I talk at length about the Sacred Spirits Company in my book Gin: the Art and Craft of the Artisan Revival, so if you want to read more about distiller Ian Hart’s incredible setup, I suggest you take a look there. But now we look closer at Ian’s love letter to the botanical coriander.
Coriander is the second most frequently used botanical in gin; however, rarely is it a showpiece just itself. The bottle says “with dry and spicy notes,” however, coriander is much more complex than often given credit for. In some preparations it has a dusty, spicy, slightly flamed orange peel, sort of aroma. Other times it can be slightly fruity, with linalool combining with other botanicals and dominating. But in most cases, distillers use coriander to add a depth that’s almost expected. Gordon’s, Beefeater, and Tanqueray, too— all prominently use the seed of the cilantro plant and have been for centuries. It’s nearly as classic as juniper itself.
The Sacred Spirits Company’s line of single amplified botanical gins highlight these unsung heroes of the gin botanical accord.
The nose is sweetly spice laden, with clear notes of coriander. Gentle fruit background note and wet juniper branch. The aroma is quite classic and reminds me a touch of Gordon’s— but with a touch less juniper.
Tasting Sacred Coriander Gin begins with a delicate spice. Combinations of ginger, licorice and cinnamon all at once, but the dust settles and mid-palate is a sweetly, citrus tinged burst of fresh cracked coriander seed. Juniper occupies a background space for much of this, coming through towards the back of the palate, adding a light piney juniper flavor as the dusty citrus and spice begin to fade. Through this fade, it’s the angelica which comes through most vividly.
The finish is quite long. There’s a bit of heat, but mostly coriander with hints of cardamom and angelica. Mostly dry, but vividly botanical-driven. If you dig coriander, you’ll probably enjoy Sacred Coriander Gin.
While a few others have recommended tart lime drinks like The Gimlet or Gin Fizz, I find that it’s not as well balanced. Though the citrus adds brightness and contrast, it’s not as successful to me as pairing Sacred Coriander with coriander’s and spice-forward contemporary style gin’s natural dance partners— spiced and/or aromatized wines.
The warmth of the water in a Hot Toddy allows the delicate top note of Sacred’s Coriander to blossom. Similarly, the coriander is bold enough to stand out in a Negroni, while the nuttiness makes an unusual but pecan pie invoking Gin Alexander.
Sacred Coriander Gin is truth in advertising. It’s a coriander forward gin. Fans of the botanical— especially Americans whose inexpensive brands often have a heavier hit of coriander than their European counterparts— may find this gin quite familiar.
Gin geeks who want to learn more about gin botanicals will also find this a welcome addition to their home cabinet. Otherwise, bartenders and general gin drinkers should treat it like a spice-forward contemporary gin. While nice, it occupies the most crowded space of the contemporary gin category.