Price: $33 / 705 mL
Distiller: St. Augustine Distillery Co.
Origin: Florida, United States
Rating: Citrus-forward but nicely balanced. In this case, “forward” isn’t another way of saying that’s all you taste here. Juniper is present, along with some other familiar gin botanicals, to create a gin that is equal parts classic and contemporary at the same time. The perspective is slanted towards the citrus, but there’s enough here that fans of both styles will find something to like. [Rating:4/5]
St. Augustine New World Gin in <100 Words
One of a quite small (but growing!) number of gins built on cane spirit, this cane base is 100% Florida grown and has won awards on its own merits. The gin is an equally Florida inspired take, with citrus figuring prominently on the bottle and on the gin as well. Part of their “old world” allure is the intentional anachronism of hand-grinding the botanicals (check out their promo video here) for inclusion in their gin. Set in the oldest European settled-city in North America, I think we can forgive them some old-timey stuff, especially when the gin (in a moment) is what it is.
* As a disclaimer, I know Brendan, who is the head distiller behind this gin. Although we talked a bit about gin over breakfast while at the ADI judging last year, I did not formally consult on this product. Nor is the review/rating a result of our previous acquaintance-ship**
The citrus aroma seems to be more in the Seville Orange camp, but it blends nicely with juniper which is clearly detectable as well. Angelica, lemon, and cinnamon notes emerging as well. It’s pleasantly citrus-forward and nicely balanced on the nose.
The palate is amped up a bit, with citrus at first, reading as more Mandarin this time. Pine-accented juniper comes through as well, with a wet, dewy freshness that comes off as slightly spruce bud. After that, the bitter orange from the nose returns in good measure. The finish is medium long with pleasant hints of baking spice as well.
First, in the Bronx Cocktail (orange with orange, right?), it seemed that it was a drink to be dominated by the Orange and the Vermouth. St Augustine New World Gin was most present on the finish where some spice notes come through: cassia, then angelica and pine. Nice, but there wasn’t much here to suggest that stacking orange with more orange really resulted in a big pay-off.
In the Gin and Tonic with Jack Rudy’s Tonic Syrup, we had some citrus and ginger notes at the fore, with a bit further back, celery and juniper leading through a pleasant, clean, and somewhat dry citrus-laden finish. Quite nice.
The Martini in my opinion was where this gin really shone through. Complex citrus and herbal nose, with orange and chamomile. Very welcoming, the palate was clean and crisp with the herbal Vermouth providing a counterpoint to the citrus-forward notes of the gin. It was a lovely balance, with juniper coming through as well. This was my favorite cocktail of the bunch, and a serious contender for one of the best Martinis I’ve had this year. Recommended.
Finally, we tried a gin Alexander. We don’t do this often around here, but something about this gin mixed with a bit of chocolate and cream that sounded like a good pairing. It delivered. In short, nutmeg and cinnamon on the nose, with the palate calling to mind all the best parts of biting into (er, I mean drinking) orange flavored chocolate. Creamy, rich mouthfeel with baking spice notes coming through on the finish. This gin isn’t all citrus to the detriment of other flavors; however, here the citrus really does elevate the gin to star status.
**More on this. As a reminder, I do not review gins that I formally consulted on, and I will always disclose gins for which I had talked about gin with the distiller before the gin was released, even if in passing. I, as a policy, do not rate gins from friends or in cases where I think my relationship might affect my ability to judge the spirit.
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