Distillers are like artists. And alike artists there’s often experiments. There’s sketches from the journey. They often say to designers, “kill your darlings.” But what if your “darlings” are just so delicious?
This is the heart of the work behind the Boutique-y Gin Company. These limited edition batches of gin are (quote the press release) “fascinating tweaks,” “secret unreleased pet projects,” “experiments,” or “new concepts designed from scratch” just for this series of gins. Whether found or purposefully constructed, the Boutique-y Gin Company features spirits from well known names in gin that push the boundaries of gin with adventuresome and unusual botanical blends.
McQueen Chocolate Orange Gin comes from the McQueens whose 2016 launch of gins distilled at their Scotland-based Trossach’s distillery pushed boldly into the world of flavored gins, with unusual names such as “Mocha Gin,” “Citrus Gin,” “Smoky Chili Gin,” and “Chocolate Mint Gin.” Given their penchant for experimenting with cocoa nibs in their main product line, McQueen Chocolate Orange Gin should not seem too much of a surprise.
McQueen’s gins features a grain base and locally grown juniper.
The nose is warm, with a scintillating peak of juniper and Seville Orange rind. A bit heavy with weighty, oily notes of bitter orange, it reminds me distinctly of other citrus-forward contemporary style gins.
The palate is thick again with the same citrus notes that were readily available on the nose. Early on there’s a note of dark chocolate. Towards the end there’s a milkier, richer, but still balanced note of cocoa.
McQueen Chocolate Orange Gin is not merely a two note gin. Pine-forward juniper comes on towards the end, along with a hint of angelica, celery seed, and nutmeg, giving it a nice, pleasant spice that fills out the heavy citrus lean.
The finish is medium in length, with juniper, spice, and Neroli. Quite nice overall, just on its own.
Gins that expertly play with finicky botanicals like chocolate without being too literal, feature well in dessert-link drinks such as the Alexander or even the Ramos Gin Fizz, where the cream and orange flower water add some high notes creating a more literal “sweet orange” sensation.
But adventurous gin drinkers I think will appreciate that McQueen Chocolate Orange Gin can make a pretty interesting and unique Negroni.
McQueen Chocolate Orange Gin is an apt opening and introduction to the Boutique-y Gin Company’s concept. An unusual combination that excels as a niche spirit, marketing to those who seek adventure and novelty.
It’s a well-made, worthwhile gin that pushes the envelope while still executing the contemporary citrus-forward style faithfully. Very accessible, and certainly the kind of gin that might even open new eyes to the potential of the gin category— with just enough juniper and spice to warm the hearts of classic gin fans.