From Colorado Springs’ Lee Spirits Co. comes a flavored gin that highlights the botanical that has been hailed as “America’s favorite gin botanical.”
Lavender is the order of the day here. Fresh lavender buds are macerated in a gin for four days before being filtered and bottled. And that explains the color, which I think may be a double edge sword here. Certainly the fact that it’s amber hued, closer to an aged gin, and not purple is a testament to its authenticity. There is no coloring in here, that hue is reminiscent of the colors most true macerations take. Unfortunately, I have to admit that for a flavored gin the color is a bit of a downer. On its own, it’s not particularly appealing and it definitely contributes to any cocktails you make with it taking on a “muddy” color. But like I said, it’s a double-edged sword. I personally like that they didn’t artificially color it to match ones’ expectations for lavender things being, well lavender colored.
As you pour it, there’s a ton of lavender. An immense amount of it. It floats off somewhere between a lavender perfume and lavender potpourri. The spirit develops in the glass, as the lavender settles and some more traditional gin hues become evident: citrus rind, lemon, and a touch of coriander amidst the heady, thick bouquet of floral aromas.
On the palate, sweet candied violets, lavender buds at first; developing into a mid-palate with a bright, full flavored gin bouquet coming through. Cardamom and juniper, with a touch of sweet orange rind, but before you look, there’s the thick summer haze aroma of lavender fields and pine-accented juniper. The finish is medium length with lavender (again, that’s what it’s called…) and a smooth quality.
Perhaps the biggest factor here is the cognitive dissonance that the color poses. You probably are going to want to mix with this like a normal gin and tell people that you’re making a “lavender drink;” however, the color just seems a bit… off. I suggest combining it with complementary spirits which will hide the color. For example, take the Aviation. With Lavender flavored gin, it’s quite a beautiful drink. Even better if you add a touch more Creme de Violette, especially a vivid hued one like The Bitter Truth’s version to amp up the indigo hues. Another drink that flavor wise is excellent is the French 75, however the color here seemed a bit more lager than brunch drink. I suggest adding a bit of Creme de Violette here as well, which looks beautiful and compliments the lavender notes.
The Lavender didn’t work as well with me in the Gin and Tonic, though I liked it better with a tonic like Fentiman’s as supposed to an unaromaticized one such as Fever Tree Light or Q Tonic. The Martini has some potential, but for me it was a touch too much herbal, and it needed some other flavors to balance. With straight up citrus drinks like the Gimlet or Tom Collins, I thought it could have used something else. I much more liked it with some effervescence, such as champagne, or other floral notes.
As far as the taste goes, we should make this clear. If you like the scent of lavender and you like the idea of drinking it, you’re going to like this. I worry that, similar to overwhelming violet gins or post-distillation violet infusions, too many people will read the flavor as “perfume” or “grandma’s soap.”
Reception aside, as a Lavender flavored gin, it’s well done and ticks all of the boxes. Bartenders may be more concerned about cocktail color than home bartenders, but I suggest this gin is best suited for those who like lavender first, and gin second. There’s plenty of gin like character here, but it’s a flavored gin and therefore the flavor is the star.
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