South America is often not a region you readily think of when you think of gin; however, the craft and local-inspired gin movement is truly global at this point. Peru has become an exciting place for the intersection of local botanicals and gin culture— take for example London to Lima Gin and Gin’ca Peruvian Dry Gin.
Gin’ca Peruvian Dry Gin starts from a base spirit distilled from Peru-grown sugar cane, which is something we’re seeing quite a bit from countries whose distilling traditions are steeped in Rum. Take for example San Miguel from the Philippines, Wray and Nephew from Jamaica or the Dictador series of gins from Columbia: they all begin with cane, which albeit less traditional from a historical and European gin viewpoint, these gins forge new traditions.
This Peruvian Gin description reminds me of the way some of the Australian gins describe their unique botanical selections, rife with endemic, exotic flora that w’ere unfamiliar with. The pink-colored molle/Schinus Molle is probably better known as Pink Peppercorn to spice shoppers, and it is native to the Andes mountains in Peru.
The only thing which is not local in Gin’ca is the juniper. Juniper’s range is circumboreal in the Northern Hemisphere with very few species having any Southern Hemisphere presence; therefore, large local sources don’t exist [Gin’ca’s juniper is sourced from Macedonia] But other than that, this Peruvian Gin is Peruvian in construction, distilled at the Inca Distillery in Lima Peru in a copper pot still. Some of the botanicals are macerated for a day before distillation, and the others are imparted through a basket.
Slight hint of cane spirit and a lot of sweet citrus. Notes of sweet lime and orange, with a touch of sweetness. Almost suggestive of candy. There’s a fresh green note in the background imparting a slight herbal character. Not much juniper though.
The palate is complex and exotic in a really bright herbal fashion. Starting at the beginning, there’s crisp juniper notes and herbal flourishes. Lemon verbena notes turn into more literal lemon zest, hints of Pineapple sage and other leafy, aromatic greens. Peppercorn in the background. I get some suggestive hints of black pepper and cubeb, but other than a slight menthol coolness, less so of the very distinctive flavor of pink peppercorn.
The finish is heavy on the citrus again, with that sweet lime/orange note coming through. Rather short and clean finish, with very little heat.
I think that Gin’ca Peruvian Dry Gin is absolutely top notch in a Martini, where you can really appreciate the complexity and balance of the flavors here. It was a bit too subtle for a lot of heavier mixing. The Gin and Tonic was a bit sweet, and some of the citrus comes through in the Aviation; but I really enjoyed this best on its own as a sipping gin. I preferred it simply. Just on its own.
Other who are fans of gins like New Amsterdam or other very contemporary citrus forward gins that are light on the juniper, I think fill find a lot to like with Gin’ca Peruvian Dry Gin. When I think of what New Amsterdam (for example) tries to do, this is an example of a gin which does that and does it really well.
Hardcore juniper fans will find it a bit light in that facet; however, it is definitely here. Very easy to sip and a good choice for spirit-heavy gin cocktails. I quite like it, and strongly recommend it as a gateway gin for introducing new people to the category; unfortunately it’s relative inaccessibility might limit its potential, at least for European/North American audiences.
Recommended, particularly to people new to gin
*Special thanks to David T. Smith, who was able to hook me up with a small sample of this intriguing gin. Thanks buddy!
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