Lyonel Dry Gin was one of my favorite discoveries while writing my most recent book. From Weimar, Germany, organic botanicals are distilled in copper stills over an open flame and then bottled at a palate pleasing 50% ABV. It is less intense than Navy Strength Gin, and while still ideal for cocktails, I find it to be sippable on its own. But here I am already diving into tasting notes, let’s go:
Nose is bright and clearly spice-forward contemporary style with lots of cardamom and coriander, hints of juniper, lavender and mint lie just a bit further back. It’s intensely and vividly botanical, teetering just on the edge of having too much ABV to be something you want to breathe in too deeply. It’s loud, but I find it very inviting.
The palate of Lyonel Dry Gin has a whole lot more of the aforementioned spice-forward notes on it. There’s notes of musky rose, a heady coriander bouquet mid-palate, juniper and cumin and fennel seeds on the finish with a fairly heavy mouthfeel. The finish is long, incredibly warm and very spice forward: cardamom and coriander seem to dominate, but there’s a hint of pine just along the edges. Although not exceptionally thick on the palate, the finish seems to go on and on and on.
The bold botanical flavor could make this an ideal gin for experimenting with in a bar. Even at smaller quantities like in a regular ratio Last Word or Negroni, it comes through. I also recommend it in Martini and other Martini-like drinks like the Pascal Martini or Alaska Cocktail because it melds so nicely with slightly sweet and slightly bitter ingredients; however, it does require some extra dilution. I’d say for a Martini, stir with wet ice for slightly longer than usual, or if you’re feeling quick— add a dash of water. Remember, most bartenders don’t normally make Martinis with 100 proof gins, so even with a touch more dilution than usual, you’re getting a great smooth flavor.
I also enjoyed the Gin and Tonic here, but I think it’s really most at home in cocktails, though fans of cardamom, coriander and juniper will likely be pleased with the G&T and stop there. Bartenders looking for a versatile gin to add an international contemporary gin flare to their program will likely find quite a bit here to enjoy.
Versatile and flavorful, fans of contemporary styled gins with a spice-forward perspective (especially those with a cardamom note) will enjoy Lyonel Dry Gin. Those who prefer very juniper-forward classic gins may find this one to be a little light on the juniper.
Overall, I love the 50% ABV, the bright spice-forward flavor and its work in cocktails in particular. It’s a good contemporary-style gin worth a closer look if you’re in Germany for sure.