails, it’s really just not plausible. That is unless I’m able to schedule a flight which connects/goes to Las Vegas, Toronto, Singapore, or Sydney. Though I’ve been doing a fair amount of traveling this year, those cities have eluded me. For now. Though I’ve got my eye on you Sydney.
I’ll spare you my thoughts on travel retail*, and get down to the gin.
In <100 Words
Take the standard Bombay Dry Gin  botanical blend, and add smoky black cardamom, nutmeg, and the zest of a type of bitter orange. Could it be Seville? Myrtle Orange? Or maybe even Amara? My money is on Seville orange. It is then aged in oak barrels, which formerly held French Vermouth. The bottle is distinctive, unlike anything else, and as with Sapphire and East, it looks as if Bombay is pushing the envelope slightly further than it really is.
Citadelle Gin is something of the “Elder Statesman” of the new style of gins. It’s been around long enough to have “always been there” to many, but that is to lose sight that at one point Citadelle was the bold, surprising, innovative new gin on the shelf. Their story is complex, but we’re going to try to make it as succinct as possible.
In our own < 100 Words
Citadelle is half revival, half new innovation: the revival is based on one the first gin produced in France at the “Citadelle.” The innovation is in the where and the how. Maison Ferrand Distillery and the SW corner of France is best known for its Cognac. But perhaps the boldest part was the revelation that during the offseason when they legally couldn’t distill Cognac, they could distill gin. The government finally relented in ’95, and so began the magic of open flames [don’t try this at home] and pot stills: Citadelle 2.0 was thusly born.
On the nose, hints of violet, sweet orange, coriander and floral brightness. Leans slightly citrus, but there’s another side here as well, with hints of a spicy/floral deeper notes: nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom.