The “88” in Linden Leaf 88 Molecular gin refers to the eighty-eight different molecular compounds responsible for its aroma and flavor. To get to that lofty number of molecules, they use 28 different botanicals.
What is 88 divided by 28? It’s a cute little Easter egg of sorts. 3.14 molecules per botanical. I’m looking forward to that round flavor profile.
Now let’s get on to the Molecular part of the name. The brand was founded by three Cambridge scientists with a self described passion for ingredients and unusual cooking methods. They use a diverse range of techniques, but especially low temperature extraction to distill botanicals carefully without destroying any aromatic molecules. Further, they use gas chromatography to identify molecular peaks and assess their gins. If the intersection of science and gin appeals to you— they describe their process and philosophy in greater detail on their website.
We are reviewing Batch 4.
Color: Perfectly clear
Aroma: Powdery floral with oily citrus, and a touch of camphor. It reads as slightly medicinal.
Unpacking it a bit— a touch of hay, wooodruff, and gardenia with oily lemon peel. The citrus note is far more richer, with some notes of bergamot and citron. It’s a complex accord that is hard to pick apart. Peppery juniper is present with some sweet baking spice background qualities— cubeb, nutmeg, coriander and cardamom. Incredibly complex Linden Leaf 88 Molecular Gin is more like a perfume than a gin.
Flavor: Melon, yuzu and candied lime zest come across early. Bright citrus begins to form the backbone. Next, menthol and fresh bright juniper come through— with lime still holding solid in the background. Late, some of the gin’s spice notes begin to come through with some vivid cantaloupe character.
Finish: Becoming more herbal at the end, especially as the cantaloupe note recedes. The green character is indistinct, though I get some notes of lemon thyme, winter savory, and the name on the front of the bottle— the humble Linden Leaf.
Cocktails and suggested serves
Bold, flavorful, aromatic and somewhat less traditional— Linden Leaf 88 Molecular Gin is a somewhat challenging mixer that doesn’t like to go quietly. Expect it to try and overpower the other ingredients. I greatly preferred it in drinks like The Last Word to classics like the Negroni or Gin and Tonic.
Bartenders are best advised to build drinks around this gin rather than expecting it to elevate a classic. It really is a bit of its own thing. If I were to pick one classic drink that best highlighted this gin it would be the Martini. With so many botanicals and such a strong emphasis on nose and palate complexity, you might be best trying to driest of all Martinis— or just sipping this gin chilled or neat.
Overall, Linden Leaf 88 Molecular Gin
The best way to look at Linden Leaf 88 Molecular Gin is as a science project. When intense attention is given to each botanical, wonderful things can happen.
However, this is also its greatest flaw. It’s too much of a good thing. The gin lacks focus and there’s a cacophony of beautiful botanicals shouting at the same time.
Fans of bold contemporary gins will enjoy Linden Leaf 88 Molecular Gin. Fans of classic juniper-forward gins will find juniper present, but not the star. Gin nerds should come for the science and adventure— but the end product is very niche and is best suited for those who prefer their gin outside of cocktails.