The quietude of the boreal north has inspired artists the world over for millennia; it should come as no surprise that distillers too have been inspired by the terpenic pine scented air and distinctive aroma of the spruce and pine dotted north…
Canopée Gin Forestier is the latest gin to attempt to paint an evocative portrait of this place through spirit. Inspired by the majestic taiga of Quebec, the team at Distillerie Mariana inc. may lay a more proximal claim to their inspiration than others.
Canopée Gin Forestier has a very faint yellow tint to it, suggesting a brief rest in oak barrels, though they don’t promote that product note outright on the bottle nor their website.
Clean pine and juniper forward on the nose, though owing in part to the name and scenery on the bottle, that juniper/pine note can be easily read as spruce as well. It’s rather muted though.
The palate is brightly boreal at first. Verdant green flavor, with pine shoots, green juniper, spruce at first, but turning a bit more spicy and woody mid-palate. There’s some definite wood character, suggesting pine boards and cedar blanks with a hint of ginger and the slightest bit of vanilla on the back of the palate.
The finish has a hint of grain character, slightly grain-touched with resinous pine and a suggestion of lemon verbena and citrus as it recedes warmly on the palate.
The mouthfeel is rather thin, somewhat lacking in an oily/rich character. It quickly becomes a little intense with a good deal of burn, especially at a lower proof point.
I’m a fan of gins which put their pine-forward first, and think that if you’re looking for a pine-note in your Martini, there’s a lot to like about it. Relatively smooth, complimentary to Vermouth and brightened with just a simple addition of a lemon twist.
Canopée Gin Forestier comes up a bit too mild in the Negroni, though I was able to bring some more pine flavor through with a 1.5+:1:1 ratio. I’d recommend it, as long as you go a bit higher on the gin part of the ratio. Canopée Gin Forestier also goes really nicely with Campari, making this another really nice drink.
Overall, it was kind of quiet in a lot of other cocktails. Your Leap Year Cocktail will have a slight juniper flavor, and your Gin and Tonic will meet your expectations as long as you don’t go too crazy with garnishes and additions. Keep it simple, and let the boreal aromas come through.
Fans of pine in their gin, no matter the source— juniper or otherwise— will find a lot to like in the way juniper, spruce, and pine seamlessly become one beautiful accord evocative of boreal forests. I think that if Canopée Gin Forestier sought to capture a portrait of the Taiga, mission accomplishes.
Bartenders may find it to be a bit too shy in complex gin-forward cocktails; however, if you’re willing to work with the ratios a bit, you’ll find that Canopée Gin Forestier goes well in a lot of traditional gin drinks. For the average home gin drinker who prefers classic style or Alpine style gins, you’ll find plenty to like here.
Special thanks to John at Foodie Pilgrim. Since 2012, John has shared and sourced gins from New England and nearby that we at The Gin is In haven’t tried yet. This gin sample was shared by John, who is also a big fan of gin. So check out his New England Gin Reviews as well when you have a chance.
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I love this gin as a souvenir of Quebec (and Labrador, which I visited in 1994) - it's more a blast of boreal flavors than a mixing gin. It's great at evoking a sense of elsewhere, IMO a perfectly valid reason for sipping spirits. If you don't sip gin neat, then this may be too pricey and fragile to use in cocktails, other than maybe a Martini with herby M&R dry vermouth, or the bianco.