Generally speaking, gin is one of those things that people either love or hate. It seems there’s no middle ground with that signature juniper berry flavor. But in our experience, people who are averse to the flavor of gin typically don’t realize that not all gins are created equal. Gin is an extremely dynamic spirit, with more character and depth than a lot of other liquors on the shelf, and it’s not always just about juniper anymore. Sure, juniper berry is and always will be one of the predominant flavors in gin, but now that artisan distilling is beginning to take off (much like the craft brewing scene did years ago), adventurous distillers are pushing the boundaries of what gin can be.
Case in point: Aviation Gin from Portland’s House Spirits Distillery. It’s unlike any gin you’ve likely ever tasted, so even if you’re not a fan of drams like Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray — or hell, even Hendricks — we highly recommend you give it a try.
There are dozens of other gins on the shelf that use botanical blends to achieve their own unique flavor profile, but most tend to feature exotic flavors in extremely minute –and often imperceptible– amounts. Aviation, on the other hand, is generous in it’s application of botanicals. Mingled in with the juniper berry is a bold, adventurous mixture of lavender, sweet and bitter orange peel, cardamom, coriander, Indian sarsaparilla, and anise seed.
As soon as the aroma hits your nose, you know you’re in for something different. There’s definitely juniper and pine up front, but it’s backed by the subtle sweetness of orange, a lush hint of lavender, and a earthy punch of cardamom. The entry is soft and round, delivering a beautiful botanical medley of flavors. Juniper is there, but cardamom is arguably it’s equal companion. The spice notes are multidimensional with caraway, anise, and just a hint of pepper right behind the juniper and cardamom. Above all this is a wonderfully light lavender floral note that ties all the herbal tones together perfectly. The combination of flavors is fantastic — it’s a blend that actually helped define the category of American Gin.
Now stop drooling and go get yourself a bottle. You won’t be disappointed.