Price: $50 / 700 mL
Distiller: Chase Distillery
Origin: England, United Kingdom
Availability: UK, US, Canada, but rare. Might need to look for a specialty retailer.
Rating: A stellar flavored gin that takes the traditional British marmalade orange and puts it at the center of something which relies on an excellent gin just as much as it does what is infused. Fans of classic style gins will find this to be an excellent flavored gin: a really classic background profile buoys the orange here. Fans of citrus forward contemporary style gins are going to find a new best friend. This is an excellent gin: whether it needs to say the word flavored or not is another story altogether. But it’s a great citrus forward gin. We’re quite a fan of it. [Rating:4.5/5]
Not just any orange gin, the Seville Orange is worth a closer look as its not the orange you’re probably thinking of. But this kind of orange often does appear in gin.
Let’s begin: there’s a large class of oranges known as “bitter oranges.” These include the Chinotto [yes, the beverage], the Bergamot, and a famous variety known by its hybrid name which is also the signature orange/citrus flavor of Grand Marnier. The Seville Orange is one of these.
Known for their excellent quality essential oils, these oranges are often used for perfumery, spirits, and marmalade. Proper marmalade isn’t made from sweet oranges, the kind you get on the Florida freeway, but instead these bitter, small, fruits. Their cultivation history is quite long and they’ve actually been an important part of herbal/traditional medicines. Native to Asia, varieties of bitter orange were growing in mainland Europe as early as the 11th and 12th centuries. While its advised that users don’t consume wild oranges in large amounts because of health risks, this medical heritage is the reason why they’ve made their way around the world and a big part of why the sat alongside gin in apothecary shops and followed gin out from behind the counter into mainstream consumption.
The Seville Orange is a specific cultivar grown in Seville, but whose chief use is primarily marmalade and large numbers of the fruit are exported to Britain every year.
Williams Chase’s Gin is an ode to the journey and the very British fascination with this particular variety of bitter orange. Made on a base of their potato vodka, it is also based on their gin which includes juniper, orange, licorice, elderflower and almond in addition to the bitter orange added via infusion.
The nose is bright and quite citrusy, but with lemon zest, hints of sweet lime, and some juniper notes in the background. Its incredibly citrus forward on the nose. Truth in advertising here.
The palate is much drier than you might expect from a citrus gin. Fruity/floral at first, there is certainly notes of marmalade, but also a pleasant juniper spice in the background. The citrus oeuvre fades towards the finish where you’ll get notes of coriander, bitter orange zest, and a faint backing of licorice/anise type notes.
The finish itself is very warm, with a long dry finish that’s really squarely in line with a good classic gin. The citrus notes are loud at the fore, while Chase Distillery is confident enough into their gin to let it still carry the overall missive.
Though orange gins are sadly out of vogue these days, citrus flavored gins are certainly all the rage. Fans of Bluecoat () will likely find this to be right up their alley.
Overall, I quite like it and thing it has a ton of merit on its own or neat. If I had to put my stake in the ground, I’d say this spirit excels in any citrus lined gin cocktail [ho! that’s like what, all of them?]. Make a Gimlet, Tom Collins, or Bees Knees and the bitter orange notes absolutely dial up the citrus and add some darker hues. The drinks feel fuller and more robust. I love them. But I have to say, my pick might be the Martini. Done with a touch less Dry Vermouth than usual [Blaspheme! 8:1 in this case], it really allows the bitter citrus to take over and add that Vermouth-like kick. Excellent product, and highly recommended. It is what it is, and it is… really good.
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