If the retail price of spices by the ounce is any indication, there might be only two better than cardamom and one better than vanilla: Saffron. These extraordinary threads from the Saffron Crocus have been used as both a spice and colorant for centuries, hence given its bright hue it should come as no surprise that many gins which choose to add the priceless botanical do so post distillation via infusion. This insures firstly that your spirit will have a gentle golden hue. Secondly, it will ensure that the delicate flavor is clear and present (it would take much, much more saffron to get the same pronounced flavor through distillation). As the price is high, and infusion ensures a little will go along way, all of the major gins on the market (including Indian Summer) do so by this methodology. A couple other notable gins have done as Indian Summer Saffron Infused Gin, for example Gabriel Boudier’s Saffron Infused Gin.
Indian Summer Saffron Infused Gin itself has only the slightest golden tint to it (much closer to the aforementioned Old Raj than Gabriel Boudier). A bit of saffron is available on the nose, lending an otherwise exotic note to what comes across as a rather classical styled gin. Juniper, angelica and some elegant, exotic leaning coriander make for an inviting, bright (summery even?) opening.
On the palate, more citrus comes through of Indian Summer Gin: orange zest, cinnamon bark, and pine accented juniper, with the juniper notes taking quite a prominent place in the mid-late palate. Towards the finish, the glow of the Saffron is more evident, creating a warm, spiced halo, with clear, vibrant splashes of peppercorn and citrus peel. Medium long finish, that delivers on the promise of saffron, with a pleasant warmth as well. Deceptively smooth for 92 proof, it manages to walk the tricky line of gin and infused gin, and comes out without being too much either. It’s bright and aromatic, with some of the more traditional botanicals shining through along with the Saffron. Indian Summer Gin is among those gins which ground themselves strongly in a classic style botanical bill and add one unique touch to push things forward. In this case its Saffron, and the subtlety works coming across as slightly more contemporary than classic, but in a way that finds a middle ground between the two.
Indian Summer Gin takes a classic-style botanical bill, infuses some saffron and comes out with what could be a winner. Smartly bottled at over 90 proof, the flavors are clear and vibrant, and the spirit is smooth and dry. Classic style gin fans will find something to like here, with familiar botanicals highlighted along-side the saffron. Fans of contemporary gin, might find it a little less ambitious than the name might imply. Indian Summer Gin aims to appeal to both audiences, and from this vantage point looks to have pulled it off. As a preliminary rating, we like the direction here and would love to have a chance to put it to the test in a series of cocktails.