The first thing I thought upon seeing Magellan’s blue gin was that it was a gimmick. Blue gin? C’mon people. color gin? Gin drinkers are classier than Vodka drinkers. We don’t need fancy colors to tell us a gin is good. If it’s good we’ll drink. Hell if it’s good, we’ll get two. Magellan gin taught me an important lesson: don’t judge a gin by its color. Blue or not, it stands up as a solid gin.
Sidenote: Magellan Gin had a “new coke” like experience in the mid 2000s when they changed their recipe and became just another clear gin in a blue bottle. Sales dropped, and fortunately the old recipe with the blue hue was brought back.
Not to harp too much on the color, but another thing worth pointing out for the organic-lifestylists and anti-food-coloring folks, that this eerie blue hue is not from chemicals. Its from the final part of distilling process where Iris flowers are soaked in the gin. Some of the flavor, color, and aroma comes through in the final product which is distinctly floral, but not overwhelmingly fruity.
Magellan gin has a bite to it that you might not expect upon first smell. Its a bit spicy and has more burn than other gins at this price point. Juniper is a background player here. When drinking it straight coriander (?!) shines through. Although made in France, it shares more in common with many of the modern American dry style gins than does it other European gins.
Magellan has several other botanicals which work to good effect in this fine gin: Nutmeg, Cassia, Cinnamon and Orange Peel are among the more prominent and noticeable. Its profile is floral and peppery, which limits its uses somewhat. It makes a good gin and tonic, a rather disappointing Tom Collins, but a top notch Aviation (Iris + Violet = match made in mixology heaven). As far as martinis go, I’m not thrilled with it as a sipping gin. The blue color is distinctive and will surely get noticed at the bar; however, I think there’s better gins for the job. With the right vermouth, the iris flavor can be a real benefit. With some, it clashes. Although I enjoy Magellan gin and would endorse it highly, I offer some reservations. Use it wisely, as it is an outstanding gin in situations where a more subtly floral gin is required.
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This is my favorite brand for gin and tonics! I happened across it at a local liquor store and noticed it immediately. A blue gin, infused with iris from France? I had to get it. No regrets I even recommended this to the bartender I work with when I asked about which brands of gin we carried. Haven't tried any other cocktails with Magellan's but it certainly makes a fantastic blue gin and tonic.