The pinup model on the Candy Manor Gin bottle calls to mind an intriguing tale of Prohibition era Smyrna. This one is probably best to just quote:
“during prohibition the local candy store doubled as a brothel. If you went to Candy Manor and purchased the “Candy Special”, you were handed a box of chocolates containing a key. The key unlocked a door; behind which sat a beautiful woman holding a bottle of the finest gin you could buy” [more here]
Story aside, Candy Manor gin is unabashedly contemporary style, proudly proclaiming their strong, and less traditional profile, distilled on a base from grain. But the distillers at Painted Stave are far from traditional. I’d suggest that they might be best known for their Scrapple Vodka; however. don’t worry about anything that far out here. Overall, it’s a crisp floral forward contemporary style gin. But more below:
Floral notes are what you get immediately on the nose: hints of violet, orris, lavender and coriander with strong hints of linalool as well. Very, very floral. I’m not getting much of a trace of juniper at all on the nose. The palate is a bit more of the same, but with creamy honeysuckle, orange candy and chamomile tea notes. The finish is floral forward still, but this time with creamy violet and orris notes. A bit of heat, and a somewhat short finish that is suggestively dry but seems devoid of anything that is more than a quiet whisper of juniper.
Though I’m rarely a purist, and I do love a beautiful floral nose and palate (which you do get here), I think that the spirit could use a bit more juniper to balance it just a bit.
For cocktail drinkers, especially those looking for something which pushes at the edge of what gin can be, it makes a really good Gin and Tonic, bright and floral with violet and orange notes; it’s also really good in the Aviation, Moonlight Cocktail or other similar drinks which feature creme de violette. I found it to need some balancing, in such that the Martini didn’t work for me, nor the Negroni where I would have loved a bit more earthiness to counteract the sweetness of the other ingredients.
But overall, it’s a niche spirit. If you like floral gins, you’re going to find something to like here. If you’re looking for something a bit more Tanqueray or Beefeater, you’ll probably be left wanting. Overall, an intriguing and unique gin with an incredible amount of brightness, recommended to fans of Hendrick’s or Dorothy Parker Gin.
Rating: Heavy with the florals, Candy Manor Gin is a bright contemporary styled gin rife with violet, lavender and spring meadow. Though some might be looking for a bit more juniper, it acquits itself well in summer staples like the Gin and Tonic or Gin Fizz, and is recommended to those looking for a floral summer gin.