Gin Reviews

Aviation Gin

Aviation GinI’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.

Price: $30-35/750mL
Best consumed: Great for sipping on the rocks and stellar in nearly all cocktails.
Availability: Fairly common at high end liquor stores, or ones that have a variety of gins. I think its becoming more common on the East Coast.
Rating: Outstanding. a gin that has won its way on to my shelf and may prove to be a favorite going forward.

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23 thoughts on “Aviation Gin


    I don’t see why anyone likes this gin. I poured mine down the drain. I made a martini with it and it was so vile, I didn’t even eat the olives. I thought maybe it was my taste-buds being off that night so I tried it again last night. Its polluting the Lackawanna river by now. I should have know better than to buy a domestic gin. I’ll stick with the English gins from now on.


    Not all domestic gins are of this style. The big mistake with Aviation is thinking that it’s the same style as the gins you’re used to from the UK. Look for Halcyon Gin, Denver Dry Gin or Big Gin. All are domestic, made here in the states, but are much closer to the juniper forward style that most English gins are known for.

    Aviation is a bit different, intentionally so. But it’s hardly representative of all American distilling. I have heard even some distillers say similar things about Aviation and other contemporary gins as well. So please don’t lose faith in American gin!

    What state are you in? I could perhaps give you a more direct American recommendation based on what’s likely available where you are.


    Thanks for the education on domestic Gin. I’m from northeast Pennsylvania. I really was surprised by the Aviation. I loved the Art Deco style of their new bottle and was roped in. I will gladly take your recommendation on a domestic Gin that may be more like what I’m used to.
    Thanks again,



    I did a little bit of research on what I could find available in PA. It seems that Brandon’s Gin [] is available []

    Brandon’s has a couple of novel ingredients, like Tarragon for example, but don’t be too fooled. It’s classic in style with a touch of variation that sets it apart. I think it’s quite excellent and worth trying if you can find it.

    This one is special order, but this gin is just juniper and neutral grain spirit. Crater Lake gin infuses the juniper in the spirit [] so it’s more of a bathtub style. It’s the basis of the style you like, but executed in a really different manner. []

    Also on PA special order, take a look at Catoctin Creek or Gale Force. Junipero is also quite nice. Though the couple that I mentioned above [Big, Halcyon] are the finest examples of the classic style in the US today, it’s a shame they’re not yet available in PA. But I hope that at least a couple of these gins above might help you decide what spirits might be worth giving domestic gin a second chance for!

    Cheers, and thanks for reading. I really do hope you find something else that you like!


    My own blog, and those comment links break the layout.
    anyway, this is the site: I heard was a good reference for what there is in PA.

    Jim Felts

    I am a long time gin martini drinker, and I have to take exception to the inordinate praise heaped upon this acceptable gin by a few. It’s okay, but is way too floral for many tastes, and by the way, I do like decent vermouth in my martinis, but straight gin is okay if good. Wish I liked it better, but will stick to Bombay. If you want a sweet drink or plan to cover the taste with mixers, pretty much any gin will do, but I’m thinking classic gin martini drinkers will be less than impressed. Of course, taste is always personal.


    Bold? Seriously? If you make your own tonic – you’re hard-pressed to taste that there’s any gin at all in your drink. Another “B” comes to mind … bland. I’ve not tasted such a lackluster gin before.


    Hmm, interesting. Was it a fresh bottle you cracked open? I have noticed that some of the bolder aromatics dissipate if kept for a long time [like a rarely used bottle].

    But, to each their own. I think it definitely has a perspective and flavor, but understand it might not be to everyone’s tastes.

    Keep enjoying gin, Cheers!


    Having just tried this gin for the first time this evening, I think your notes are right on the money. I mixed up a martini, the way I usually do, but this time the vermouth (Dolin) really leapt out at me! The Aviation had quite a magnifying effect. Next time I’ll opt for a drier ratio. And I’m really intrigued to see how it’ll work in a Vesper (my 2nd fave gin cocktail).


    This review has been very helpful and right on. G’vine Floraison is the only Gin I could drink. Somehow therewas a bottle of aviation on myself when I was organizing not sure how it got there I always give away any Gin that’s not G’vine. So I tried the Aviation and was pleasantly surprised.Shortly after I search for some info and I found this review. Having a similar experience and thoughts I decided to give this Gin a go. Variety being the spice of life I’m happy to have them both on my shelf.


    Sorry folks, but I just tried this based on the Wine Enthusiast high rating. It tastes terrible to me! It left an after taste like dishwater. I cannot drink it. Never again. However, I will also mention that my wife said she kind of liked it. So, it’s all hers. :>)

    Graham Miles

    I like this for the bottle alone which in Canad looks like a giant hip flask. However, the Sasparilla novelty wore off pretty quickly and I won’t be going back.


    I never met a gin I didn’t like, but I really struggled with this one! My first encounter I thought it was the different brand of tonic water I was using, or old ice. But my return to it was marked with a kind of floral sweetness and aftertaste that I just can’t handle. I thought it was the sarsaparilla that was giving it a cream soda/root beer-y taste, but I wasn’t sure. Great bottle, not my flavor style at all though. Looking for a cocktail I can mix it into to serve to party guests…


    Personally, I love Aviation gin. By far the best gin I have ever had, but, OTOH, I’m not a huge gin enthusiast.
    I can see how those who are expecting a big blast of juniper will be let down, but I really like the balance, smoothness, and complexity.


    Worst money I ever spent on spirits. Now, I’m afraid to try “American Gin” again. Might try “Old Tom.” I like Citadel quite a bit.


    Me too. I WILL NOT ever buy an American gin again. I spent too much money on drain cleaner.


    I finally had a chance to try this because my liquor store had it on “closeout” for only $24. So I suppose they won’t be carrying it anymore, which is sad, but it’s also out of my price range normally so I’m glad I got the chance to try it. On the first sip it became my favorite gin. I certainly enjoy juniper-forward gins, but to me gin isn’t defined by juniper, it’s about interesting flavors. And this is the most interesting of all. I was wondering if you picked up a caraway flavor? That is what hit me the most on smelling it and tasting it.


    I hate to cast stones at people’s hard work, but as a Gin enthusiast, I was not pleased. Gin SHOULD have a decent juniper flavor, or be advertised as another spirit. It seems that Aviation has almost zero juniper and a lot of coriander notes. I didn’t care for it. I have tried probably a dozen different styles, from cheap to expensive. Hendricks is really good but pricey. The Gins like Bombay Saphire are good standard bearers. My ultimate favority is Citadelle. This Aviation Gin was harsh and not smooth. I detected zero citrus notes. You mileage may vary.

    MW in Carmel

    I drink Gin religiously, it is my daily martini regimen and there are very few gins I do not approve of, but Aviation Gin is absolutely horrible. If they spent half the time crafting the gin as they did the cap & bottle this stuff might be drinkable. I have never in my entire life felt compelled to write a review on a spirit, but after reading the praises heaped on this steaming bottle of instant hangover I decided someone needed to speak up before others share the same fate as I have.


    I really appreciate being able to read everyone’s comments, here. What I learn is, I won’t be serving Aviation Gin to guests!

    I can enjoy–for one use or another– almost any kind of gin (except for that horrid New Amsterdam, with its lollipop-lemon odor). Tried out “Aviation” on sale–and yes, it immediately put me in the mind of one of my favorite American gins: “Bluecoat.” Except, I thought, more wan–less substantial in every way. Plenty of citrus, but kept in balance. Florals, too. To me, it works best in a spring/summer martini (where I happen to quite like it!), but gets drowned out in just about anything else.

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