Il Gin del Professore Monsieur Jerry Thomas Speakeasy is designed in the style of early Old Tom gins.
As you might guess based on the name, this gin is a collaboration between Antica Distilleria Quaglia (producers of Grappa and Vermouth) and the Jerry Thomas Speakeasy in Rome, it leverages Antica’s expertise in Vermouth making to create a gin that straddles the line between aperitif and gin. Botanicals are macerated directly in grape spirit, making it in an Old Tom in the bathtub/compounded style.
Color: Transparent goldenrod
Aroma: Sweet spiciness to the nose. Heady cinnamon bark, bordering on cinnamon red hots, sits atop notes of vanilla, lavender flower, orange peel, and the subtlest hint of juniper.
Flavor: Spicy, again hints of buttery vanillin, lemon curd, and a fair amount of cinnamon. The cinnamon warms on the mid-palate before seguing into a slightly more floral moment where chamomile and honey notes shine.
Finish: Buttery, with a hint of toffee, lemon rind and some additional cinnamon and spicy warmth and lavender. Complex and mildly spicy.
Cocktails and suggested serves
Like many bathtub style gins, Il Gin del Professore Monsieur because of its process will add color to cocktails. Bartenders should be conscious of this as some drinks may appear muddier or have a color less appetizing than expected.
For me, the hardest part of mixing with this gin was not the color but the flavor profile. It worked well enough in a Negroni, but overall this gin is best served neat or over an ice cube. It’s simply not a pliable mixing gin.
Overall, Il Gin del Professore Monsieur
The whole Il Gin del Professore line of bathtub gins are somewhat challenging mixing spirits and don’t lend themselves as easily to cocktails that aren’t designed specifically around them.
However, where it really struggles is in the botanical balance and its stability in the bottle. I find that some of the gins in this line change rather dramatically over time, which can make it somewhat unpredictable. Secondly, the overall botanical profile is unbalanced, perhaps because of similar maceration times (or other factors). The cinnamon in my bottle seemed to dominate all the rest, and unfortunately, detracted from some of the other botanicals, like the chamomile, which were adding uniqueness and complexity.
Bathtub and compound gins are a tricky style to master. While Monsieur isn’t my favorite in the Il Gin del Professore lineup, it certainly isn’t a bad gin. It merely leaves ample room for improvement, although fans of bold literal botanicals, especially cinnamon, will likely find a gin worth trying. In the hands of the right bartender, building cocktails around its flavor profile, they might even find a winner.