• Jonathan Winters

Gin Mare Gin Review


A taste of the Mediterranean


Review Gin Mare

Made in: Vilanova, Spain by Distilerias Miquel Guanse

Base: Barley

Method: Florentine Flask.

42.7% alcohol/85.4 proof


Botanicals 9: Juniper, coriander, cardamom, Arbequina olives, basil, rosemary, thyme, oranges (2 varieties), lemon


Style: Modern Gin


Gin Mare is distilled in an 18th century chapel outside of Barcelona in a custom made replica Florentine still. This is a blended gin, where each ingredient is macerated and distilled separately in a what it known as a Florentine Flask still, which is used to extract the volatile oils from each of the botanicals individually, before they are combined with a neutral spirit (made from barley) and spring water, to create the finished product - a gin that tastes like the Mediterranean.


Created in 2007 as a collaborative effort between Global Premium Brands, who handle the marketing and sales, and the Giro Ribot family who have been in the distilling business since 1835 (and created the GinMG brand in 1940). This gin’s flavor profile however was created by Marc and Manuel Giro, the grandsons of the creator of GinMG (a successful gin in Spain). But while the brothers created the gin, they just didn’t know how to sell or market it. So they partnered with Global Premium Brands to handle that end of it.


And while the flavor profile was done right by the Giro brothers, the marketing has been done right by GPB, who’ve packaged it beautifully and uniquely enough that it stands out even in the crowded gin market.


Tasting notes


Now I liked this lot as a sipping gin. It tastes like Spain, and to be fair it tastes a lot like a martini right off the bat (albeit a martini garnished with rosemary). There is some heat here, but not overly much and the heat easily can be mistaken for the bitterness inherent in both the citrus pith, and juniper.


Olfactorily, juniper is the strongest scent, followed by spice, orange oil, and just a trace of nice floral notes.


The herbal notes of Gin Mare fight for dominance in the initial taste with juniper, but in the end the bitterness of juniper and citrus peel overwhelms the herbal nature in the initial sips of the gin. Rosemary comes through clearly, as does basil as a follow up to the initial flavors,along with cardamom and angelica root. The finish highlights, olives, and the essence of thyme, with sharp earthy notes, slight peppery taste, and maybe a hint of lemon too. I found the flavors here very clear, pronounced and together they combine to put together a taste that would not be out of place in either Spanish or Greek food. There is a slight bitterness to it that is due to the strong juniper nature of the gin but that’s a plus for those looking for a traditional backbone to the gin.


Mouthfeel is light and fresh, tasting almost aerated with a nice bit of bitterness and a touch of heat in the finish.


Mixability:


This is still a juniper forward gin, but a gin with some unique elements in it’s formulation that lend themselves to cocktails in the same way that the herbs used lend themselves to added flavors while cooking.


Perhaps not surprisingly a gin designed to taste like the Mediterranean meshes well with a Mediterranean style tonic. In fact it makes for an excellent gin and tonic when paired with Fever Tree’s Mediterranean tonic. BUT it is a gin that definitely loses some of it’s finer aspects when mixed with tonic, as the sweet/tart nature of most tonics muddle some of the clear notes you get when you taste the gin neat. I found it quite good with Regatta tonic water, Fever Trees light Indian, and Q’s elderflower , although to be fair the sweetness of the elderflower did dumb down the flavors of the gin a bit.


I was very pleased with this in a dry martini. As the gin already has so many martini notes in it it should not come as a surprise that this gin makes for a very good martini - in fact I think many people would think the gin, chilled, was a martini even without the vermouth. That said, you won’t need more than a hint of vermouth to create a great traditional martini with this one, but it might well fall flat in more flavored martinis.


As this review was written during Negroni Week, I naturally tried Gin Mare with that cocktail first and found it to be the best of all the more complex mixed drinks I had with the gin. That isn’t to say it didn’t fit well in a Collins or Gimlet (as it did), but that in certain things like an Aviation, or a Corpse Reviver it didn’t add to the cocktail (and in the case of the Aviation, it flung some discordant notes) This would definitely be best in cocktails where a good herbal flavor might add something.


Overall


This is a good gin, and perhaps the most accessible Spanish gin available in the US. It casts a good net as to who it appeals to, as there is enough juniper for even the most devoted juniperheards, while unique enough to attract those who don’t like traditional London dry.


It’s a solid mixing gin, working well in classic martinis and in gin and tonics. I can’t say this is a gin that will mix with everything as both the rosemary and olive notes could be a bit jarring in some cocktails. That said, any good mixologist should find this one fun to play with.


Flavor profile:

Spice 2/5

Herbal: 4/5

Juniper 3/5

Floral 1/5

Citrus 3/5

Heat 2/5


Rating (Sipping): 92 - An excellent sipping gin that tastes of the Mediterranean.

Rating (Mixing) 88 - A very good mixer which will do well in most cocktails.

Overall rating: 90 - This is a solid overall gin which earns a spot on the top shelf and will be appreciated by those who like Spanish gins and cooking spice flavors.


 

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.



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