The Vergnano family drew from deep within the annals of distillation history for the inspiration for their Malfy Gin. About one thousand years ago (yes, really) monks in Italy were experimenting with primitive distilling techniques and the bounty of the Italian countryside. It’s extremely likely that at some point, owing to the fact that juniper grows widely throughout Italy, that monks experimented with juniper and therefore, drank one of the world’s first distilled juniper berry drinks. But I digress.
The Vergnano family’s gin is naturally distilled in a modern fashion, but similarly builds on the bounty of the Italian land: the base is Italian wheat, the juniper is from Tuscany, and the lemons are a blend of Sicilian and boutique Amalfi Coast lemons.
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Where are we today?
We’ve been to romantic countrysides and historical villages. For the next stop on the origin tour, we head to a commune of about 100,000 south of Florence. Arezzo is located in a fertile floodplain on the Arno River, which is among the most important rivers in central Italy. Arezzo has a temperate Mediterranean climate, and for those of you taking notes for trivia nights at your local bar, the University of Oklahoma actually has a branch in Arezzo. According to my notes, this Origin gin is the closest the state of Oklahoma has come to having a gin thus far.
Just the Juniper:
This is what I expected all of the origin juniper-only gins to taste like. Bright, piney, sharp but light. The gin has an almost watery character. Quickly dissipating leaving a long bright juniper after taste in the back of the throat. Significant heat and alcohol lingering, but the juniper sticks around a long time after the initial sip. Bright fresh, but lacking. On its own, its a good example of what the juniper tastes like, but as a gin I find it somewhat lacking.
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This is the companion piece to the Origin: Italy with just juniper ()
This actually turns out to be a rather nice gin right now. Piney and fresh, but creamy lemon meringue and bright rosemary and thyme herbal notes. There’s no rosemary and thyme in here, so don’t be fooled. But this is the kind of flavor character that this juniper seems to take on with the addition of the botanicals. Still a bit sharp, I in fact can feel hints of burn in the back of my mouth long after the initial taste and the juniper lingers on the palette, first vibrant and citrusy, then fading to sour and flat, to bitter and just the taste of alcohol. Really, really interesting gin here. I could recommend this, again, for fans of classic juniper forward gin, but think that it probably lacks the smoothness to make it ideal for martinis. But don’t be shy, Negronis, 20th Century, Leap Years, French 75’s and so on, the juniper in here can stand up and stand out.
Price: £34.95 / 700 mL
Origin: [United KingdomJuniper Terroir: Arezzo, Italy
Best consumed: Juniper forward enough to bring that “heavy punch” of juniper you want in a cocktail where the juniper in less potent gins can easily be beaten into submission.
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