Botanica Spiritvs Gin
Review: Botanica Spiritvs Gin (85.5/100 )
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on November 10, 2016
Botanica Spiritvs Gin is part of the new wave of modern ‘American Style’ gins where the flavor of Juniper is pulled back to allow the other botanicals to have more expression in the spirit. Botanica is produced in small batches (less than 300 bottles per) at Falcon Spirits Distillery in Richmond California. The base spirit for the gin is a Non-GMO (Non-Genetically Modified Organism) grain spirit which has been 6 times distilled and carbon filtered to remove impurities.
Over 12 different botanicals are used in the production of the gin. Because some of the fruits used are not available year round, they are distilled previously (within a day from the time they are picked up from farm). Other botanicals are vapour infused during a final distillation, and after the heads and tails have been discarded, this final distillation is blended with the fruit distillates.
The blended gin is then aged for up to three weeks before being brought to bottling strength with cucumber water that was prepared by macerating fresh Persian cucumbers and then adding water from the Sierra Mountains. The cucumber/water mixture is then frozen which causes the cucumber cells to burst releasing their flavor. The resulting mixture is thawed, vacuum filtered, and then used to bring the gin to bottling strength. After resting for 1 or 2 days, the spirit is polished by bringing the gin to 4 degrees Celsius and then passing it through six stage diatomaceous earth filters.
This spirit recently entered Alberta and I thought I would give it the once over tasting it neat and making a few cocktails.
In the Bottle: 4/5
Botanica Spiritvs Gin arrives in a squat jug-like whisky bottle with a medium long neck and solid cork topper. I like these slightly heavy squat bottles as they seem to imply substance when they sit on my bar shelf. They do not tip easily, and they also follow the bartenders creed being easy to hold, easy to pour and easy to store.
I am however, uninspired by the label which features a bland colour scheme which is hard to read. We are left to wonder which botanicals are used as none of them are listed and the small images provided only add confusion not clarity.
Note: According to the label, the gin is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume.
In the Glass 8.5/10
Botanica is a clear gin which means that visual effect of the aging mentioned in the introduction has been removed by the six step filtration.
When tilted and twirled, the spirit leaves a thin sheen of liquid on the inside of the glass the crest of which drops small slender legs back into the gin. The initial aroma from the glass is somewhat effervescent with floral and fine citrus notes (fruity lemon and lime scents) leading out. As I nose the glass piny juniper, earthy angelica and herbal licorice root and mint build taking the spirit back down a more tradition gin pathway.
I find the scents and smells play nicely together, and I like that the menagerie of scents do not overwhelm the juniper as is the case with other modern ‘American Style’ gins I have sampled.
In the Mouth 52/60
The entry across the palate brings forward a brings forward a bevy of coriander spiciness with ginger and cardamom not far behind. As I sip, the spiciness seems to increase, a touch too much perhaps as I find that for the moment I lose track of the subtle floral botanicals and even to some extent the juniper. I allow the glass to sit and for my palate to adjust and then I begin to notice the earthy angelica, the licorice root, and finally the piny juniper. There is a hint of menthol and a few grassy flavours which round out the gin profile which has begun to track back to a more traditional path, although perhaps not as fast as I would like.
The spirit does not lend itself well to sipping as the botanical flavours are assertive rather than subdued, and the spiciness builds with each sip. However, the aggressive flavour profile does seem to be begging me to mix a few gin cocktails. I mixed up a Gin and Tonic (see recipe down below) and I was pleased that the juniper came roaring back. I think perhaps, the cucumber maceration was a real positive for the bar drink and my earlier misgivings are for the most part alleviated.
Next I mixed a gimlet style cocktail (see recipe below) and again the gin performed admirably. I would not want to serve the Botanica Spiritvs in a martini, as I found the spiciness of the spirit perhaps pushed through that particular serving a little more forcefully than I preferred.
In the Throat 12.5/15
The finish is quite spicy, full of coriander and cilantro which dissuades me from sipping the gin over ice. I do detect a touch of menthol and a light sweetness at the very back-end of the swallow, but not quite enough to balance the spice. Fortunately, that same spice which makes sipping difficult promotes the gin very well as a mixing spirit where that spice is most welcome.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
Normally I am not enthusiastic with respect to American style gins and their muted juniper flavour. I like them, but usually the spicy coriander which supplants the juniper distracts me and deflects my enjoyment. Botanica Spiritvs Gin is fortunately an exception to this rule. Although I found the coriander distracting when I sipped the gin, When I mixed simple servings like Gimlets, and Gin & Tonics the juniper within came to life and became the focus of these cocktails.
My final score of 85.5/100 reflects my appreciation of the Botanica Spiritvs Gin which although not of sipping quality, is certainly is a nice cocktail mixer.
You may read some of my other Gin Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
This serving is based upon the Pegu Club Cocktail, which originated at the Pegu Club in Rangoon (Burma). A simple exchange of lime juice for lemon brings a new flavour to the serving which,with Botonica Spitivs as the base gin, is quite delicious. The cocktail is named for the Castle Trilogy written by J.H. Wear and published by Melange Books. Mr. Wear as well as being an author (he writes, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Mystery stories) is also the liquor agent responsible for bringing Botanica Spiritvs Gin into my home Province.
1 1/2 oz Botanica Spiritvs Gin
3/4 oz Bols Triple Sec
1 tsp Lemon Juice
Dash Bitters (Angostura Bitters)
Strip of Lemon Zest for garnish
Pour the ingredients into a metal shaker filled with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a chilled glass
Garnish with a slice of lime if desired
Botanica Lime and Tonic
1 3/4 oz Botanica Spiritvs Gin
1/2 oz fresh Lime juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup
Add the first three ingredients into a rocks glass
Stir and add ice
Fill with Tonic Water
Garnish with cucumber
Note: If you are interested in more original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret that score as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing spirit. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)