Poli Marconi 46 Gin
Review: Poli Marconi 46 Gin (89/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published February 24, 2016
The Poli Distillery is located in Schiavon (not far from Bassano del Grappa) in the heart of Veneto (Northern Italy). It was founded in 1898 by GioBatta Poli, and for over one hundred years the Poli Family has worked to establish their reputation as an outstanding producer of Grappa in the heart of Italy’s premier Grappa producing region.
In 2010, the distillery revealed Crysopea, a new vacuum bain-marie pot still, which Poli helped to develop. This still was installed flanking their historic steam pot still, expanding the range of the distillation allowing the Poli Distillery to produce new styles of grappa with distinct and unique sensory characteristics. (For those unfamiliar with grappa, it is a particular style of pomace brandy made from grapes.)
In 2015, the new still (Crysopea) was put to work producing the company’s first craft gin, Marconi 46. The gin (produced in small batches by Jacopo Poli) is created from an infusion of juniper berries, muscat grape, mountain pine, cembra pine, mint, cardamom and coriander. These botanicals (all familiar to the Poli family) are reminiscent of the Asiago Plateau in the north of the Veneto region, where the Poli family comes from.
The gin draws its name from a particular intersection between Italian history and the Poli Distillery. Guglielmo Marconi was the famous Italian scientist who invented the telegraph and won Nobel prize for Physics in 1909. The number 46 is of course the alcohol volume in the Marconi Gin, and this is taken from 46 Marconi Street which is the actual address in Schiavon where the distillery is located.
In the Bottle 4.5/5
As you can see the Marconi 46 presentation is very nice. The bottle is reminiscent of an old-fashioned gin or brandy bottle from the 19th century with its squat appearance and the hinged cork stopper. However it has modern appeal with a sleek fragile neck and eye-catching label. Although the photo does not show it well, the dimpled appearance of the bottle is caused by letters and numbers around the bottle above and below the label. It is actually the same string of letters and numbers over and over, POLI1898 which is of course a tip of the hat to the date that the Poli Distillery was founded in 1898 by GioBatta Poli.
This is an outstanding presentation.
In the Glass 9/10
When I pour the Marconi gin into my glencairn glass, the spirit begins to send me signals almost immediately. Firm scents of juniper greet my nose with impressions of pine (and to a smaller extent spruce) boughs strengthening the aroma. It is as if I am in an alpine forest with clumps of juniper bushes between tall Mountain Pine trees. A mild floral musk-like scent has appeared along with a light indication of menthol. The longer the glass sits, the stronger the floral musk and menthol impressions become.
I like the overall aroma and I am wondering how that light musky scent will express itself across the palate.
In the Mouth 53.5/60
I had to do a little research to determine the source of the musky aroma as it has been given a prominent expression in the taste profile of the gin. It appears to be the influence of both the Muscat Grape and the Swiss (cembra) Pine which make up a portion of the gin’s botanicals. Along with a menthol-like impression of mint, these botanicals have formed a triumvirate of floral musky flavour which sits alongside the juniper. The result is very interesting as it is difficult to decide whether it is the triumvirate of Muscat, Pine, and Mint which is leading the parade of flavour or whether it is still indeed the juniper. A lovely light bitterness appears near the end as does a light spiciness which features just a hint of citrus.
The gin may be sipped, however my inclination was to try a few cocktails. I began by mixing a Vesper Cocktail choosing a frozen split green grape as my garnish. The flavour was very nice, and so I mixed the same cocktail as a straight Martini. I preferred the Vesper which held the muskiness of the gin in check nicely although either cocktail would certainly be satisfactory.
While sipping the Martini, I seemed to notice that a nice light lemon grass-like flavour was present in the gin as well. This led me to construct a bit of a Margarita style cocktail mixing the Poli Gin with fresh squeezed citrus juice and Orange Curacao. The result was outstanding (see recipe below) and it was my favourite cocktail of the day. Having said that, I would not quibble with anyone who preferred the Vesper or the Martini, it is a matter of how much of the musky flavour of the gin you wished to express in the cocktail. The Martini expresses it most clearly, the Vesper mutes it to a large extent, and the Margarita style cocktail blends it into the citrus flavours of the cocktail.
In the Throat 13/15
The exit features a reappearance of piny juniper followed by a light spiciness of coriander and cardamom. After the swallow, ebbing flavours of muscat grape and soothing mint linger on the palate. I like the light spiciness which I am sure has enhanced the cocktail experience.
The Afterburn 9/10
I was surprised by the Marconi 46 Gin from Poli. Not having had very much experience spirits infused with grape flavours I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Muscat infusion give this gin a lovely floral muskiness which builds as you sip. I like how this extra flavour component added character to my chosen cocktails. I do suspect that some who try the gin will be put off by this musky component, whereas others will find the flavour extremely appealing.
My Score of 89/100 indicates that I found the gin quite acceptable as a sipping spirit and outstanding as a mixer for high-end cocktails.
You may read some of my other Gin Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
2 oz Poli Marconi 46 Gin
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
3/8 oz Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Lime Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup
Place the five ingredients in a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Add a Lime Slice for Garnish
Note: If you are interested in more of my 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)