Review: Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin

Review: Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin

From the same folks who brought you Masterson’s awesome 10 Year Old Rye — in Sonoma, California, of all places — comes this new gin, inspired by a recipe (it’s said) drawn from an equally odd location: Lucca, Italy.

Some backstory, courtesy of the company (an affiliate of the Sebastiani wine empire):

Company president August Sebastiani named the handcrafted, small-batch gin after a favorite uncle, Valerio Cecchetti, who is a retired physician near Lucca, Italy. “In addition to being a highly regarded doctor, Uncle Val is a great cook and avid gardener. The botanicals we selected for this unique gin — juniper, cucumber, lemon, sage and lavender — are the same as those Uncle Val likes to use in his cooking and grows in his home garden,” Sebastiani said.

Gin’s history also played a role in the selection of Dr. Cecchetti’s name as the brand. “Gin was invented in the Netherlands by a doctor — Franciscus Sylvius — who was a professor of medicine in Leyden, Holland, back in the 1650s,” Sebastiani explained. “He was trying to find a cure-all for kidney and stomach disorders, so he infused juniper berries into distilled spirits. The elixir became so popular that distillers began commercial production and by the end of the 1680, the Dutch were exporting more than 10 million gallons of gin each year. Gin is the only spirit that started out as a medicine, so it’s fitting that we named ours after Uncle Val.”

Distilled five times from grain, the gin offers a nose that is immediately evoking of limes, even though they’re not part of the botanical bill. It’s like a lime-emblazoned gin and tonic right out of the bottle. On the tongue, plenty more of that lime character, and that lavender becomes apparent. Cucumber gives this gin a bit of a cooling effect, so much so that the juniper is almost a tertiary character.

It’s a fine gin, and quite unique. And if you like your gin mild, Uncle Val’s for you. It does however seem to be missing that heady aromatic punch that great gins have: The overwhelming citrus character pushes it almost into the realm of fruity vodkas as the other ingredients don’t quite find a purchase. Dangerously easy to drink though. Watch out with this one.

90 proof.


Uncle Val's Botanical Gin




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. John Prather on September 25, 2012 at 6:58 am

    This is an amazing gin with a lovely nose and a flavor unlike any other. The juniper is a hint lying below an an indescribably swirl of cucumber lavender and sage tipped by lemon. Forget martinis, forget tonic. put it on ice with a compliment of sparkling soda and a twist of lemon. On second thought, forget the twist. This gin stands on it’s own merits.

    What a surprisingly refreshing spirit.

  2. Rick on July 16, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    I really had a hard time finding a place for this gin- it was too sweet and lemony for me. There’s no martini in its future (unless you have a secret I don’t know) and its already in a gin and tonic(y) mood, so what’s left?

    Just soda water? There’s got to be something else to be friends with. The problem is I want to like it but can’t find any friends for it to play with. Suggestions?

    • Anonymous on June 2, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      Make a “bee’s knees”!!!!

  3. Christopher Null on July 16, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    Rick – Maybe you just need the right vermouth? ;)

  4. James on April 16, 2015 at 9:50 am

    I make martini’s with Uncle Val’s, lillet and a dash of angostura bitters. It’s my favorite cocktail at the moment – the bitters nicely balance out the sweet aroma of the gin & lillet.

  5. Cody on May 5, 2015 at 1:22 am

    The citrus is almost overwhelming but the thought that comes to my mind is that a shot of this (which nobody takes shots of gin) makes me thing of different whisky shots. It is complex, one of it’s best attributes. On ice, splash of tonic or soda would be my recommendation.

  6. Aaron Marsh on April 3, 2017 at 10:33 am

    All that has been said above, ice and a splash of seltzer is all that you need. Slightly, or more than slightly too sweet, very lime, but very pleasant. The one thing I would add is after about 3 of these with ice I woke up a few hours later with a killer headache!

  7. Anonymous on June 2, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    This botanical gin is a must have to make a “bee’s knees”. With lemon juice (or lemon aid), honey and lavender…you’ll be an instant fan!!

  8. Star E. on June 2, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    This botanical gin is a must have to make a “bee’s knees”. With lemon juice (or lemon aid), honey and lavender…you’ll be an instant fan!!

  9. Teresa on June 9, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Is my first time try this Gin? And really love it is the best. All flavor of the herbs ,cucumber and lemon taste very delicious.I think deserve 5 Stars.???

  10. Vic Poll on August 2, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Mixed with muddled fresh basil, a little lime juice, blood orange juice and a splash of soda. Interesting for summer.

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