Review – G’Vine Gin
Spend any time getting to know the gin category and one thing that will stand out is that there is an extraordinary variety within the category. Whilst juniper is ever-present, the infinite combinations of other botanicals makes for a very interesting category. Whilst much is made of the list of botanicals in different gins, much less fuss is made of the huge impact that the balance of these botanicals has on the end product.
Nowhere is this more evident than with the two G’Vine gins which use the same botanicals in each, but in different recipes so as to create two distinct products. Nutmeg, cubeb berries, ginger root, liquorice, lime, cassia bark, green cardamom, coriander, juniper and vine flower are macerated as whole fruits into neutral spirit distilled from grapes in both cases but the balance between them creates two very different gins.
Nose: The vine flower battles with the juniper upfront on the nose and it is immediately obvious this is a very different gin. The floral aroma’s mask somewhat the other botanicals which sit quietly in the background to provide a backbone with which to support the main event.
Neat: Sure enough, the floral grape character dominates the palate even more than the nose. Juniper makes a fleeting appearance, just enough to ward off any allegations that this gin strays too far from the standard. The mid-palate is a full on perfumed hit of grape and (although not present as a botanical) chamomile. The liquorice manages to stick its head above the perfume briefly and there is the mildest hint of ginger spice on the finish.
Mixing: The floral element is so dominant in this gin that it has very limited appeal in gin-heavy cocktails such as the Dry Martini or even a gin and tonic. In fact it would be all too easy to dismiss this gin straight off for being too heavy on the perfume-esque notes. However, perseverance in mixing with bolder flavours pays off, and of the two it is the better in drinks such as the Negroni or the Last Word where the gin adds a delightful lightness to the drink. If there was ever a gin that grows on you the more you drink it, it is this.
Signature Cocktail – G’Vine Orchid
1.5oz G’Vine Floraison, 1.5oz pink grapefruit juice, 0.5oz sugar syrup, 1.5oz Champagne
Shake first three ingredients with ice and strain over ice into a collins glass. Top with Champagne.
Nose: A more classic gin nose with the juniper the dominant force upfront, although still reasonably restrained. The floral elements are still present but pleasingly delicately so in the background, allowing the other botanicals such as nutmeg, coriander and cardamom to have a shot at the action.
Neat: Smooth but with a robust bite of spice. The juniper is more prominent than the Floraison but as with the nose, restrained compared with many gins. The botanicals are well balanced such that with the exception of the clear focus on spicier notes, none dominate. This time the floral elements hang on until the finish before making an appearance, where they offer an interesting but slightly jarring contrast.
Mixing: Despite being the more enjoyable of the two tasted neat, the Nouaison is less successful when mixed. The disappointment is only relative to the Floraison, and by no means is this a bad mixing gin at all. The ‘problem’ lies in the not entirely successful combination of warm spice and floral notes which in cocktails making use of other bold flavours often results in an awkward mix. By contest however, this is the more enjoyable of the two in simple drinks such as the G+T and Dry Martini where its own profile is not confused with other flavours.
Signature Cocktail – G’Vine Ruby
1.5oz G’Vine Nouaison, 0.5oz cherry cream, 0.5oz blackcurrant cream, 0.25oz sugar syrup, 0.5oz lemon juice, 0.5oz pomegranate juice, 1.5oz Champagne
Shake all ingredients except Champagne with ice and strain over ice into a collins glass. Top with Champagne.
G’Vine gins offer two very different interpretations of the same botanical mix. From the intensely floral Floraison to the spicier Nouaison, there’s something for everyone in these well-made spirits. The Floraison is the one to go for, it’s intense floral profile won’t please everyone in gin-forward libations but it makes for a fine cocktail when partnered with some bolder ingredients.
G’Vine Gin is available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.