Citadelle was one of the early movers in the contemporary gin renaissance, having launched in 1996. Perhaps only second to Hendrick’s, they’ve made a name for themselves with eccentric variations. Their Citadelle Cornichon— Vive le Cornichon!— includes twenty botanicals, but one in particular rises above them all: the humble gherkin.
Botanically speaking, cornichons are the same as cucumber. But the ones used to make cornichons are usually a gherkin variety, often Parisian gherkin, and harvested when they are but two inches long. The cornichons used in Citadelle Cornichon are locally grown, hand picked and organic.
Aroma: Vinegar and juniper, with hints of sweet pickled Pepperoncino peppers. Intriguing, and unusual.
Flavor: The nose might lead you to expect a pickle bomb, but aromas can sometimes be deceiving. The palate is surprisingly balanced and gin-like.
Vegetal, with saline, green olive, dill and a hint of fennel seed. The impression is more salty than it is acidic. Juniper is present mid-palate and through the finish, with an herbaceous, almost waxy note. Lemon, rather than vinegar is the most prominent call to the implied acidity of the vinegar.
Finish: Lemon rind with thyme, tarragon, and olive flesh. Very long, with a dryness enhanced by a lingering salty note in the corners of the palate.
Throughout the palate, you’re thinking cornichon because it says the name on the bottle. However, I found it to be a bit more olive than pickle. That being said, the hints of pickling liquid on the nose and salty, briny entry conjures a powerful vision no matter your pickled vegetable touchpoint.
Cocktails and suggested serves
It seems that Citadelle Cornichon is designed for Martini drinkers and it does not disappoint. It tastes deceptively “dirty” when mixed into a traditional Martini. Mixed in a dirty martini it amplifies the saline and vinegar. It’s really a beautiful way for bartenders to elevate the cocktail without needing more brine. Highly recommended in this serve.
Another cocktail where I thought Citadelle Cornichon excelled was in the Last Word. The vegetal character combined perfectly with the herbal facets of the Chartreuse. It was a standout in my book, though surprisingly the juniper-led heart of this gin made it a more versatile mixer than I would have expected. In some presentations, like the Negroni, it merely tastes like a good vegetal gin.
Overall, Citadelle Cornichon
A surprising gin that is more versatile than you’d think. It’s a must by for fans of the Martini; however, overall its a balanced, albeit slightly unusual gin.
Recommended in its category.