Monday, March 16, 2015
Naked Vine One-Hitter O' The Green (Part 3) -- G'Vine Floraison Gin
While wine is my usual tipple, I've been known to drift over to the world of distilled spirits from time to time. I enjoy a good gin Martini (or even better, a Vesper...mmm....), but I've not gone on the deep dive into that world of spirits the same I have with bourbon and rum. I'm always up for trying something new, so I was looking forward to trying this green-capped clear liquor...
...that is, until I thought about what the reaction would be if I walked into a St. Patrick's Day party carrying a traditionally English beverage. My proudly Irish brother from another mother, The Wizard of Covington, would probably crack me upside the head with a bottle for denigrating the occasion so. However, as G'Vine is a French distillate (from the Cognac region) -- and since both the Irish and the French traditionally dislike the English, I might get a pass.
In any case, on to the liquor itself. The description of G'Vine says that it's "generously infused with the vine flower as well as over 9 different botanicals." The tech sheet list of botanicals, minus the vine flower, is ten items long, so that's an accurate statement. But why do the botanicals matter?
Gin, in case you didn't know, starts as a neutral spirit like vodka. It's generally distilled from either grains or grapes. G'Vine Floraison belongs to the latter category. The neutral spirit is then re-distilled with some sort of botanical, which imparts the majority of the flavor. Juniper berries are almost always the primary botanical. In the case we have here, in addition to juniper, G'Vine uses ugni blanc grapes, coriander, cassia bark (better known as cinnamon), licorice, cubeb berries (similar to black pepper), nutmeg, ginger, green cardamom, and lime.
What does that mean for this particular tipple? Honestly, I've never tasted anything like this before. I tried it a couple of different ways -- in a Martini and in a gin and tonic. I can say, honestly -- this is the most aromatic gin I've ever tried. It's almost overpoweringly perfumey. At first sniff, I was interested, but the aroma quickly became too much when it was featured on its own in a martini. I will say this for G'Vine -- it's one of the smoothest gins I've ever tried. Many gins bite hard, but this one has little grip and next to no burn. If that perfume scent is to your liking, it's very drinkable.
On its own, it was better in a gin and tonic. The bitter flavor of the tonic balanced out the perfume somewhat, but it was still a powerfully scented concoction.
The best use I found for it was as a mixer. I had some gin around that was given to me as a gift in the back of the liquor cabinet. I always found the gift gin to be a little harsh and I'd been going through it very slowly. I mixed it 2-1 with the G'Vine Floraison and made a Martini. That worked. The G'Vine gave a nice little boost to the other flavors in the other gin and rounded off the bite. I found it quite pleasant.
If I were going for a gin of my own at this point, I'd probably stick to my tried and true Bombay Sapphire or Hendrick's -- but if you're a gin fan and you're looking for a new experience, or if you have some less expensive gin that could use a little dressing up, certainly consider at least giving this a run. G'Vine runs around $40 for a 750 ml.