Sigil Gin

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Sigil Gin’s and Altar Spirits’ Distiller Caley Shoemaker has an enviable distilling pedigree. She began her career at Stranahan’s in Colorado.Then she went on to be head distiller at Hangar One. In 2020 she moved to Santa Fe and opened Altar Spirits.

Their flagship Sigil Gin is an ode to New Mexico. It prominently features a trio of botanicals that conjure the aroma and botanical heritage of the region: sage, piñon and juniper. The botanicals are vapor distilled with a base spirit from grain and is bottled at 42% ABV.

Tasting notes

Aroma: Sage, sagebrush, juniper and coriander. There’s a delicate underlying nuttiness reminiscent of pecan.

Flavor: More strongly herbaceous on the palate than the nose. Early hints of spice give way to a bold sage and juniper driven mid-palate. Menthol coolness becomes more pronounced as the sage gives way to some other botanicals: cinnamon bark, nutmeg, fennel seed and a bit more coriander seed.

Sigil Gin is botanically complex and while it does conjure the aromas of the Pinyon-Juniper woodlands of New Mexico, it does so squarely within some of the traditional bounds of gin.

Finish: The sage lends a long mentholic haze to the finish. Very long and gently cool with clear sage character and a subtle nuttiness.

Cocktails and suggested serves

Sigil Gin is very much a specialty gin with a strong camphor-laden coolness and therefore it can be a challenging mixer. Especially if you expect it to be perfectly in accord with the ingredients in all gin cocktails.

Because the signature botanical is sage and not mint, the natural menthol notes of mint make Sigil Gin a great gin for a South Side or a Julep. It pairs well with tonic, especially floral and light tonic waters. I preferred sipping it neat or on the rocks. Though Martini fans will also find it a great pairing for most vermouths.

Avoid dessert or creamy drinks like the Ramos Gin Fizz or Clover Club.

Overall, Sigil Gin

Sigil Gin is a beautiful gin that tells a story of place, while honoring the category’s roots. While it can be difficult for bartenders to pair, those who do craft cocktails around the things that Sigil Gin does well will be rewarded.

Captivating and delicious, Sigil Gin is worth seeking out for fans of contemporary and herbal gins.

Highly Recommended in its category.


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