Aitil means juniper in Gaelic. Aimsir means time, weather or place in Gaelic. In case you can’t tell— founders Steve and Christine Hopkins’ Irish heritage is an important part of who they are. Based out of Portland, Oregon, they opened their doors in late 2020. Their Aitil House Gin is London Dry in process, but contemporary in botanical expression.
Whether intentional or not, gin fans will recognize then inspiration of the very contemporary Nolet Silver in Aitil House Gin’s botanical bill. Raspberry, peach and rose are prominent in both gin’s botanical blends and even over a decade after Nolet’s launch— relatively uncommon in gin distillation. Aitil House adds a couple more botanicals beyond just those three, which differentiates it significantly from the Nolet botanical bill.
Aroma: Dark, unsweetened raspberry dominates. Hints of rose petals, and a slightly menthol kissed hint of vegetal lemongrass or lime leaves. Complex, but quite contemporary.
Flavor: The complexity of the nose beautifully mirrors the palate. Hint of peach wine early. Mid-palate, pine-forward juniper with some green qualities shines through. While contemporary botanicals are the stars, juniper is a clear and present force here.
Late, black raspberry preserves. The vegetal notes return as well— this time it suggests to me more makrut lime leaves; however, there’s an interesting herbal/floral harmony at play here.
Finish: Fairly long finish at a fairly low volume. Delicate spice helps clear the palate. Moderate to light warmth with light astringency.
Aitil House Gin should be treated as a contemporary gin behind the bar. It is not a substitute for a juniper-heavy classic style gin. However, bartenders who are able to build cocktails around the gin will find it an accessible and versatile gin.
Similar to Nolet Silver, Aitil House Gin makes a beautiful Martini. Pair it with a lemon twist to tease out the bright, floral notes. The complexity and mouthfeel is superior to Nolet— which makes an intriguing alternative.
It works well in herbal cocktails like the Last Word. The berry and peach notes are accentuated in a cream drink like a Ramos Gin Fizz or Gin Alexander. Finally, it mixes well also. Paired with a bitter Indian Tonic, the complex floral/herbal/fruit is perfectly balanced.
Overall, I won’t list all the drinks— for fans of contemporary gin, you’d be hard pressed to find a cocktail Aitil House Gin doesn’t work well in. As long as you’re looking for that contemporary flavor.
Overall, Aitil House Gin
Beautiful, complex and contemporary. Fans of classic gin will appreciate the juniper at its heart. But fans of contemporary gin will appreciate the complex harmony achieved. It’s simultaneously floral, vegetal, herbal, fruity and gin.
Highly recommended in its category.