Flower City Gin Review
A limited edition about to disappear forever.
Review Flower City Gin
Made in: Honeoye Falls, NY by Honeoye Falls Distillery.
Method: Copper pot still
46% alcohol/92 proof
Botanicals: Juniper,Coriander, Angelica Root, Rose Hips, Orris Root, Cardamom, Lavender
Style: Modern gin.
***NOTE: Little did I know as I was writing this that Honeoye Falls Distillery has just of last weekend closed permanently - if you can find bottles of this, or their That Old Devil’s Bathtub Gin, they are worth grabbing before they are off the shelves forever**** (Link to That Old Devil's Bathtub review)
I had the pleasure of reviewing one of Honeoye Falls Distilleries other gins (that Old Devil Bathtub gin) just over a month ago and found it to be a pretty wonderful gin. But to be honest, what inspired me to try that one, was how much I had enjoyed this gin when I tried it first over the summer. Right from the start this bottle grabs you, before you grab it. The label is beautiful and seemingly inspired by Belle Epoch french advertising, is a label full of flowers.
That pays tribute both to the distillery itself which is in a old flower nursery building, and to the city of Rochester, nearby which due to its network of parks and horticulture is still known as the Flower City
The base spirit here is a purchased corn distillate, made elsewhere then redistilled with botanicals. It’s not uncommon for gins to be made this way and makes the gin a lot more affordable - and Flower City certainly earns some very high marks for the price. In fact, I think it’s quite underpriced for the quality as I’ve never seen it for more than $22
Unlike the other Honeoye Falls products this is not a barrel aged gin.
Pure and simple this is a sipping gin. Like most gins, ice and a few minutes open up and erase any harshness you might taste in this spirit.
The scent is dominated by lemon lavender, and floral tones with whispers of cardamom, pepper and licorice.
But on the tongue the first thing you notice is the delicate but dominating floral nature of this gin, it’s clear the gin makers wanted to put the flower nursery inside the bottle and they succeeded in creating a light, almost airy gin, with just a hint of sweetness, where the of a gardens of flowers is balanced by juniper, citrus, with hints pepper and anise, providing a short lasting finish. In that it’s surprisingly complex.
This gin coats the mouth well, and leaves a pleasant aftertaste that fades quickly.
This gin is so good straight, that many of my friends who claim they “don’t like gin”, will even drink it without mixers. In mixing however, the gin proved to be far better in lighter drinks than ones heavy on stronger tasting mixers.
In a VERY dry martini, with just a literal drop or two of Noilly Prat (which I’ve always thought sounded like it should be a very British insult), it really shined, with the floral nature of the gin coming through. Worked well with a touch of bitters too (I tried it with celery bitters, and later with blood orange bitters).
The magical match for this one in a gin and tonic was Fever Tree’s Aromatic Tonic (although to be fair it was good with the elderflower too), which complimented the floral nature of the gin and provided a nice contrasting bitterness that really allowed the gin to stand out.
Mixed drinks however, unless light tended to wash out a lot of the delicate flavors of the gin itself. That said with a little experimenting I found it worked very well in quite a few drinks if you turned down the citrus, or accepted that in some cocktails (ie The Aviation), that the gin is more along for the ride, than the star of those drinks. I think my favorite drink I made with it was gin mojito. The mint, sugar, and lighter amount of lime juice made for a very refreshing cocktail. It also paired beautifully with a hint of orange flavor.
I do hope that Honeoye Falls decides not to take it out of their rotation. This gin is that good - and stands up with the best of the sipping gins.
It did well enough in mixed drinks that I can’t downgrade it too much as gin often takes a backseat to other ingredients. But to make it stand out this one will require a light touch and a talented mixologist to get the most out of it..
Overall rating: 91. Might be one of the best gins out there at this price point, but it won’t blow you away if you like heavily flavored mixed drinks.
What you need to know about reviews: All my reviews are my honest opinions based upon my own personal tasting. I am NOT a paid reviewer, and no compensation was given, or expected. I may from time to time choose to do a second review and amend my opinion of a product, should I feel like it and find my review criteria has evolved, or that I’ve found it different at a later date. That said, as I’m unlikely to repurchase anything I thought was less than very good to excellent, it would be by chance or at the request of a distiller who thought I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.