In < 100 Words
As far as I know, Ginebra San Miguel (Saint Michael’s Gin) might be the only gin in the world to also be the name of a basketball team. Well since the Gordon’s Gin Boars and Gilbey’s Gin Gimlets changed names. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel plays in the Philippine Basketball Association. And the gin they’re named after is the best-selling gin in the world. Unless you’re a gin geek, its understandable that you’ve never heard of it. As a nation the Philippines drinks the most gin per capita, and the great majority of that is Ginebra San Miguel. It is also very uncommon among gins in that it’s base spirit is cane [like rum].
Special Thanks for David T. Smith for sharing his bottle with me when I visited London last month.
The nose is recognizable juniper with a harsh edge. Low notes with a little bit of spice, pepper, coriander, acetone and salt. The palate is initially quiet, with sweet straw, a slight pine-forward edge to the juniper, but a little bit flat with an acrid, chemical after taste. The overall quality of the spirit is itself a little rough and thin.
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Cheap Gin. I don’t have a problem with it. In fact, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by many bottom shelf options I’ve tried. New Amsterdam is a bargain. Rather inexpensive but a good gin on its own. Not just for the Price. So I have an open mind. I’m not biased against a gin which is cheap for cheap sake. “Supermarket gin” is not inherently bad in and of itself.
So of course when David at Summer Fruit Cup told me this gin had a Molasses base, I was pretty excited. Experimentation with bases (things other than neutral grain) are among my favorite trends in modern gin. So how did this molasses-base hold up in tasting?
The beginning is rather pleasant. A tingle of citrus and a prickle of juniper. This all gives way to an intense and sudden burst of heat. The sharp heat blurs the mid notes and gives away to a finish which is lingering, slightly burning, and leaves a bitter aftertaste in the mouth. Though the aftertaste has intimations of the juniper and citrus, its not altogether too pleasant. There’s not enough subtlety to say if there is anything in the molasses base which adds or subtracts from the drink.
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I wanted to title this feature “IT CAME FROM THE BOTTOM SHELF.” You know, give it a bit of a “B-Movie” sort of feel. But in retrospect I was uncertain whether or not that may be fair. I want to be a neutral reviewer of gin and give all gin an equal chance. There’s a whole lot more than just quality that goes into shelf position. Sometimes the big brand names get the prime real estate. Sometimes its simply about price. Other times it alphabetical, promotional, capricious, etc. There’s no reason, so I want to come and approach Carnaby’s gin with an open mind. So here we are Carnaby. You and your plastic bottle. What do you have to offer us gin drinkers of the world?
The scent of Carnaby’s gin remarkably unoffensive and neutral. There’s a faint hint of juniper, but not much else. There’s not even a strong scent indicating that this is alcohol from the outset.
What’s Supposed to be in Here/What were you expecting?
I try and go in cold most of the time. I try not to know what the botanicals are when I go into a review.
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