Review: Salcombe Gins – Rose Sainte Marie and Start Point
The UK’s Salcombe Distilling Co. has recently brought its two flagship products — both gin — to the U.S. for the first time. In addition to its product quality claims, the distillery notes that it is one of the world’s only distilleries directly accessible by boat.
Let’s dig in and see how these acquit themselves.
Salcombe Gin Rose Sainte Marie – A pink gin, meant to emulate the qualities of dry rose wine from Provence. The color is natural, provided by “unsweetened red fruits.” Botanicals include Macedonian juniper, angelica root, fresh strawberries, orange blossom, rose petals, fresh lemon, orange peel, lemon verbena, and pink peppercorns — and three unstated additions. Pink or no, any color is barely perceptible, and it’s not particularly pink. The gin is however very floral on the nose, the rose and orange blossoms doing the heavy lifting, though a gentle earthiness runs underneath it all. The palate is both floral and fruity, and while juniper is present, it never comes close to dominating or providing much of an herbal kick. Lemon and spice build toward the finish, with a gentle sweetness and a potpourri note lingering. This would pair well with a mixer like tonic, and it sips nicely solo — much like a Provence rose, indeed. That said, it’s probably not well structured for a martini. (Alas, my sample was too small for broad experimentation.) 82.8 proof. A- / $40 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]
Salcombe Gin Start Point – A classic London Dry style gin, made with a traditional lineup of 13 botanicals that include red grapefruit, lemon and lime peels, English coriander seed, Macedonian juniper, orris root, licorice, angelica root, and green cardamom (among others). This has a fairly traditional composition, with earthy angelica and juniper leading the way on the nose, though again it’s never overwhelming in its herbaceousness. A light lacing of lemon peel, some fresh-cut grass, and a vaguely exotic element driven by the cardamom give the finish a lengthy raciness — or a racy length? — with juniper the final element to take its leave. 88 proof. B+ / $40 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]