Iceland may be a small nation, but it punches well above it’s weight in terms of gin. In others words, there’s a lot of good gin being distilled in Iceland. Glacierfire is the first craft Icelandic tonic maker, and Glacierfire Botanic Tonic Water is one of six(!) in their lineup.
Firstly, all of Glacierfire’s tonic waters are sugar free. They use sucralose. The quinine is sourced from Africa and their water comes from Icelandic Langjökull glacier melt. The water also gives Glacierfire Elderflower Tonic Water a pH of 8.88.
Glacierfire Elderflower Tonic Water is an elderflower tonic water— a space so crowded already that it might be deserving of a category unto itself. Enter Glacierfire into the ring— along side Jeffrey’s, Fever Tree, Jack Rudy, Bottle Green, and those are just the ones I’ve reviewed. Of course that even ignores how popular it is as a signature botanical: Warner Edwards, Gordon’s, Knockeen Hills—I guess elderflower truly is the ketchup of the cocktail world…
Glacierfire Elderflower Tonic Water has a beautiful effervescence when poured. It erupts early and remains quite durably in the glass.
The nose is vaguely sweet with clear notes of elderflower. It immediately suggests a comparison of St. Germain.
Sipped, there’s a hint of the floral early. Elderflower is clean and clear but maybe not even for half a second. It quickly dissipates and is buried in metallic sucralose notes.
Glacierfire Elderflower Tonic Water and M Gin
Mixed with a citrus-forward gin from Minnesota, the gin rounds out the front of the palate. However, the citrus is largely part of the initial flavor profile— meaning that when the citrus and elderflower clears, there’s not much left.
I think that Glacierfire Elderflower Tonic Water would work better with a gin with a long finish or lots of late-palate character. While that’s always a good approach with some zero-calorie sweeteners, in this case it’s more needed because the tonic water concentrates all of its flavor in the front as well. Top note heavy gins aren’t the best accompaniment or counterpoint.
Overall, Glacierfire Elderflower Tonic Water
While others of the tonic waters in the Glacierfire line expertly use a combination of botanicals and flavors to work with the sucralose— Glacierfire Elderflower Tonic Water puts it all at the front of the palate. With nothing to work with late, it leads to a peculiar sweet, metallic flavor devoid of elderflower character.
Ultimately, Glacierfire Elderflower Tonic Water is perhaps among the most underwhelming in the line. Even if you’re not a fan of zero-calorie sweeteners, others like the Botanic tonic water are far more successful painting with the palate that was chosen.