First, let me say that I’m not a fan of a wine-style cork in a bottle of gin. I know that Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin Slate/Schiefer Riesling after distillation, which means it’s an intentional design decision to call to mind the process; but I’m not a fan. Unlike wine, you wont finish this in one sitting [probably] and therefore you need to seal it [oh, and a bottle opener to open it]. A weak seal though will allow evaporation, and aromatic volatiles to dissipate, reducing flavor upon further sips. Buy a good wine bottle sealer [you don’t need vacuum] or just grab yourself the plug from an empty. If you’re looking to buy this gin, save one from the next bottle you finish. But I digress.
As for process, it starts with a grain base, and then 30 (!) botanicals are added via a single distillation pass, but split between maceration and gin basket, depending on which botanical responds best. The final spirit is diluted and has that measure of wine added.
Delicate floral nose, with Meyer lemon zest, rose petals and sweet, slightly minty herbs, perhaps evocative of lemon verbena and pineapple sage leaves, freshly rubbed. You certainly won’t get much of a traditional wine note here, with nearly nothing jumping out being suggestive or Riesling.
The palate is botanically rich, with a great deal of flavor jumping out. At first, quieter with orange and lemon, citrus; juniper comes through as well, but somewhat duller without the piney sparkle. It’s a wet, kind of thick pine, bushy and suggestive of juniper, with other green notes. Rose comes on towards the back of the palate, with florals on the back of the throat and hints of stone fruit. The finish is where you start to get some acidic, wine like notes as well as the standard dry out with a touch of angelica, sage, thyme and bitter orange zest.
An intriguing gin, it certainly affords itself of being drank on its own, or perhaps even chilled; where you’ll get a slightly more Riesling like character jumping out mid and late palate. Cocktail wise, I found it to be a bit odd, perhaps best suite for drinks where you’re already mixing with wines. It’s an incredible French 75, it works well with in a Corpse Reviver #2, amplifying the nuance of the Cocchi. Martinez and Martini are apt inclusions as well. I found it less successful in a Gin and Tonic, where the tonic and the wine like nuance seemed a bit out of sync.
But overall, I think most might just simply be able to appreciate this as a floral leaning gin, and if you didn’t know about the Riesling, I’m not sure everyone would pick it out. It’s an intriguing experiment and one that I think gets a lot of things right, and is worth a closer look if you’re a fan of the floral leaning contemporary style gins.
Well executed and unusual, the gin doesn’t shout “Riesling” from the top of a mountain, but good palates will definitely pick out some hints of the unusual-post–distillation addition that sets it apart. Others will simply find a good floral contemporary style gin, where the melange of 30 botanicals come together into a lovely nose and rich botanically strong palate.
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