Featuring 30 (!) botanicals, Ferdinand Saar Gin is already something of a beast. It combines common botanicals (angelica, coriander, ginger), less common, but still regularly seen ones (lavender, rose) and then there’s those which are really unusual (sloe, rarely seen as a botanical, lemon thyme) – but wait! It’s then cut with Riesling wine (Germany, kind of known for that). And in the case of the Ferdinand’s Saar Quince, it’s a Sloe gin homage, using the local quince grown right at the distillery, with a touch of sweetening. It’s a lovely golden hue.
On the nose, there’s ginger, wet, herbal notes, a touch of fruit, slight bits of rose and bobs of vanilla. Little juniper. Doesn’t come across as an overwhelmingly fruity gin at first. It seems contemporary. The only hints to what it is might be the mildness on the nose.
The palate is immediately fruity, with tart quince, coming across almost Damonesque. If the goal was to create a sloe gin with something other than sloes, mission accomplished. In blind testing, you might mistake Ferdinand’s Saar Quince for a sloe gin. Jammy, with thick plum/ripe sour cherry notes, some prickly gin-like notes come on. There’s a bit of juniper, albeit quite sedate. A sprinkling of coriander in there as well, cassia/ginger spice notes towards the finish, with the sweetness of it clear, but also slightly acidic with something that really strikes me as if it could be the wine coming through. The wine notes seem most concentrated on the finish, where stone fruit and tart quince linger, sweetly on the palate.
As a quince cordial gin, it works quite well. However, for me, it could use a touch more gin like botanicals to counteract all of the other affects. There’s that wine like note. There’s some unusual botanicals. There’s quince which comes across a bit like Sloe. I think there’s some good ideas in here, but there’s too many of them all at once. I’d love to taste a quince gin with only six botanicals, specifically calibrated to shine in concert with the quince. The idea of Riseling wine and gin is intriguing, but it gets lost as just another odd note towards the finish. The unusual array of botanicals are exciting, but might they shine best on a more neutral base? Anyway, like I said, there’s a lot of good ideas in here, but maybe just one too many.
Full of good ideas, but perhaps a bit too full. Ferdinand’s Saar Quince is an intriguing substitute for sloes; the addition of Riesling is intriguing, and the 30 botanicals include some unique touches. It feels unfocused at times with too many ideas competing for attention. That being said, it’s a satisfying Sloe-type gin that can replace your usual go-to Sloe gin, with only a slight change in color. It’s smooth, easy to drink, and set with just the right amount of sweetness.