Thursday, May 28, 2009

First Taste: Citadelle Reserve Vintage Gin

The gin resurgence has brought us many new iterations that result from the tinkering with the number and balance of the different botanicals, but aging gin doesn't seem to have caught on much. Odd, since, like virtually all other spirits, gin once spent as much time in a barrel as it took to ship and serve the full complement of spirit inside. But now there is Citadelle Reserve vintage, in which the 19-botanical standard Citadelle is given six months in used casks, “in the heart of the Cognac region,” as the company says. Wonder what sort of casks they use? Hmmm.... Anyway, the Reserve 2008 gains a golden hue from its time spent resting and on the nose, the oak aging mutes the juniper, orange and cinnamon notes that are prominent in the standard Citadelle. But it has also rounded them out and integrated some vanilla and a bit of earthiness. On the palate, this is gentler than gin - less snap and more spicy subtlety, but still the juniper bite works its way through. Subtlety, as I say, is the byword in this gin-wood experiment, making it a candidate not for cocktails but for sipping on the rocks, or in a very particular Martini, perhaps. With limited annual production, that's okay. For the gin completist, a must-try. Currently the 2008 is available. 44% abv. (W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Ltd.)
My score: 7

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