Vichy Catalán beverages, and Vichy Catalán Tonic Water are renowned for the quality and provenance of their waters. Hailing from Caldes de Malavella, the waters come from a region of thermal spas about 50 miles from Barcelona. I quote one spa guide, “We invite you to indulge yourself in these waters of proven curative and preventative powers,” [source]
But the water in Vichy Catalan Tonic Water is naturally carbonated with a high minerality and alkalinity, and nearly a full gram of salt per liter [source]. This Spanish tonic is naturally as low in calories as I think you can find in a tonic: a mere 6 per 250 mL [source].
However, it’s sweetened with Sucralose. The artificial sweetener makes Vichy Catalan Tonic Water a bit of a diet tonic water. Artificial sweetening adds a bit of that fake sugar flavor. If you don’t like diet tonics or diet tonic flavors, you may not like this one.
Whisper quiet, Vichy Catalan Tonic has no nose. The palate is akin to a club soda. A moderate amount of very small bubbles, they dance on the tip of the tongue; leaving a quiet stony mineral character.
A bitterness emerges on the back of the palate. Subtle, quinine, Vichy Catalan Tonic Water is dry and rocky. Intimations of slate and petrichor, Vichy Catalan Tonic has a gentle, mildly bitter finish.
With a gin, you get a heavy dose of the gin above all else. Vichy Catalan Tonic Water’s bubbles jump out seemingly instantly. My gin and tonic with Hepple Gin, seemed less fizzy than I would normally hope for.
The gin’s natural perceptual sweetness emerged. Lovely juniper notes, especially mid-palate where the notes of wet stone seemed to add an earthy, grounding to the gin. The bitterness comes on late and subtly. It merges nicely with the finish of the gin, lasting nearly a minute afterwards. It recedes with less minerality, and more of a combination with bitter orange notes. Quite nice.
Vichy Catalan Tonic Water is an intriguing tonic water. Critics of tonics that are “sweet,” and those who find even Q Tonic and Fever Tree Tonic “too sweet” will certainly like this tonic. Fans of diet tonics will like Vichy Catalan Tonic Water. I like a lot of what it does, especially in terms of showcasing the spirit; however, if I could offer one small critique it would be that I would like to see more fizz, or at least more balance in terms of bubble length. They evaporate so quickly that unless you make your gin and tonic directly in the bottle (which you could do), your gin and tonic begins to taste flat more quickly than it should.
Vichy Catalan is available from Kalustyans in New York City for about $3 / 250mL bottle. I’ve seen it online internationally for similar prices.