Danish-based Knaplund Distillery, makers of Gin Magic drew inspiration from the United States for its line of products which it just launched late last year. “. Knaplund has taken the best from the United States and added a splash of Western Jutland.” [source]
But for one of their latest gins they’ve taken inspiration from a very different place: Portugal and Spain. Use of the color changing butterfly pea isn’t altogether new. It was used in tea for centuries before. In 2017–18 a fad?/trend has emerged for putting the color changing ingredient in gin.
Gin Magic changes color because the butterfly pea changes color in the presence of acid (such as tonic water). There is now at least ten to twenty such gins on the market (enough to warrant entire articles devoted to lists of them), and seemingly more each passing month. All have a gorgeous translucent sapphire hue and all turn pink— slightly— in cocktails.
Gin Magic’ nose is rather plain at first. Dry juniper hovers at the top with slight coriander and spice notes. A hint of dried raspberries and musk melon emerges— amazingly, the fruit notes seem to be a bit more tenacious, holding on— though all seem to be gone rather quickly. Gin Magic quickly quiets.
To the taste Gin Magic has sweet orange zest notes early, a crisp hibiscus and berry herbal tea mid-palate, and a dry semi-astringent finish. It’s a little less overtly fruit and berry-forward than others like Sharish for example.
I found at least the magic a bit underwhelming. The color change in a Gin and Tonic is less vivid than others. Though maybe that has to do with travel, resting time of altitude. The video on their Facebook page shows more pronounced color change than I was getting.
As a drink though, I think it is better with a floral or citrus tonic water to lift it up a bit. The flavor is a bit dry with a normal tonic. I do think that although that may appeal to some, there’s a challenge with the market Gin Magic is appealing too— people tend to expect these gins to be a bit more boldly contemporary with literal fruit and jammy flavors. That’s not Gin Magic at all.
Overall, Gin Magic
Simply tasted as a gin, Gin Magic fails to deliver on a few fronts. The palate is dry and unbalanced and juniper is a bit of an afterthought. Which is sad because a more vivacious juniper would do a lot on the dull nose and mid-palate.
The finish is astringent but rather lacking in flavor. The botanicals don’t work or string themselves together. It’s a Hibiscus Tea with other things hanging around, not really working with or off one another.
In a crowded marketplace, certainly color might help you stand out a bit on the shelf. Gin Magic just doesn’t have enough magic where it counts— on the palate.