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Gin Review: Citadelle Reserve

September 24, 2011 1 comment

Citadelle Reserve - 2009 (Cask 18/21 -- Bottle No. 114) Citadelle Reserve Gin (2009)
Distiller: Citadelle Gin
Spirit: Cognac Barrel-Aged Gin
Price: $31.00
ABV: 44%

Nose:
A perfect balance of juniper, floral notes, citrus and grapefruit, with a subtle note of vanilla — this is truly delightful.

Taste: 
Juniper, flowers, grapefruit, and white wine (riesling) are up front, while citrus sits in the second row. Vanilla is in the peanut gallery. Incredibly, I can actually taste many of the 19 botanicals they use. Most gins use a lot of botanicals to create a couple main tasting notes. However, Citadelle Reserve manages to maintain an incredibly complex balance between every ingredient. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before.

Finish: 
As smooth as they come. Grapefruit and vanilla are more pronounced near the end, whereas juniper and citrus dissipate. Fairly quick finish – it doesn’t linger around, but rather disappears, leaving your mouth in anticipation of the next sip.

Cocktail: 
While this is a sipping gin if there ever was one, it is a chief contender for the best martini gin on the market, regardless of price. It brings a whole new level of complexity to cocktails which I had previously never experienced. As for gin and tonic, while it does a terrific job, I frankly prefer it’s less prestigious younger brother (Citadelle Gin) partially because I have a hard time justifying using this gin in anything other than a martini due to it’s limited release, and also because melting ice will overwhelm much of the subtle complexity of this gin. All this being said, you cannot possibly go wrong introducing this gin into any of your gin cocktails.

Please note: if you are having a martini with this gin, use a lemon twist, or perhaps, a cocktail onion; olives work, but to truly compliment Citadelle Reserve, citrus works best.

Bottle: 
This is one of my all time favorite bottles. I love that it is very similar to the original Citadelle gin, but with an added elegant luster. The nautical theme and foreign script transport me to a place where I am not simply drinking gin, but rather, a naval chemist’s concoction which required the traversing of the tumultuous open seas in order to discover necessary exotic ingredients. Finally, The black and gold lettering make the gin’s gold color pop which helps remind you that you are about to drink something special (this gin is aged in cognac barrels which give it its golden hue).

Conclusion:
Richard:
Firstly, I would be in the wrong to review this spirit and not mention what is obviously the most intriguing characteristic about it: the color, and the process by which it receives it. This gin has been aged in oak barrels from the Cognac region of France (where this gin is distilled); the oak barrels tone down the citrus slightly from what was previously a notably citrus-heavy gin, and they introduce a note of vanilla similar to that of a whisky. It also gives it a beautiful golden color which, in turn, creates a martini that is damned beautiful to look at. Secondly, this is by far  the most complex and perfectly balanced gin I have yet to taste. Actually, it’s one of the most perfectly balanced spirits I have ever had the pleasure of sipping. Not only is this gin something to which all other gins should aspire, but its perfect execution of form and style is something to which all spirits should aspire. Not a single flaw can be found in this spirit, and it leaves nothing to be desired; it fulfills every fantasy I’ve ever had about gin. From its presentation to its incredibly unique palate, it delivers an unparalleled Spiritus-Juniperus experience. Quite simply, there is nothing like this gin, and every gin enthusiast should, with incredible speed, attempt to attain a bottle for him or herself. This is quite possible the easiest 10-out-of-10 I will ever give to a spirit (and rightfully so, seeing as it is the most exclusive gin in the world with only 21 small casks being released in a year — 1,200 bottles).


Categories: Gin, Reviews

Gin Review: Ransom

December 18, 2010 1 comment


Ransom Old Tom Gin:
Distiller: Ransom Spirits
Spirit: Barrel-aged Old Tom Gin
Price:  $37.00
ABV: 44%

Nose:
It’s bold complexity of the malty grains, citrus, juniper, coriander, and cardamom combined to create one of, if not the most interesting gin nose I’ve ever experienced.

Taste:
My first sip yielded an obvious kick of malty deliciousness and a spicy finish accompanied by a large grin. Upon further sipping, I noticed notes of orange, citrus, other fruits, and even tobacco (which, I assume, came from the barrel aging). It is sweeter than a London Dry: that, along with its spiciness, almost make this gin similar to a scotch or bourbon. Many reviews mentioned that this is a whiskey drinker’s gin, and I could not agree more. I am currently sipping it straight, no rocks, no vermouth, no tonic: nothing. It’s delicious.

Cocktail:
Stay tuned for my post about holiday cocktails where I will discuss some classic cocktails for the cold weather holidays.

Bottle:
The folks at Ransom distillery created a handsome bottling for this gin. The lettering and border around the label give it a pre-prohibition era appeal, yet there is also a touch of modern style. As always, if the manufacturer manages to properly mix the old style with the new, they get two thumbs up from me, and Ransom has certainly just that. This bottle looks great on my shelf, and will complement any home bar.

Conclusion:
Several things came to mind while drinking this gin. Firstly, gin is strangely complex, and although it certainly tastes like gin, there is a distinct similarity to bourbon as well; this is vastly different from any other gin I have ever had. The most common gin today is the London Dry, but I sense that American gin companies might prove themselves as game-changers quite soon, and we might see a resurgence of classic style Old Tom Gins as well as new breeds of aromatic gins à la Bluecoat Gin. Finally, this is absolutely, and immediately one of my favorite spirits. It is unlike anything else on my bar, and the quality of this gin sets the standard to which all other Old Tom gins should aspire. Ransom Old Tom Gin will be a permanent member of my home bar; the flavor is incredibly diverse — I can imagine substituting this in a cocktail recipes calling for bourbons, scotches, or even tequilas (Old Tom gin margaritas, anyone?!).


Reviewed by Richard Borean

Categories: American Spirits, Gin, Reviews

Gin Review: Bluecoat


Bluecoat American Dry Gin:

Distiller: Philadelphia Distilling
Spirit: American Dry Gin
Price: $26.95
ABV: 47%

Nose:
Intense notes of juniper and bitter orange. Lighter notes of citrus, coriander, and a slew of other things my palate did not recognize. I have had quite a few gins in my time, but this is something truly different (and refreshingly so).

Taste:
Oh, boy! Does have full force punch, or what?! The intense orange note smacks you in the mouth, but is equally matched my the sublime juniper finish. Behind these two flavors lies an incredibly complex array of notes ranging from cardamom and coriander to citrus. Despite the intense flavor, this gin is remarkably well balanced.

Cocktail:
The Martini.
After a straight sip of this potent potable, I new I had to try it in a martini. I brought out my Martini & Rossi dry vermouth, fresh pimento stuffed olives, and a cocktail glass, and proceeded to prepare for myself a 4-to-1 martini with 2 olives. And what can I say? It was one of the best martinis I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. The vermouth and olives never overpowered the flavor of the gin, and the taste was simply divine.

(Note: does very well with both a lemon twist or an olive)

Bottle:
Classic. This bottle is both elegant and rustic. It’s imperfect symmetry and hand-blown appearance connote images of colonial America. Meanwhile, it’s exotic blue glass politely requests a showcase spot on your bar. The perfect mix of antique and contemporary.

Conclusion:
Richard:
This is now one of my favorite gins. If you are looking for an intense gin that offer something quite different compared to the typical gin flavors, you owe it to yourself to try Bluecoat out. It works incredibly well in cocktails, but would also do well over some ice with a lemon or lime. In short: if you like gin, pick this bottle up for that special occasion when your regular, go-to gin isn’t going to cut it, and you want something a little special and somewhat different with a strong citrus palate.

 

Reviewed by Richard Borean