Well I’m never quite where to put these. But back in 2014 I put Gilbey’s Lemon Collins in the Gin Reviews section, so I’ll continue the tradition here.
This may be the first gin (er, Gin Lemon Spirit Drink) that we’ve reviewed that was produced by a state owned company. Altia Oyj is a Finnish state owned corporation that imports and produces their own products for Scandinavian state monopoly liquor stores. Finnish store Alko is where I found this intriguing bottle; whereas other local bottles were hard to find, Gin Lemon Spirit Drink was always, always to be found.
Gin Lemon Spirit Drink is sweetened with sugar [95 grams per liter!] and it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect.
The nose has a lot of artificial lemon flavor, but also some orange and grapefruit notes. There’s some lemon pledge and lemon cleaner notes as well, likely owing to the artificial lemon flavor we picked up at first.
On the palate it calls to mind a Tom Collins made with plastic bottle sour mix. It’s less lemonade as the sweetness is not overwhelming and the acidic tang is the most noticeable lemon characteristic. Gimlet drinkers will notice similarities to drinking Rose’s Lime Cordial. But tasting wise, Gin Lemon Spirit Drink is far too light on the gin. Juniper is more muted than it should be.
Over ice, Gin Lemon Spirit Drink is perhaps most in its element. This isn’t meant to be mixed, just sipped. If you put it in the freezer for six to eight hours it comes out with a beautiful slush texture. This was my favorite application of it.
I’d recommend adding some tonic water to Gin Lemon Spirit Drink to counterbalance some of the cloying lemon notes, so technically gin and tonic adds some needed complexity and balance.
It reminds me of a gin gimlet with a bit of lemon in it. It certainly tastes like you would expect an inexpensive lemon spirit drink that has a touch of juniper in it. It’s acceptable for what it is, but I think fans of gin would be better off buying a gin, a lemon and adding a bit of sugar.