Happy new year gin drinkers, let me kick you off with a little French fancy, a floral number from the fine folk across the channel, or, la Manche as I believe they like to call it once you’ve alighted from your ferry.
I am not madly keen about floral things generally, and without giving the review away too early, I can tell you that this has ended up being no exception, although I will say that, of the floral gins I have had, this one is so floral that it is perhaps my favourite among that particular branch of the gin tree.
It is unconventional, perhaps it is not surprising that our oft-rivals have not decided to head down the London Dry route (or root if I am keeping my Tree metaphor, which I’m not) but they do seem to have taken it to some extreme. The base is not a standard mash, but distilled from grapes instead; we can probably agree that, generally speaking, the French know what to do with their grapes and so can not be surprised at that.
‘Unconventional’, it should be noted, is also not my word but theirs – ‘Traditionally Unconventional’ in fact according to words upon the heavy based clear bottle, which is pleasing both to eye and touch. Ten fruit botanicals are listed on the label, but on the nose you get nothing much more than a hint of turpentine, which is a little off-putting to say the least. Neat, or over ice, it is not much better, certainly not a sipping gin, but the addition of a little tonic does improve it, and, having tried it with a few variations, I can tell you that good old Schweppes Indian Tonic water works far better than any of the five or six other ‘premium’ tonics I have experimented with. Which just goes to show that you need to keep an open mind about all things, even the tonic.
I can’t really recommend it, but neither can I say it is unpleasant. Furthermore I am not sure that the deep mid winter is the time for such drinks. Perhaps a balmy summer’s evening, with plenty of Schweppes and a garden full of flowers in bloom, buzzing bees and the like, is a more suitable setting, or perhaps, if you are fond of all things floral, then you should ignore me and give it a go whatever the season.
The French are, of course, experts when it comes to all sorts of other drinks – beers, wines, brandy, and so perhaps one day we can add gin to the list, but just not today. For now, spend your £30 on a nice bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape or two cheap bottles of champagne – either will be a better use of your money.
G’Vine Floraison Small Batch Distilled Gin – £29 for 70cl
Gin & Tonic Rating – 2/5