I’m not quite sure what I was expecting when I cracked open the bottle of Aviation gin. The bottle, the name, the styling: it all said “classic, London dry” to me. For those of you in the know already, it’s truly one of the new breed of American Dry. It is big and bold, but with the juniper in the background. It’s more of the bassist in this band. The citrus and the other flavors are in the front.
I opened the bottle, and was struck by how floral it was. It reminded me of G’vine Floraison; however, upon tasting it was a bit more subtle and balanced, calling to mind the balanced citrus and juniper harmonies in Bluecoat.
As for the botanicals, officially they are listed as: juniper, cardamom, coriander, lavender, anise, sasparilla and orange peel. Unofficially, orange and juniper are easily detectable while cardamom and sasparilla are nearly undetectable (leave it to the experts, even knowing what I was looking for I wasn’t getting sasparilla). The lavender is present when sniffed; however, seems much more subtle in the drink itself. It is made from a 100% neutral rye base, and I can only hope that the fine distillers in Portland can continue unabated by the Nation’s rye shortage. The neutral base is exactly that: perfectly neutral (but very smooth) and allows the rest of the botanicals to stand out.
This is a diverse gin, and don’t let the strong bouquet fool you. It makes for a stunning Tom Collins, a refreshing gin and tonic, and yes- a classic Aviation. But one thing that raises Aviation gin to the next level is its smoothness and complexity. It is a gin that you can sip neat or on the rocks, and not be left wanting. Its a great gin in martinis all around, but if you’re one of those people who would rather look in the direction of France than drink vermouth (I think you’re sorely missing out on one of life’s finer pleasures by the way) this is one gin that will be able to carry the show for you.
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The reviews on Aviation Gin are varied and I think if you're a gin drinker you have to try it yourself. I usually drink gin with tonic but thought I would try something different now I'm a paid up member of the Australasian Gin Connoisseurs Club (GC's). I was surprised by the strong aroma and couldn't decide whether I liked that assault on my nostrils. I'm not certain which of the many 'notes' I inhaled that we're listed on the makers website. It smells earthy, not florally which to me is a good thing. It is a refined gin compared to 'supermarket' labels available.. I enjoyed my second glass more than my first. I think my taste buds are adjusting to this new type of gin and I'm starting to enjoy it. A good thing given the price is up there. Whether I become loyal to this label, I'm not sure. I think Prohibition Gin is still my favourite.
The best gin and tonics for the money are made with Aviation Gin. Hands down!
Without a doubt the best gin money can buy. While it is more expensive than most, it is worth every drop...and it's American to boot!