When we first reviewed Golden Moon Gin— it was way back in 2012. The craft and local gin movement was in its infancy. Golden Moon Distillery was among a handful of local gins carving out space in a market dominated by big names and established brands.
In 2019, Golden Moon Distillery is increasing its capacity twenty-five-fold with a six million dollar expansion. Master distiller Steven Gould and the distillery team were recognized as Distillery of the Year by the American Distilling Institute. And although Golden Moon Gin is far from the only floral-forward gin on the international scene, their profile in the spirits community continues to soar.
But not much has changed about their flagship Golden Moon Gin.
It’s still distilled in Golden, Colorado. Gould still sources juniper locally (one such juniper tree is just outside the distillery— you might even call it hyper-local). It’s distilled from a base spirit of grain and was inspired by pre-prohibition era gin recipes.
The nose is its signature, Golden Moon Gin begins with a bright brush of straight French lavender. There’s a menthol coolness with sweet mint and a skosh of herbaceous, green juniper. It’s very contemporary in its approach.
The palate is round and freshly herbal. The juniper is bright and herbaceous with a hint of Douglas Fir. Mint especially early on lends a brisk coolness to the palate. Lavender comes on strong and is Golden Moon Gin’s heart.
The flavor evolves and becomes a bit greener as rosemary and tarragon notes develop in the back and sides of the palate. Ultimately, the finish retains a bit of that tarragon notes with dried lavender fading.
The spirit itself has a pleasant mouth feel with a slight viscosity to it. Golden Moon Gin also has a delicate warmth when sipped neat. On its own, it’s a delicious floral-forward contemporary style gin with an intense herbal edge.
Bartenders will find Golden Moon is an affable gin for cocktail-craft; however, it shouldn’t be swapped in place for a customer who is looking for a more classic-style gin. Gordon’s or Plymouth this isn’t—
Among my favorite cocktails with this gin is the Negroni. It’s floral, bright and surprising. In a Gin and Tonic it’s almost like a summer afternoon in an herb garden, the timbre of the floral character lends itself well to sweeter tonics, even elderflower ones.
The lavender on the nose stays around for a long time, even in a Martini slowly sipped. Further, the botanical character is strong and remains impressively dominant even with heavy hits of Vermouth, such as 1:1 Martini. Fans of Hendrick’s Dirty Martinis might even want to consider swapping in Golden Moon Gin. The salty, vinegary astringency notes of an olive garnish or a healthy pour of brine suit the lavender and mint notes quite nicely.
Overall, Golden Moon Gin
Unabashedly contemporary, Golden Moon embraced a new flavor profile and remains one of the category’s standard bearers. Over the years, it’s ruffled the feathers of more than a few critics— but I think for those looking for a floral/herb forward gin with adventure and great mixability, Golden Moon Gin is it.
Recommended in its category.