I’m not quite sure what I was expecting when I cracked open the bottle of Aviation gin. The bottle, the name, the styling: it all said “classic, London dry” to me. For those of you in the know already, it’s truly one of the new breed of American Dry. It is big and bold, but with the juniper in the background. It’s more of the bassist in this band. The citrus and the other flavors are in the front.
I opened the bottle, and was struck by how floral it was. It reminded me of G’vine Floraison; however, upon tasting it was a bit more subtle and balanced, calling to mind the balanced citrus and juniper harmonies in Bluecoat.
As for the botanicals, officially they are listed as: juniper, cardamom, coriander, lavender, anise, sasparilla and orange peel. Unofficially, orange and juniper are easily detectable while cardamom and sasparilla are nearly undetectable (leave it to the experts, even knowing what I was looking for I wasn’t getting sasparilla). The lavender is present when sniffed; however, seems much more subtle in the drink itself. It is made from a 100% neutral rye base, and I can only hope that the fine distillers in Portland can continue unabated by the Nation’s rye shortage.
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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.
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.
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New Years Resolution: Maybe a bit more personal photography. At left, we have a lovely picture of Seneca Drums gin, a bottle that I purchased while in Buffalo celebrating the holiday season with family. I bought it because it was “local:” the Finger Lakes Distillery is about 45 minutes south of Rochester near Burdett. NY. I’d never seen it at my usual liquor store favorites in New York City, so I gave it a shot. I’d never had a gin from upstate, but considering how good the one from downstate was, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised.
The first thing I noticed about Seneca Drums was the floral scent. Upon opening the bottle, I immediately drew a parallel to G’vine’s Floraison. Both use a grape spirit base in addition to neutral spirits to create a more unique and distinctly American style gin.
The juniper is subtly there, as is the citrus- perhaps a bit of orange and lemon, in addition to an assortment of herbs. Seneca Drums claims there are 11 different herbs in their gin. There were hints of clove and coriander, but none truly stood out above all the others.
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