Our next stop on the Colorado Gin Trail is Golden Moon Distillery, located in the foothills of the Rockies.
Normally I like to keep it about the gin. But to understand this gin we have to briefly talk about the distillery’s founder, Stephen Gould. Stephen has immersed himself in centuries worth of distilling experience. For some of his other products, they are the result of years worth of research into old recipes and his interpretations. So when we take a look at Golden Moon Gin, we can first observe the perspective and foundation of the distiller and the distillery*.
On to the Gin Indeed**
The nose is somewhat malty, warm and grainy with a slightly floral note augmenting a powerful dose of mint. The floral note is a tad like lavender, and it adds some color to this warm, malty, and almost earthy touch that it has upon first inhale.
The taste actually begins somewhat more classically styled than the nose might otherwise hint at. Juniper and lemon nip at the corners of the mouth at first, but you feel a menthol coolness slowly starting to rise. That’s going to be the mint which is going to dominate the mid palate character of the drink. But although it dominates the middle, it quickly drops out allowing that floral touch to come through. And although it felt lavender on the nose, this floral note is earthier and darker. A tad bit of iris, but I’d say it’s closer to orris root in color and character. The final touch is a slight dash of heat with a lingering floral note. A bit of the lavender in here, almost fruity and jammy despite never being louder than a whisper. The heat is what closes it out.
It’s a more challenging gin than some. There’s a couple of flavors in here which compete and fight for attention; however, the way that they fold in and out of one another on the palate means the complexity is rewarding and interesting. I’d say that based on how it tastes neat, this is a gin with sufficient complexity to hold the attention of the most sophisticated gin drinker who is willing to take the time to appreciate the layers in here. This is not necessarily a gin and tonic that I think does it best word swigged in a Gin and Tonic. Although I did mix up a Gin and Tonic [and I thought it was excellent, I’m not sure it’s for everyone]. In a G&T the predominating note seems to be a nutty earthiness followed by hint of mint and florals on the finish. Good, but I’m not sure it’s going to be for everyone.
We’re getting down to the wire and the end of the sample. So of course, I need to decide what one other way I want to drink this is. And although I’m tempted by specters of an Aviation or something even more crazy, I opted for the Negroni***
I have to say, I thought the Negroni excellent. Mint shines out, for sure. A myrtle orange and caramel sort of note with bright mint highlights the Negroni, and the notes that the gin brings really shine out. I wish I had more than two sips worth of Negroni here, because truthfully, this is a stellar drink.
Price: $46 / 750 mL
Origin: [flag code=”US” size=”16″ text=”no”] Colorado, United States
Best consumed: Wow, what a Negroni that was.
Availability: Colorado and at the Distillery.
Rating: Lots of layers. I know I keep coming back to that mint note, but there is so much going on in here. If I had the chance to try this in some more drinks, it might begin to approach a five. But for now, it’s going to have to stay with a high 4.5. This is a really interesting, really complex and very flavorful gin.
* Is this a good time to mention that if you’d like to learn more than this little teaser about the distillery that you should stay tuned to hear more about the Colorado Gin Project that David T. Smith and I are collaborating on?
**The gin I’m reviewing is a small [about 25 mL] sample I received from the distiller. This is the smallest sample I’ve ever done a review based off of, so although I will do my best to maintain my usual level of thoroughness, please understand that any omissions are due to this and that at best I would consider this review provisional pending a larger body to really test it in some cocktails.
***Call me boring, call me predictable, but just be sure to call the Negroni my favorite drink.
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