Review: Song Cai Viet Nam Floral Gin
Vietnam makes some interesting spirits, and now it can add gin to the repertoire. Sông Cái was founded in 2018 and launched in the U.S. in 2021. It exclusively makes gin for now — in fact, it makes three of them — all designed to “bottle the taste of Vietnam’s biodiverse terroir.” Its botanicals are sourced exclusively from long-standing farming and foraging operations in the country.
While Sông Cái’s flagship Dry Gin is made with 16 heirloom Vietnamese ingredients including green turmeric, jungle pepper, black cardamom, and heirloom pomelo, its Floral Gin, reviewed here, is built around five local flowers. It’s unclear to what extent the Dry Gin recipe is used as a base for the Floral Gin, but it doesn’t matter much: We don’t have a full botanical list for either product, anyway.
Let’s dive into this unique product.
As noted, the product is called Floral Gin, and the name is apt. Boldly perfumed, the gin showcases intense aromas of dried flowers, plus a fresher floral quality in the form of honeysuckle and rose, then an earthy edge of angelica root. Juniper is present, but it’s quite gentle, an afterthought against the attack of all these flower petals. On the palate, a similar experience awaits, though the floral notes are quicker to fade against an attack driven again by that earthy, bitter angelica and a sweet-and-sour quality courtesy of some late-game orange and grapefruit notes — part juice, part peel. A baby powder quality on the finish evokes soap and clean laundry and newborn infants, which, depending on your mood, may be just what you were looking for as you sip away the evening.
B+ / 39 / songcaidistillery.com
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