Jaisalmer Gin

The Indian spirits group Radico Khaitan boldly forged into the “Indian Craft Gin” space with their launch of Jaisalmer Gin in fall 2018.

It’s distilled at the Rampur Distillery, Radico’s largest, by master distiller Anup Barik. The gin is distilled in a copper pot still and sources seven of their botanicals from India adding a sense of terroir. Among those is the important perfume crop Vetiver. Some have estimated that vetiver is an ingredient in nearly 90%+ of mass market perfumes around the world. It is found in gin infrequently.

Indian coriander is widely used around the world because the warm climate leads to larger fruits. But in the case of Jaisalmer this widely used ingredient is a local touch.

Tasting Notes

Jaisalmer Gin reads as quite classic as first nose. Zesty lemon, piquant citrus and spice coriander leads, with a grassy verdant undertone lending it depth. Juniper is quiet, but the aroma accord reads as familiar.

Quiet at first, Jaisalmer Gin rises with mellow lemon flesh and soft juniper. All of this warms and becomes a bit more punchy. Soft pepper corn, mild hints of woodruff and hay segue into a citrus tinged finish. Lemon flesh becomes zestier with a hint of pith. The licorice root adds a creamy background texture.

The finish of Jaisalmer Gin is medium length with a dull radiant warmth, boosting faint notes of spice and citrus oils.

Cocktails

Despite its provenance and evocative back story, Jaisalmer Gin will be immediately recognizable to many as a fairly classic style gin. The more exotic notes like the tea and the vetiver are subtle. The real stars are the citrus, juniper and spice notes you might expect to find in gin.

Because of that, bartenders will find it a versatile ingredient behind the counter. Jaisalmer Gin is a pleasant gin and tonic that hits all of the expected notes. You get some lemon. You get some juniper. And you get a touch of coriander and spice.

It also welcomes a combination with floral ingredients and other citrus ingredients. Florals like the Aviation will play up that hint of woodruff in the backgounds. Citrus drinks like the Tom Collins will amplify the coriander and juniper.

In the bar, Jaisalmer is versatile, though it’s slight hint of heat and rather standard palate makes it less of a go-to in my opinion for gin-forward drinks like a Martini.

Overall, Jaisalmer Gin

Fans of classic style gins— in particular ones like Bombay Sapphire— I think will find Jaisalmer is playing precisely to their sensibilities.  Some might say that the more expected (cliché?) take on Asian botanicals is present in Bombay Sapphire East than in Jaisalmer Gin.

In short, Jaisalmer Gin shows that the accord of flavor that we associate with London Dry Gin is truly a worldwide phenomenon. Although Jaisalmer incorporates local botanicals, it stands in stark contrast to some of the recently released Japanese gins as the local ingredients don’t create something new— as much as support something traditional.

If you’re looking for a literal taste of India— look elsewhere. If you’re looking for an Indian take on a nearly two-and-a-half-centuries-old tradition, Jaisalmer Gin is your gin.

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