Ohio’s Middle West Spirits makes multiple whiskeys and vodkas but has long had only one gin, Vim & Petal. Now it adds a second gin to the mix: Lux & Umbra, which is made in the London dry style from a corn distillate, with just 6 botanicals: juniper, lemon, coriander, orris root, grains of paradise, and angelica root. That’s a tight bill of materials to work with, so let’s see how it all works out.
Fears that Middle West is working with half a deck here are quickly dashed: This is a powerful and almost pungent gin, made in the true London dry style with an outsized amount of juniper present. Fans of Tanqueray will find the profile here familiar: Pine-laden nose, lightly earthy, with a touch of licorice evident. Bright and peppery, there’s virtually no fruit evident, which I find a bit saddening but many may actively seek out.
The palate really sees the same construction throughout: softer than expected, perhaps, and just a bit sweet, but otherwise dominated by notes of juniper, pepper, and mixed green herbs. Notes of rosemary and thyme add a touch of complexity, before a surprising hint of dark chocolate emerges on the finish. That’s done with a definitively light touch, as herbaceous elements dominate throughout. Those looking for either martini or tonic fodder will find nothing to complain about here — particularly given the price.
A- / $24 / middlewestspirits.com