When we reviewed their high rye bourbon last year, we told you that Virginia’s Tarnished Truth Distillery was located inside a historic Virginia Beach hotel, The Cavalier. Apparently that hotel was quite the place, like something out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. So decadent were the amenities that bathrooms had a “fourth handle” on the tub that allowed guests to bathe in saltwater pumped in fresh from the Atlantic Ocean. With a bit of tongue-in-cheek, Tarnished Truth decided to name their gin Fourth Handle, however, bathtub gin this is not. It’s a grain-based, American style gin (described on the label as “Coastal American,” whatever that is) with a short but exotic list of botanicals that includes rose, cubeb berries, and grains of paradise. Let’s check it out.
The nose is juniper-forward and earthy with plenty of pine needles, fresh cut meadow flowers, sweet sap, and just a dry hint of citrus. The juniper isn’t as punchy as most London-style gins, but the citrus is definitely dialed down from your typical American style offerings. The palate is creamy and not as pine-forward as the nose suggests. High tones of rose and dried lavender kick things off with a gentle, peppery warmth. Citrus peel arrives midpalate with a juicy sweetness that dries out on the finish, bright and green with cucumber slices and coriander. I’m still not sure what “Coastal American” gin is, but I can easily see myself sipping this by the ocean in plenty of gin drinks.
A- / $35 / tarnishedtruth.com