Castle & Key Distillery’s Roots of Ruin Gin is as much about the base spirit as its botanicals.
It begins from the same mashbill as their rye— 17% corn, 20% malted barley, and 63% rye. The botanicals are added via vapor distillation and includes a balance of classic botanicals and some slightly unusual ones, like lemon verbena and chamomile.
We’re reviewing Batch No. 5
Aroma: Chamomile immediately lends Roots of Ruin Gin a predominantly floral nose, with hints of spice on the edges.
Flavor: Rosemary shows up early, dominating the pine character in this gin, at the expense of juniper throughout. The base spirit is subtle. Fans of unaged whiskeys will definitely pick up on some distinctive rye character mid-palate.
Then, the botanicals rise to a crescendo— lemon verbena, chamomile tea and a subtle impression of vanilla seamlessly weave into a heady notes of ginger and rosemary oil with a touch of linalool.
Finish: Rather long, with rosemary and other earthy baking spice notes lingering on the palate. Sipped neat, the 53% ABV becomes quite evident as there’s an impressive and lasting warmth.
Cocktails and suggested serves
Roots of Ruin’s relatively high ABV means that its flavor stands out even when mixed in cocktails. Works well in a Negroni as well as in a classic gin and tonic.
The gin itself doesn’t have a lot of citrus; therefore it can be a nice counterpoint to fresh citrus in a cocktail. Try it in a White Lady or Gimlet.
Perhaps its biggest shortcoming cocktails is the same that can be said of it being sipped neat: there’s just not a lot of juniper to go around. Especially in cocktails, you’re going to taste the rosemary, chamomile and ginger.
Overall, Roots of Ruin Gin
Roots of Ruin Gin is a nice balance of the flavors it does choose to showcase— however, fans of classic gin will be disappointed that those flavors aren’t any of the core gin botanicals.
Because of this, some might describe this gin as more of a botanical spirit. But, overall it’s a pretty good one.