Red Door Gin is produced by our friends at Benromach, best known for their upstart Scotch whisky distillery on the northern edge of Speyside. (Great place to visit, by the way.) It’s a classic London Dry style, made in Benromach’s pot stills, and flavored with just eight botanicals, a core of five classic ingredients — juniper berries, lemon peel, bitter orange peel, coriander seed, and angelica root — and three local additions — pearls of heather, rowan berries, and sea buckthorn.
Red Door is available in at least three different seasonal expressions (so far), but only the standard “Highland” edition is available in the U.S., at least for now. Let’s give it a try.
Red Door’s bright red bottle evokes fruit and mystery, but this is a very straightforward gin with few major surprises, despite the oddball ingredients. The nose: Tons of juniper, and lots of angelica-driven earthiness. There’s a maritime hint here, but it’s muted; the juniper is all but overpowering. The palate is more savory and earthier than you’d expect, notes of underbrush giving the body a certain sense of dusky pungency. A punch of lemon peel, almost closer to lime leaf, lingers on the finish, as does a pinch of salt and a twist of pepper. It’s clean but a bit brooding, still coming across as hewing too close to the ground, with not enough of a lift into the trees spread out above. There’s just a hint of sweetness as it fades out, but it could use more — or more complexity, at least.
B+ / $30 / reddoorgin.com