Loch & Union Gin is unusual for two reasons. First, it’s made in Napa, California, hardly a hotbed of the gin world. Second, while it’s infused with a traditional collection of 12 herbs and spices, it has a couple of spins on the classic formula, including damiana, a purported aphrodisiac.
From the company: “Juniper, coriander and angelica root form the traditional dry gin canvas. To that we layer cardamom, allspice, nutmeg and cubeb berry to create a warming and subtly spicy palate. Finally, we complement the more dominant notes with the herbal and floral caraway, damiana leaf, chamomile and orris root.” The base spirit is neutral grain.
Let’s give it a try.
Crack open the bottle and the unmistakable aroma of sharp juniper immediately hits the nose. American gin? This is very London Dry in style, with hints of citrus peel, peppery spice, and a menthol undercoating. The palate is almost overwhelmed by juniper and bitter quinine notes — which can be a good or a bad thing depending on your outlook on gin — with a classically earthy element floating just beneath, driven by the angelica and orris root. While it’s sharp, intense, and racy as hell, it packs in so much flavor that it’s hard not to immediately fall in love with it. Floral hints (that chamomile, perhaps) and plenty of mixed, fresh herbs — rosemary and sage — give it a real lift, lingering well into the already lengthy finish.
As an alternative to other classic gins, such as Tanqueray, this is an exceeedingly solid selection.
94.4 proof. Reviewed: Batch year 2017.
A- / $39 / lochandunion.com