Distilled in Provence, France, Dry Gin XII is the latest addition to the portfolio of Distilleries et Domaines de Provence, reputable for its absinthes, liqueurs, and a pretty tasty peach wine (Rinquinquin). Twelve (hence the Roman numeration) plants and spices are used: juniper, coriander, sweet almond, thyme, angelica, grains of paradise, iris, cardamom, basil, rosemary, eucalyptus, and mint. With the number of herbal blends Domaines utilizes for their products, it’s unsurprising that they would venture into gin territory. What is surprising is that it took this long for it to arrive stateside.
The nose of the gin is on the floral and moderately herbaceous side, with rosemary, basil, and a touch of pine resin for good measure. The juniper is on the palate, but it’s a supporting character to cooler notes of spearmint folding into wildflowers and eucalyptus just at the right time to provide some balance. The finish is somewhat quick but complex, with the cardamom and juniper stealing the show.
Using it in a gin & tonic results in a flavorful cocktail that is earthy and refreshing, somewhat floral but still a nice changeup. It would serve well during a late afternoon summer heatwaves — or as something to quell the nerves as a natural disaster slowly inches its way towards your home. A touch of lemon juice also sets things off in a delicious direction on the tongue.
The muted juniper provides unconventional softness not usually found when describing a typical gin. But that pliability is a welcome notion, one that highlights gin’s beauty and versatility when other elements can take center stage.