the French, either you love them or hate them, but
there's no getting around them. I find myself leaning towards
being a Francophile, after all they produce great food and
wine and champagne and cognac and have even expanded to vodka
and now gin. And of course, if they're going to do it, they
will naturally go over the top as only they can.
I've said previously, gin is my favorite flavor of vodka.
Just give it a thought for a minute, if you didn't add all
those botanicals, you'd have a pretty decent vodka. Most distillers
put a handful of botanicals in their gin and some might put
in 10 or 12, but leave it to the French to infuse their Citadelle
gin with 19 botanicals. That's not gin; it's a freaking herb
you add a touch of garlic and tomato paste, I bet you'd have
a terrific spaghetti sauce. On top of that, they have created
what might turn out to be a very interesting gin indeed. They
take their Citadelle gin and age it for 6 months in Pierre
Ferrand Cognac casks to produce Citadelle Reserve Gin. Spoiler
alert: Ferrand cognac just happens to be one of my all time
favorite cognacs. This might be a really great idea as no
one has ever aged gin in cognac casks before or this might
be a really bad idea which is why no one has done it before.
Let's see if it's a rant or a rave!
standard Citadelle gin is as transparent
as water, but that's where the similarity ends. The nose,
unlike all other gins, is not juniper forward but a complex
mélange of licorice, juniper, orange and lemon and
cinnamon. It is tangy, if not spicy, and very interesting.
On the palate, the juniper again becomes part of the symphony
and not the lead instrument. The floral notes and spice notes
intermingle, and I can easily pick out the nutmeg and almond
as well as the orange and lemon. The proportions of each botanical
seem just about perfect. The finish is smooth yet spicy leaving
a lingering floral taste that lasts a moderate amount of time.
This one just cracked the barrier into my top 5 favorite gins
of all time.
Reserve Gin is a very pale golden yellow in color.
On the nose, the aromas of all the botanicals seem to have
combined more evenly and now are harder to distinguish; however,
the juniper is certainly there right along with the coriander
and cumin, while the bright notes of the lemon and orange
are more muted. It would seem that aging in cognac casks tends
to more thoroughly integrate all the flavors. On the palate,
I get the spice notes and fruit flavors along with the juniper
in equal proportions and backing it all up is a delicious
oaky, cognac flavor that mutes the other flavors a bit more
but does not make them any less complex or less tasty. This
gin has a lot going for it and a lot going on in it. Each
sip literally presents a slightly different flavor profile,
which makes for a very interesting drink. The finish is floral
and botanical and oaky and just delicious and smooth and leaves
a slight tingle. This baby just broke into my top three favorite
gins of all time. You gotta go get you some and try it and
let me know what you think.
Gin, 750 ml can be found for around $20.00 to $28.99
and Citadelle Reserve Gin 750 ml can be found
for between $35.99 to $44.99.
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