Review: Vara High Desert Gin
Recently we brought you reviews of Taylor Garrett whiskeys, an accelerated-aging spirit line produced in New Mexico. Vara is a gin made at a sister distillery, and since it’s unaged, there are no tricks up any sleeves with this one. The double-distilled gin includes a bill of botanicals that are fairly straightforward but heavy on citrus, including juniper, coriander seed, sage, angelica root, nutmeg, star anise, cardamom, mandarin, tangerine, orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit.
The fruit is heavy on the nose: Lots of orange and lime, with a lightly earthy undercurrent that evokes juniper and just a touch of sage. The palate doubles down on the fruit: There’s so much bright mandarin orange, navel orange, and lemon that the gin comes across as something closer to a citrus-infused vodka than any rendition of gin. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but the experience quickly becomes fairly one-note, the fruit muscling away the herbal characteristics of the gin, at least until the finish, where just a touch of piney juniper becomes evident again.
B / $36 / varaspirits.com
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