Conceived as a “distillery exclusive,” available to Philadelphia Distilling’s visitors— it saw a wider release shortly after. It’s a simple concept— Bluecoat Elderflower Gin begins as Bluecoat Gin. Afterwards, organic elderflowers are macerated in the spirit.
Color: Pale straw in hue, with a slight milky translucency.
Aroma: Dusty elderflower with a hint of jasmine and lime flower. There’s an interesting citrus note behind that, suggestive of grapefruit pith. The complex citrus accord of Bluecoat Dry Gin is there, but less distinctive and clear.
Flavor: A hint of citrus on the entry explodes into dusty, floral. Elderflower comes through strongly, but musky hints of angelica root, jasmine and wisteria hover along the fringes. It’s floral— but it doesn’t come across as a soliflore.
Late, as the elderflower goes from bold to subtle— pine-forward juniper pokes its head out. A classic gin heart emerges late as the musky floral notes recede.
Finish: Moderately astringent with a slight tannic dryness. Musky florals and hints of pine resin. There’s a slight soapiness on the finish.
On its own, Bluecoat Elderflower Gin is a bit overwhelming. The Elderflower is so strong— it’s so much bolder than similar offerings from Gordon’s Spot of Elderflower or Knockeen Hills Elderflower Gin. But similarly, the elderflower in here doesn’t remind me of St. Germain or other liqueurs. It’s a very real, very floral-tea type flavor.
I strongly suggest mixing with Bluecoat Elderflower. Especially with mixers that bring sugar. That sweetness helps transform the flower into a more familiar elderflower flavor. Gin and Tonic, Gin and Lemonade, or Gin and Ginger Beer all work well. The Gin and Soda highlights some of the bitterness of the floral infusion, and was not among my favorites.
I recommend steering away from spirit forward cocktails (without sweeter supporting ingredients) like the Pink Gin or Martini.
Overall, Bluecoat Elderflower Gin
While I love the concept— where Bluecoat Elderflower Gin loses me is in execution. The floral notes are so overwhelming that they absolutely blow away any of the qualities of the underlying distilled spirit. Second, the infusion was so long that the flowers are imparting bitter, almost tannic notes to the spirit. It needs sweetening to work well—But it does surprisingly well when mixed. The Gin and Lemonade is a standout to me.
However, I think the overall approach is that Bluecoat Elderflower Gin should be bought with specific drinks in mind. Fans of elderflower in general will find several gins (and spirits) which execute the notoriously fickle botanical, a bit more successfully.