Special thanks to David over at Summer Fruit Cup who obtained me this sample of this rather rare, expensive, and unique gin. Without him, I’m not sure my travels would have ever taken me across this gin.So thanks again David!
This is the “private reserve,” not to be confused with Nolet’s Silver offering, a rather floral, bright, and somewhat expensive [~$50/750mL] contemporary style gin. This gin is slightly golden and is the result of a myriad of botanicals, each separately distilled or macerated [depending on the ingredient] and then mixed together by hand, and personally tested by Carolus Nolet Sr. to ensure it being of the highest quality. Among the disclosed botanicals are Verbena and Saffron [likely the source of the golden hue].
I only had a small tasting. So of course in this one case, I’m not going to be able to talk about cocktails. But when you spend $700 on a gin, this is surely a gin designed to be tasted neat and not mixed. So please forgive the omission in this one instance.
Rose Petals, honeysuckle and bright pungent floral aromas on the nose. A hint of juniper in the background, a touch of alcohol [104 proof, so not unexpected]. Fruity, almost strawberry candy, rich. Enveloping, very inviting. A touch of almond too. This is a very complex smelling spirit, but one that will definitely draw you in. Very contemporary, not a lot of obviously gin like character.
The palate is quite hot. That’s the first thing I remarked upon was that it was strong tasting., While it has smoothness, it did have an undeniable edge about it. Raspberry and fruit up front. Hints of something rich and earthy, almost imitating a bright oak like flavor with notes of angelica and bright saffron. That’s when the burst of heat hits, followed by a fruit-forward middle. Echoes of Nolet Silver again: Raspberry, Strawberry and Peach, and that’s when a second dose of heat hits. Less intense than the first. The finish is long, but begins with a bit more raspberry, fading into lemon and citrus. Juniper begins to show faintly on the tale with a bright piney note, lingering in the back of the mouth along with some residual heat.
Nice, and definitely complex enough to warrant repeated sips. I’d think perhaps a couple drops of water, a little bit of it chilled, or even a touch of vermouth in a martini might reveal some of the more subtle intricacies.
But overall, it is rich, enveloping and complex. Thick with an almost syrupy richness, but no sense of a comparable sweetness or saccharine character. I would most definitely drink this spirit if I had a bottle around, but where I struggle is with the price point. This is something fantastic and unique. I was ecstatic to get to try it. But at some point it was hard for me to separate: “am I ecstatic to try this because the price alone has given it a legendary stature,” or “am I ecstatic to try it because it would be legendary at any price, based on taste alone.”
I enjoyed this as suggested with my friend Justin. After all, what is something crazy like this if not enjoyed and shared with others? We enjoyed our sample. Tasting it, trying to pick out the vast amount of notes. Commenting on the rather complex, slowly unfolding taste.
But as a gin expert, I have to say it’s quite good, but it might be more of camp A than camp B. If this were $50 [and I’m not saying it should be, nor that Nolet should compromise his quality assurance to reach this price point] I’m not sure I would automatically give it five stars. It is good, and memorable- and a worthy novelty for those who can afford its lofty price point to seek it out. But I’m reluctant to say that this is the “perfect gin,” and not simply “a quite good contemporary gin.”
Origin: [flag code=”ND” size=”16″ text=”no”] Netherlands
Best consumed: Neat.
Availability: High end liquor stores have been known to have maybe one bottle in stock if you’re lucky. But your best bet is online.
Rating: If you can afford this gin, you don’t need me to give it a rating to help you determine whether you should buy this or not. It’s interesting and good, maybe even great. But not life changing, and for me at this price point that’s the bar. But for the sake of giving it a fair rating, I’m going to ignore the cost/gin ratio and just rate it based on the spirit alone: Good, enjoyable, with limited uses but for those who like contemporary gin you’re going to find something you like in this gin.
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