Larios 12 Mediterranean Premium Gin Review
An elite gin, with strong classical notes, and some wonderful differences.
Review Larios 12 Mediterranean Premium Gin
Made in: Spain, by Beam Suntory
Method: Column still.
40% alcohol/80 proof
Botanicals (12): Juniper, Nutmeg, Lemon, Orange blossoms, manderin, tangerine, clementine, Corriander, Angelica, Lime, Orange, Grapefruit
Style: Modern Citrus forward
So, fully vaccinated, I set back out into the world again hoping to take a good gin related holiday. I have to admit I really wanted this first trip to be to the Gin Library in Portugal, but with recent numbers, closures and restrictions, I ended up heading to Spain instead. Now the gin scene is Spain is hopping - perhaps like nowhere else in the world. They certainly don’t have the number of gin distilleries as the UK or the US, but they are getting there - I saw at least 8 gins I’ve never heard of before on this trip.
But the most well known gin in Spain, and the best selling is Larios. Now I have to admit I have never tried the regular Larios, but had heard some low to moderate opinions on it, and it was on the list of things to try when I happened to stumble over something different - Larios 12 Mediterranea.
This is a newer 12 botanical, very citrus forward gin, in the very modern style that subdues the more classic botanicals and leaves them in a supporting role. There is enough juniper to clearly define it as gin, but it’s far from classic.
Despite being distilled 5 times this is a gin that has a bit of heat to it when sipped neat. It’s mildly cooler on the rocks, but this is really a mixing gin rather than a sipping one. Even with a lot of ice I couldn’t quite find a pleasant spot without a mixer.
Olfactorally the predominant nose on this gin is orange blossom, very hard and very strong, with plenty of sweet citrus notes in the wake. The tiniest hint of nutmeg trails way behind.
The initial taste of this gin is tart, like lemon or lime, but slightly less defined, followed by sweeter citrus and floral notes. The background has some very slight spice from the juniper, nutmeg and Angelica. There are some rough edges here and it lacks a bit in complexity and depth.
The mouthfeel is mildly astringent and dry.
The fruity, floral nature of this gin, suggests it has some limitations..
I tend to prefer my martini dry, but Larios just wasn’t quite up to a dry martini. In fact it did better and better the more vermouth I was willing to add. The rough edges just didn’t quite click until the vermouth slowed them down. Where it worked best, perhaps not surprisingly (as the Spanish have a lot of sweet vermouth) was in a perfect martini..
In a gin and tonic **(see note below) tried with both Schweppes and Fever Tree (as separate cocktails! I’m not a barbarian), this made a good, and very typically Spanish style gin and tonic - heavy on the fruit flavors with enough backbone of juniper, Angelica and nutmeg to make it a quite enjoyable drink.
As to how it would mix in more complex cocktails i will have to speculate a bit as I didn’t have my usual assortment of mixers and bar behind me to make more complex drinks. That said - this is a gin that should thrive in cocktails like a Collins, Southside, and Aviation. I think it actually would work well in a Negroni too.
Larios 12 Mediterranea is not a sipping gin, but its a good mixer in certain types of drinks, especially citrus forward ones. It’s not by any means an elite citrus forward gin, but it is a lot less expensive than just about anything else I’ve tried in that category which counts for a lot (under $15)
Non gin drinkers, and the flavored vodka crowd will find this one very palatable. Serious gin drinkers will still probably enjoy it in a good gin and tonic (especially if you are drinking it in Spain) but it’s far from elite.
Rating (Sipping): 73 - I wanted to like this as a sipping gin as the nose is lovely, but I just couldn’t find a sweet spot for it near or on the rocks.
Rating (Mixing) 83 - While there are a number of drinks the Larios 12 Mediterranea gin will go well with, it’s so far from classic, that it won't work across the board. Folks who don’t really like the taste of juniper will probably enjoy it most of all. That said, there are far better citrus forward gins, but few at this price point.
Overall rating: 78 - In terms of cheap gin (under $15 for a bottle) this is quite good, far better than your average well gin, and your non- gin drinking friends will probably like it a lot.
**Now in a gin and tonic I had to think about this one a lot. Mainly because tonics in Europe are very different from tonics in the US. With the exception of Fever Tree (which is remarkably consistent), even big name tonics like Schweppes are different recipes (happily less sickly sweet). So realize when I had this with Schweppes it was a very different tonic than what we buy in the states with the same name
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.