Like a lot of craft distilleries out there, Vitae Spirits in Charlottesville, Virginia was founded by a scientist, Ian Gromsky, who decided that 9-to-5 in a lab wasn’t nearly as interesting as 9-to-never in a stillhouse. Despite having only just started distilling in 2017, this former microbiology professor at the University of Virginia produces a sizeable portfolio of spirits, all molasses-based, which includes several rums and liqueurs, as well as two gins.
Today we’re checking out their current best seller, Modern Gin. A little background before we give it a spin:
Vitae Spirits’ Modern Gin is a dry gin that has a distinct but not overpowering juniper berry influence that allows the complexity of the other 16 botanicals to shine through; the true definition of a modern gin. Modern Gin is redistilled in small batches using neutral spirits produced from American sugar cane molasses and water from the slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We have developed an unconventional hybrid production technique that applies both maceration and vapor infusion to extract aromatic oils from the botanicals so that the robust base notes as well as the ephemeral delicate aromas are captured in our bottle, ready to burst on your tongue. Unlike the many diluted gins out there Modern Gin is so packed with aromatic botanical oils that when shaken with ice you can see the oils fall out of solution in a delicate cloudiness, called a louche. If you want a gin with maximal flavor, look for the louche.
This is definitely a unique gin. On the nose, it’s bright but also buttery, and the molasses base really shows with a powdered sugar sweetness that can seem almost too rich at times. The juniper is definitely restrained but not undiscoverable amid the plentiful citrus and baking spice. The sweetness comes in hard and fast on the palate, never cloying but definitely walking that line. It’s a big, oily gin that coats the palate. A bit of sweet tree sap gives way to cinnamon RedHots and a gentle, sustained heat. Floral notes, vanilla bean, and candied citrus linger into the finish before dissolving with persistent notes of clove and marshmallow fluff. For those gin drinkers who don’t enjoy the dry bite of London style, there’s none to be found in this Modern Gin. But do bring your sweet tooth.
B+ / $35 / vitaespirits.com