Halftone Spirits can be found in Brooklyn, New York, where it focuses heavily on gin and gin-adjacent spirits such as aquavit. Its latest seasonal is known as Wavelength: Noir, a unique, reddish-orange gin that’s designed with wintertime in mind. It’s distilled with 14 botanicals, including juniper, elderberry, smoked lapsang souchong tea, black cherry bark, cinnamon leaf, blood orange peel, white peppercorn, urfa chili, coriander, angelica root, orris root, licorice root, gentian, and almond — and then aged on cacao nibs from Bushwick’s Fine & Raw and black carrot to add the unusual color to the spirit.
While it looks like a negroni in the bottle and the glass, it sure doesn’t taste like one. In fact, it’s one of the more unusual gins I’ve tried in recent memory.
The nose instantly evokes chocolate and coffee, aromas which grow stronger with time in glass. One could easily assume this was some type of amaro, as the milder, herbal elements do not readily evoke juniper-driven gin. The palate kicks off in lockstep: bitter but heavy with Dutch process chocolate, coffee bean, and tea leaf notes. Here a bit more juniper is evident, alongside some gentle sweetness in the form of cinnamon toast, rhubarb, and some red berry elements. Bittersweet with a reprise of gentian-dusted cocoa powder, the finish is perhaps the most amaro-like part of the equation, which is intriguing but takes some introspection to properly process.
For what it’s worth, I tried this gin in a negroni cocktail, and it worked better than expected — even with the odd chocolate note clearly coming through the experience from start to finish.
B / $48 (700ml) / halftonespirits.com